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Toptracer Range may be more exciting than hitting at the range picker



Anyone who watches golf on television knows Toptracer. Founded by Daniel Forsgren in 2006 as Protracer, the company developed a unique software capable of tracking the flight of a golf ball in a camera feed and adding graphics to make ball flight visible on screen.

You know, this thing.What you might not know, however, is that Topgolf bought Protracer in May 2016, rebranding the technology as Toptracer. You also may not be familiar with Toptracer Range, which brings the technology you’ve seen during PGA Tour telecasts to in-bay monitors to track and analyze your shots at the driving range.

Toptracer Range allows guest to compete in a variety of games, including:

  • Launch Monitor – Works with a range’s existing targets. Offers carry and total distance, ball speed, launch angle, height, side deviation, landing angle, hang time and distance to target.
  • What’s in My Bag – Allows guests to dig deeper into to the performance of each club in their bag.
  • Virtual Golf – Players can choose to play 9,12, 18 or more holes on courses around the world.

We spoke with Ani Mehta, Topgolf’s VP of Corporate Development about the technology and its application both for Topgolf facilities and driving ranges in general.

GolfWRX: Tell us about the Toptracer rollout…

Ani Mehta: A little bit of background [the Protracer acquisition] has been great for us on a couple of fronts. One is on the broadcast side…it’s been a great thing for Topgolf from a brand reach and recognition perspective…it’s been great for us because now we’re starting to roll out this technology in our venues. Orlando, which opened a couple of months ago…was the first venue that opened with Toptracer.

On the Toptracer Range side, the goal there is to roll it out across hundreds, if not thousands, of golf ranges across the country and across the world. For your average driving range, this is a gamechanger, because…the technology enables you to track every golf ball that’s hit at the driving range, and then all that data is displayed on monitors that are installed in each bay. Eventually it turns every driving range into somewhat of a Topgolf; You can play games, you can track your golf shots, you can track your progress over time, because all the data is in your profile. It essentially creates a much more engaging experience on the driving range.

GolfWRX: Those are the two avenues for you…the integration into your facilities, and then offering Toptracer to ranges outside of Topgolf?

AM: That’s right. We will be rolling out Toptracer in our venues over the next many months and years. And the Toptracer Range, we have a very aggressive timeline for rolling this out across, like I said, hundreds, if not thousands, of facilities…And then the broadcast business, that remains as exciting as ever.
You’re kind of seeing this transition. When it first came out, a lot of people loved it, but some people viewed it skeptically. But now, a few years on, you’re at a stage where people love it, and even demand it.

GolfWRX: Is the hope that this will be integrated into all facilities then?

AM: We’re figuring that out. We first tested this at the…venue in Dallas, just to understand how people receive it. Then we opened Orlando, which is fully set up with Toptracer Range. But we’re still in the testing phase.

GolfWRX: When did you launch in Orlando, and what has the response been?

AM: It was earlier this fall. The guests love it. You can still play the same games…we still have the RFID technology and all that, so you can still play the same games you play at other Topgolf venues. But just having this other view on your golf shot, but being able to see the trace and everything that goes with it, that’s really exciting for the guests. There’s something about being able to see the trajectory and where it lands that’s exciting, and it’s even more exciting when you go to a regular driving range that’s been converted.

GolfWRX: So when Toptracer is integrated into a driving range, all that data is captured and is available to the golfer?

AM: Yes. So, the way it works is we come in and we set up these camera systems along the tee line of the driving range, and then those camera systems can track every golf ball hit from the driving range. Then that data is processed through servers that we provide, and then that processed data is installed on screens that we install in each bay…anywhere from a 20-inch screen to a 40-inch screen in each bay.

On that screen, you can see several different modes. There are the modes that are designed for the more serious golfer; there’s a mode called “launch monitor,” where you’re just kind of practicing and you can see every statistic associated with your ball flight. Then, there are game modes designed for having a bit more fun. You can play virtual golf courses. You can play points games that are similar to what you might see at a Topgolf. So, it’s a good portfolio of games, and those are constantly being updated.

So that’s the app that runs on each screen, but there’s another app that runs on peoples phones, called the Community app. All the…launch monitor data is then stored on your phone. You can then see…through the bag, your statistics which each club.

And we have a development team that is focused on developing new games and modes and always improving the ones that we have. So it’s a live product, and all those changes…get deployed remotely. If you put a system in your range, it doesn’t go obsolete six months after installing.

