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Data Services Authors: Pat Romanski, Scott Allen

Related Topics: Data Services Journal, Wireless Technology Magazine, Internet of Things Journal

Data Services: Article

Smart Golf Courses = A Hole in One!

Smart golf courses are coming to a green near you

Smart golf courses are coming to a green near you. A modern day golf course requires many things, including real-time monitoring for irrigation and pump systems, automated vehicle location capabilities for carts and players, and the ability to provide employees with the internet connectivity necessary to manage the sprawls of the course itself. As a result, golf course managers are turning toward some of the cutting edge Internet of Things solutions on the market to meet that demand.

As far as preferred pastimes go, golf ranks relatively highly for young and old alike. In fact, according to the National Golf Foundation, there are more than 15,000 18-hole golf courses throughout the United States. The American Society of Golf Course Architects estimates that a full-size golf course would need up to 200 acres of usable land, which means that courses in the U.S. take up at least three million acres. By comparison, that's nearly three times the size of the Grand Canyon National Park.

With that in mind, the management of golf courses is a minor feat in advanced agricultural practices and logistics.

Smart Golf Course Solution
For one Colorado course, the smart golf course solution to its connectivity conundrum lay in the deployment of an industrial-scale Wi-Fi network capable of handling communication, accessibility and maintenance needs. Course managers selected adual-band, mesh networking platform that provides Wi-Fi coverage in the necessary areas, and with the help of the provider, set up a network that strategically positioned the platforms so that devices and sensors could remain connected via the mesh networking capabilities as they moved from place to place. However, any outdoor Wi-Fi network does come along with its challenges.

For example, another factor that golf courses need to consider when determining the best networking option is the weather. Although most courses are situated in areas that don't typically draw extremely cold temperatures, many are consistently faced with hot or humid climates that can knock networks offline as the communication platforms succumb to the elements. The last thing any course manager wants is to have their communication network fail, especially if that impacts their customer experience. Adopting ruggedized outdoor networking and communications solutions means being confident that the platforms are designed to function without failure - even in areas with extreme weather events or consistently hot temperatures.

Additionally, to ensure that the data being collected from irrigation and pump systems is being delivered in real-time allows grounds teams to monitor and predict when the systems are in need of maintenance, or when certain areas of the course are in greater need of water than others, for instance. Today, grounds crews can track this data via handheld devices that can quickly aggregate and analyze data, rather than spend time manually checking each individual service point.

Although modern golf courses often look pristine to players and observers alike, upkeep and ongoing service requires constant attention. As these courses begin to deploy more advanced networking systems to become smart in its communication and monitoring practices, the ability for courses to streamline workflow and maintenance needs will only continue to grow.

More Stories By Scott Allen

Scott is an executive leader with more than 25 years of experience in product lifecycle management, product marketing, business development, and technology deployment. He offers a unique blend of start-up aggressiveness and established company executive leadership, with expertise in product delivery, demand generation, and global market expansion. As CMO of FreeWave, Scott is responsible for product life cycle/management, GTM execution, demand generation, and brand creation/expansion strategies.

Prior to joining FreeWave, Scott held executive management positions at Fluke Networks (a Danaher Company), Network Associates (McAfee), and several start-ups including Mazu Networks and NEXVU Business Solutions. Scott earned his BA in Computer Information Systems from Weber University.