The inherent complexities in golf that can cause us to send a ball careening down a cart path present the same challenges that can that elusive par or birdie so rewarding. Every golfer, professional or amateur, wants to cut down on mistakes and lower their score, but what’s the smartest way to go about improving your swing?

While other sports like football, soccer, basketball, tennis, car racing, sailing, etc. have already begun embracing technology such as video and sensor solutions to track and improve performance golf has surprisingly lagged behind. Most agree that golf is one of the toughest sports to play, and if technology can help make a complex game simpler, players of all skill levels stand to benefit. It’s time for Big Data analytics to change the game.

Today’s video and sensor technology already accurately captures many data points taken from a golf swing to ball impact and travel. Then when you factor in things like ball and player position, golf course layout, weather conditions, etc. captured via GPS tracking, we now have a Big Data analytics scenario. The discovery of valuable insights and intelligence from large, complex data sets plays right into SAP’s wheelhouse – the intersection of big data, analytics and sports. There are various point solutions in golf that do a good job serving specific functions, but none of them are capable of harnessing them all together into one complete platform.

At SAP, we have the “great simplifier” in the SAP HANA Platform.  In a recent blog post titled “How to Survive and Thrive in the Information Explosion” our very own Database and Technology CTO Irfan Kahn expresses the importance of helping enterprises Run Simple, which directly applies to the wide world of sports:

At SAP, we are already engineering our solutions for the changing world around us, building everything on the principle of Run Simple.The SAP Data Management portfolio, for example, which runs on the SAP HANA Platform, provides a complete, end to end approach, merging transactional and analytical workloads to be processed on the same data – structured and unstructured – for real time processing. This avoids bottlenecks and data duplication, saving costs, ensuring compliance and providing transparency.”

SAP has numerous technology showcases that are revolutionizing the sports industry. From the McLaren Formula One team gathering critical data from 200 car sensors to help win races, to SAP Match Insights powered by SAP HANA serving as the 12th man in the German National Football Team’s (DFB) World Cup victory. Most recently, SAP and WTA transformed tennis with the new on-court coaching platform, which is an amazing testament to the power and influence of technology in sports.

SAP is in the perfect position to transform golf in 2015. (SAP’s Susan Galer does a great job articulating what the future might look like in her recent blog post). In September, as the official global technology partner of the 2015 Solheim Cup, we unveiled our plans to drive a new digital golf experience powered by the SAP HANA Cloud Platform at the Solheim Cup Charity Promotion Event. As a first step, we launched a new Solheim Cup 2015 mobile app to bring fans closer to one of the most prestigious tournaments in women’s golf. We also showcased how a next-generation golf analytics solution can improve player performance and training efficiency based on collecting insights from swing power and efficiency and ball distance. The large, complex data sets are captured from wearable and sensor technologies and then analyzed by the SAP HANA Cloud Platform. This golf analytics showcase also tracked the longest drive competition at the Solheim Cup charity golf tournament, where two-time major champion and SAP ambassador Martin Kaymer emerged victorious.

 “Our golf analytics technology showcase powered by SAP HANA Cloud Platform was very well-received at the Solheim Cup Charity Promotional Event because it shows what a breakthrough digital golf experience looks like,” said Chris Burton, group vice president for Global Sponsorships. “We have deep expertise in sports technology innovation and a long list of best practices to draw from with the top leagues and teams around the world. We are confident that this will equate to a dramatically enhanced fan experience and better performance from the golf course to the back office.”

In 2015, look out for SAP to drive the power of real-time, big data analytics in golf … Fore!

Published November 11, 2014 in Golf Learn more about: