By Scott Kauffman, Contributor, Golf Business Magazine:
The PGA of America and its 28,000 PGA and LPGA professionals are the leading force in golf instruction. Technology company aboutGOLF, meanwhile, certainly knows a thing or two about golf gaming software and simulator technology.
Now, the Maumee, Ohio-based tech company and PGA of America are taking golf teaching/simulator technology to the next level as part of the PGA of America’s newly-opened $33.5 million national headquarters in Frisco, Texas.
The organization’s new four-story, 106,621-square-foot building, which officially opened Aug. 22, is being described by some as the “Silicon Valley of Golf.” And aboutGOLF, which first made a name for itself developing golf game simulations for personal computers in the late 1990s, now is helping power the next generation of golf gaming – and instruction – in the booming golf simulator business.
To be sure, the PGA of America partnership is a showcase new commercial venue for aboutGOLF, but the company is no stranger to being the simulator of choice for avid golfers and other acclaimed golf facilities/brands that favor its proprietary “3 Trak Launch Monitor” technology that delivers “real golf” data feedback from the short-game to full swings. For instance, aboutGOLF was the in-studio simulator for years at Golf Channel; the company also counts Destination Kohler as a commercial client and just recently announced the NGCOA as their latest executive partner.
On the residential front, aboutGOLF recently named San Diego Chargers star quarterback Justin Herbert as a brand ambassador after he purchased a new system for his home, joining former NFL star quarterback Eli Manning among the list of celebrity clients/end users who installed home-based “turn-key” systems that cost in the $40,000-$50,000 range. For those seeking entry-level “do-it-yourself” systems, aboutGOLF simulators start in the high $20,000s, according to Ken Reynolds, vice president of sales and marketing.
For high-profile commercial clients like the PGA of America, which Reynolds notes did indeed pay for its next-generation simulators after thorough market diligence, aboutGOLF’s signature curved screens and distinctive radar-based/machine vision technology can run in the low six-figures. Reynolds didn’t disclose the price tag of the PGA of America’s custom installation/multi-simulator wall, but the PGA of America most probably got a preferred rate, as the company created what Reynolds describes as a “unicorn of a facility.
“It’s a very unique installation,” Reynolds added. “And a great example of where we really value our partners because they see value in (aboutGOLF) because they’re investing in it.”
The PGA of America’s one-of-a kind simulator setup was completed in late May and includes seven hitting bays with open-concept “driving-range style” stalls. According to aboutGOLF, the setup features full simulator functionality for practice and course play, and also will be equipped with aG Balance, aboutGOLF’s balance and weight measurement system, and aG Flix, the company’s integrated video recording system. A pitched floor for ball return will help ensure a safe environment for students and instructors.
The aboutGOLF simulators are one of the critical new components of the PGA of America’s future indoor teaching curriculum. And they are just one reason the organization is excited about its new headquarters, which, for the first time, will feature the PGA of America’s Education Center under the same roof as the rest of the organization.
Other compelling new teaching/tech-oriented elements of the new Education Center are multiple classrooms for PGA of America Associates working toward PGA Membership, an indoor short-game practice area, 11 standard and four simulated hitting bays and a practice green wired with motion-capture sensors.