Here's How Golf Could Use BigData to Restore Popularity

Golf has been in decline in America. Men’s Journal published a piece entitled The Death of Golf back in 2015 and noted: “By any measure, participation in the game is way off, from a high of 30.6 million golfers in 2003 to 24.7 million in 2014, according to the National Golf Foundation (NGF).

And it doesn’t help that beloved icon Arnold Palmer just passed away, either. Or that Nike left the golf equipment business. Maybe America’s win at the 2016 Ryder Cup is a nod to the great man, and will help restore popularity of the game.

Enter big data. No question that data alone will not save any sport. But some intriguing developments are occurring in all sports as technology advances truly bring home the message that data can be actionable intelligence.

I had the chance to speak with Stacey Schaeffer, SAS pricing director, and SAS Championship tournament operations chairperson for this year’s SAS Championship taking place October 11 - 16 in Cary, North Carolina. Stacey pointed out that the data’s always been there for the media with player stats, etc. And players use data for performance improvement in terms of strength and stamina in golf and other sports.

What’s potentially new is for companies like SAS and others to work closely with tours like the PGA or USGA to collaborate on what types of data they might want and how these tech companies can help collect and analyze that data to drive specific results. This could be take the form of social media sentiment analysis for better fan engagement and much more.

That got me thinking - what about a partnership between a company, a sports league , and an athletic wear provider? Think of the cool products that might come out of, say, a SAS working with an Under Armour and the USGA or PGA...or the Carolina Panthers? Not that this isn’t already happening deep in the confines of these companies - but big data could be really useful in product development for #SportsTech.

I’m just sayin’...

Beverly Macy teaches Global Business of Sports & Entertainment at UCLA Anderson. She is also the author of the best-seller The Power of Real-Time Social Media Marketing and a regular contributor to Huffington Post and other publications on IoT, big data, digital marketing and strategy, and more.

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