VIRGINIA WATER, England – The European Tour plans to roll out a new GPS pace-of-play tracking system at this week’s BMW PGA Championship, but the circuit isn’t the first to use technology to better understand slow play.
The PGA Tour began using GPS tracking devices this year at “numerous” events, including The Players in March, as well as information provided by ShotLink.
“We’ve used ShotLink data for some time to work with players over the years and maybe show them areas of their game where they might take a little more time,” said Tyler Dennis, the Tour’s chief of operations. “These [GPS] devices are the last missing piece. How long does it take to reach a tee, how fast do they walk. These are things that we can now see.”
The Tour announced last month a plan to review its pace-of-play policy using data generated by ShotLink and Dennis explained that players have been asked at various events this season to test the tracking devices, which are simply placed in a player’s golf bag.
“Currently, our policy is focused on groups that get behind, but there are calls to focus on individual players,” Dennis said.
At Wentworth, officials will use the data generated by the devices to monitor each group’s position on the course and that data will also be displayed on five tees around Wentworth to inform players where they stand in relation to the groups around them. If a group falls behind the threesome ahead of them players were told they “can expect to be monitored.”