GolfWRX: So you want to appeal to the enthusiast who wants to see all the numbers, as well as the more casual golfer, and even the extremely casual one who might find the traditional range experience boring?

AM: Right. We’ve talked to hundreds of facilities at this point. The common theme we hear from them is 1. This is great and 2. In the current state, driving ranges are in trouble. The hardcore folks are drifting away from golf, and there’s not enough of an influx of…Millennials. For them, going to a driving range as it is today is just not a fun experience. It’s kind of one-dimensional. It’s not fun to go with friends or family, because there’s nothing to do.

But putting something like this in; not only can you compete in games and other contests, but what you see is at a lot of driving ranges where we put this technology in…have also added a little F&B (food and beverage) operation. They’re doing events that are anchored by the Toptracer Range technology…so it starts with creating a fun experience for everyone, not just serious golfers.

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  1. Brad

    Jan 6, 2018 at 1:44 pm

    Virtual golf for the gearheads so they don’t have to dirty and scuff their beloved WITB bunch of unplayable clubs.

  2. emil

    Jan 6, 2018 at 12:51 am

    Virtual golf played by deluded gearheads fantasizing ….. and their lovely clubs don’t get scuffed up in the dirt. The best of all worlds…. and no walking other than to your magnificent WITB weapons.

  3. nyguy

    Jan 5, 2018 at 10:48 am

    i’d be happy if ranges had an acceptable grass tee area, and all these driving ranges all about making it an amusement park…
    The range near me has a grass area, but it’s an after thought on the side and it’s knotty grass, patchy dry dirt, not tee box standard….

  4. DB

    Jan 4, 2018 at 2:44 pm

    But how accurate will the data be?

    You’re still hitting crappy limited-flight range balls, right? How are you supposed to take that data and apply it to the actual golf course?

  5. C

    Jan 4, 2018 at 1:53 pm

    So instead of $40/hr, it will now be $60/hr?

    TopGolf used to be affordable to the average person.

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The Gear Dive: Bob Lamkin discusses Jack Nicklaus’ small and hard grips



Lamkin CEO Bob Lamkin joins host Johnny Wunder to discuss his family’s 93-year legacy in the business, going from all leather to all rubber, and making grips for the greatest players in the game. A great conversation with one of the true gentleman in the game.

11:05 — Jack Nicklaus and his hard/small grips.
22:02 — Justin Rose, his long standing relationship with Lamkin, and his ultimate precision.
25:45 — Keegan Bradley’s Super Custom Crossline grips

Check out the full podcast on SoundCloud below, or click here to listen on iTunes!

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Why the R&A tested 30 players’ drivers at The Open



Yesterday in the Morning 9, we discussed Tim Rosaforte’s report that the R&A randomly tested 30 players drivers for COR conformance at the British Open.

It seems, however, that while the drivers were randomly chosen, players knew the testing was coming. According to Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard, both players and OEMs were notified three weeks ago that the R&A intended to check drivers.

Traditionally, the R&A and USGA test COR on clubs from manufacturers, not players’ gamers.

“We take our governance role very seriously, not just on the Rules of Golf and amateur status, but also equipment standards, and we felt it was an appropriate next step to more actively seek to test players’ drivers straight out of the bag,” Martin Slumbers, the R&A’s chief executive, told Golf Channel.

Paul Casey, Brooks Koepka, Jason Day, and Henrik Stenson were among those tested (should’ve tested Stenson’s 3-wood!). No violations were reported at the practice range test center.

Interestingly/conspiracy alert: Rory McIlroy floated the idea that TaylorMade (his equipment sponsor, was “singled out a bit more than anyone else.”

“A manufacturer is always going to try and find ways to get around what the regulations are. It’s a bit of an arms race,” McIlroy said.

That said, randomness or the size of TaylorMade’s market share could account for number of M3 and M4s tested, rather than being “singled out” as McIlroy suggested.

While this is the first such testing at The Open, the R&A apparently tested drivers at a Japan Golf Tour event earlier this year.

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GolfWRX Morning 9: The eternal allure of Tiger Woods | Lincicome vs. the guys | A pair of passings



By Ben Alberstadt (


July 18, 2018

Good Wednesday morning, golf fans.
1. “Box office” Woods
As he prepares for his return to the British Open, all eyes are on Tiger Woods. Sure, there are Woods’ usual detractors, and those who wish the media would focus more on other players, so it may be more accurate to say–many eyes at Carnoustie are on Tiger physically.
  • The BBC’s Tom English had this to say about merely getting to Woods’ press conference.
  • “When Woods is on his way to the interview room, media folk grow extra legs. They exit their seat like a greyhound from the traps and whizz past you in a blur. Lesson one about covering a major championship: don’t get in the way of a man on his way to a Tiger press conference. Dawdle and you’re dead. Roadkill.”
  • “Woods had a captive audience. We were literally queuing out the door. For reigning Open champion Jordan Spieth on Monday – a healthy attendance at his press conference, but not full. For Masters champion Patrick Reed – a decent turnout. For US Open champion Brooks Koepka – a respectable crowd. For Woods, a stampede.”
  • He said this of the endless scribe and fan interest in Woods…”Put simply, we will never get over Tiger. For good and bad, he is imbedded in our hearts and minds. People wonder whether he can pull off a miracle and win this week – or any week when there’s a major on the line. The miracle isn’t exclusively about him winning, it’s about us wanting him to win. That’s a miraculous event in itself. Despite everything that he has done, we’re still rooting for him ahead of most, if not, all of the field?”
2. Lincicome vs. the guys
Helen Ross checks on Brittany Lincicome as she prepares to tee it up at the Barbasol.
  • “Ten years, to be exact. When Lincicome steps to the 10th tee at 9:59 a.m. ET on Thursday, she’ll become the sixth woman to play in a TOUR event, joining Wie, who was the last, Annika Sorenstam, Suzy Whaley, Shirley Spork and Babe Didrikson Zaharias.”
  • “And Lincicome, who is playing with Sam Ryder and Conrad Shindler, plans to soak it all in. “To be playing in the practice round today, hitting on the driving range, it’s kind of surreal,” Lincicome said. “I just can’t stop smiling. … I can’t wait until Thursday.”
  • “Lincicome has won eight times on the LPGA Tour and played in six Solheim Cups. She narrowly missed getting her ninth victory on Sunday, too, when a birdie putt did a 340-degree spin out of the hole and Lincicome ended up losing on the first hole of sudden death.”
  • “Lincicome’s average driving distance, measured on two holes each week, is 269.520 yards, which ranks her 10th on the LPGA. That’s just 6 yards out of No. 1 – but outside the top 200 on the PGA TOUR.”
3. A pair of passings: Marcia Chambers and Mark Hayes
The golf world lost a fine pair: Marcia Chambers and Mark Hayes.
  • John Strege writes of Chambers: “Marcia Chambers, a Golf Digest contributor who was on the leading edge of writing about gender and race discrimination in golf, died last Friday at Smilow Cancer Hospital in New Haven, Conn. She was 78.
  • “Chambers, a Senior Research Scholar in Law at Yale Law School, received the American Bar Association’s Silver Gavel Award for her series of Golf Digest articles dealing with gender and race discrimination in golf.
  • “She initially was asked to address discrimination against women in private clubs, but that was tabled when Shoal Creek and its founder Hall Thompson brought race to the fore in the runup to the PGA Championship in 1990.”
  • Jim McCabe on Mark Hayes…“Hayes, whose win at the 1977 PLAYERS was the last of three PGA TOUR wins in a solid 19-year career, died Monday at the age of 69 in Edmond, Oklahoma. Hayes’ death was confirmed by his oldest brother, Larry Hayes, the General Manager at TPC Craig Ranch in McKinney, Texas. He was 69 and had been ill for more than a year.”
4. Fun with skins

An unbylined AP report on some practice round antics at Carnoustie and more from the SB2K crew…in this case a Michael Greller-Justin Thomas bet that he could make par on a hole using just an 8-iron.

  • “The challenge was for Thomas to make par using only an 8-iron…Once he got it in the fairway, Spieth came over to advise him how to navigate the pot bunkers more than 200 yards away. The ball stopped rolling, finally, about a yard short of a bunker to the left of the green. Getting it over the bunker with that club was going to be a problem.”
  • ‘”Where’s my caddie?” Thomas said in mock panic…Spieth was preparing to hit a bunker shot on the other side of the fairway when he looked over and said, “Sorry,” then ran to Thomas for more consultation. He told Thomas to open the face of the 8-iron and slide it under the firm turf. Spieth pointed to a spot on the slope beyond the bunker. Greller watched nervously as Thomas pulled it off to perfection, the ball rolling out to 3 feet…With the leading edge of the 8-iron, he knocked it in for a 4. And then, as usual, they all debated the size of the bet.”
5. The Golf Engine predicts…
Pat Ross and his Golf Engine predict the top 25 finishers at The Open.


How does it work? “In this model, we use machine learning to evaluate 1,500 different statistics for every golfer on the PGA Tour over each tournament since 2004. The analysis of this massive dataset allows gives us an opportunity to predict players that are sitting on low round scores.”
  • A taste…”The field for the 147th British Open is set at the historic Carnoustie Golf Links. The Golf Engine modeled over 1,500 statistics tracked by the PGA Tour for every tournament dating back to 2004. We looked at how each stat contributes to what we can expect from players on this stage, at this tournament. It’s a complex web of information that can only be properly analyzed by a machine, yet yields some objectively surprising results.”
  • “This year’s British Open is no exception as the model is calling for Webb Simpson (125/1 odds) to make a run into the top 10 at least.”
  • Some surprises…Back-to-back U.S. Open winner Brooks Koepka (22/1) inside the top 5…Webb Simpson (125/1) and Phil Mickelson (66/1) inside the top 10….Emiliano Grillo (100/1) inside the top 15…Kevin Na (175/1), Luke List (125/1), and Ryan Moore (150/1) inside top the 25.”:
  • “Perhaps just as surprising are the golfers that may under-perform this week. Rory McIlroy and Tommy Fleetwood don’t make the top 10 cutoff. Alex Noren, Francesco Molinari who finished T2 at TPC Deere Run last week, and Sergio Garcia are all projected outside of our top 25.”


6. Confessions of  Yipper
More specifically, a confession from Kevin Na that he contracted a strain of the yips.
  • “I went through the yips. The whole world saw that. I told people, ‘I can’t take the club back,'” Na said on Tuesday at Carnoustie. “People talked about it, ‘He’s a slow player. Look at his routine.’ I was admitting to the yips. I didn’t use the word ‘yip’ at the time. Nobody wants to use that word, but I’m over it now so I can use it. The whole world saw it.”
  • “It took time,” he said. “I forced myself a lot. I tried breathing. I tried a trigger. Some guys will have a forward press or the kick of the right knee. That was hard and the crap I got for it was not easy.”
7. Hello again, John Peterson
He’s back! (Sort of). Golfweek’s Kevin Casey (former GolfWRX writer!) with the details.
  • “It was less than two weeks ago that John Peterson seemed to say farewell after he just missed out on conditional status following the end of his major medical extension…The 29-year-old had for months stated that if he did lose his PGA Tour status by the end of the medical, he would retire and go into real estate development. After his lost status came to fruition, Peterson seemed to indicate he was indeed going through with this plan.”
  • “But now – at least for one week – he’s back…Despite having no status, Peterson was on the alternate list for the Barbasol Championship – the opposite-field event being played during Open Championship week…He quickly moved up the alternates, too, due to field changes and has now earned a spot in the event!”
  • “How did he get in this field? Peterson apparently earned his spot via being in the “50 finishers beyond 150 on prior season’s money list through Wyndham Championship” category.”
8. BioMech and the future of putting analysis
Michael Williams chatted with the CEO of BioMech Golf among others. BioMech Golf is, well, I’ll let Michael tell you…
  • “A couple of years ago, Dr. Frank Fornari and BioMech created a stir with the BioMech Acculock ACE putter, a radical new putter design that integrated the principles of biometrics, the science of motion. The putter was designed to be used with a specific type of putting stroke that would be proven by the BioMech team to be the ideal method for putting. The putter developed a cult following, but the BioMech team is back with a tool that just might break into the mainstream.”
  • “Fornari’s team has developed the BioMech putting sensor and app. The sensor attaches to any putter and transmits data about each putt to an app that can run on any iPhone or iPad. It provides key data on what the player is doing, when they are doing it and why they are doing it, making the BioMech sensor effective whether you are a player, an instructor or even a manufacturer. With the golf industry driven more than ever by technology, the BioMech sensor could become as essential to putting and the short game as Trackman is to the full swing.”


9. Phil’s phantastic flop
Do yourself a favor if you haven’t checked out Phil Mickelson’s insane full-swing flop from a tight lie over the head of a man two yards in front of him. Imagine trying this shot? Heck, fluff up the grass and place the ball perfectly, and you’re still killing the guy or robbing him of his ability to father children. Mickelson’s short game is a trope that gets more discussion than it should, but this is just crazy.


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19th Hole