PGA Tour adding ARKit golf courses to app, in time for Arnold Palmer Invitational

Posted:
in iPhone edited March 12
The latest practical demonstration of Apple's ARKit comes by way of the PGA Tour, which has announced a new augmented reality app to visualize courses and holes within your own home.




The app will allow you to view individual holes, as well as overlay data from your favorite players. You can see where to of the pros landed their drives, or how difficult their put were. Shots from multiple players can also be overlaid for easy comparison, and even stats like distance.

In an interview with TechCrunch, PGA Tour CMO Rick Anderson said that augmented reality is the key to "bring in the more three-dimensional aspects of a golf course" that can be hard to visualize properly when just watching on a television.

Apps have been a useful second-screen experience for sports like baseball and golf where there are a lot of comparisons and metrics to consider. Adding AR into the mix makes it more interactive experience instead of solely visual.

One of the biggest hurdles to generating AR content has been the 3D modeling of different assets. Shopping apps, for instance, require 3D model of each product or piece of furniture, which takes skill, and an a significant amount of time to create. On the other hand, the PGA Tour is in a unique position, already having 3D scans and models of the courses for use in their televised analysis.

The new feature will be slow to roll out, with only specific courses and holes getting the AR-treatment. More will be added overtime, but at launch you will be limited. Live AR coverage will be available for the Arnold Palmer Invitational on the 6th hole during the week of March 15.

The PGA Tour has broken out this new AR functionality into a standalone app at the onset, with the plan to transition it to the main app as it picks up steam.

The 165.3MB PGA TOUR AR app is available on the App Store for free, and requires iOS 11.

At present, it isn't clear how well received ARKit has been with Apple's users. In January, analytical firm Apptopia saw less than 1000 apps available for users to download.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 7
    I don't understand why this is an AR app. Why do I need to see the course on my kitchen counter? Seems like VR (not necessarily with goggles) would be better.
  • Reply 2 of 7
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,692member
    I don't understand why this is an AR app. Why do I need to see the course on my kitchen counter? Seems like VR (not necessarily with goggles) would be better.
    You can either move around (AR) or move the camera around the course, AR is a more often natural way to interact with object (not necessarily the most efficient way for a power user of course :-).
  • Reply 3 of 7
    foggyhill said:
    I don't understand why this is an AR app. Why do I need to see the course on my kitchen counter? Seems like VR (not necessarily with goggles) would be better.
    You can either move around (AR) or move the camera around the course, AR is a more often natural way to interact with object (not necessarily the most efficient way for a power user of course :-).
    I get the importance of a natural way to interact, but I think that can just as easily happen in a VR environment. The example in the PGA app looks to be AR, where an object (the course) is super-imposed on your immediate reality. What I don't get is why the course needs to be super-imposed into one's kitchen or tabletop. Think about those real estate and automotive "virtual tours." You don't see their imagery super-imposed in your kitchen or living room, and they are quite effective. You are basically presented with a window into another scene that you can change or move around in--that's VR.
  • Reply 4 of 7
    I don't understand why this is an AR app. Why do I need to see the course on my kitchen counter? Seems like VR (not necessarily with goggles) would be better.
    For a golf fan, the potential advantage is that you could get up close/low to a certain spot on the hole layout and get more of an appreciation for what a shot from that point might look like. I'm saying that with an assumption that the AR version would include the topography of the hole.
  • Reply 5 of 7
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,692member
    foggyhill said:
    I don't understand why this is an AR app. Why do I need to see the course on my kitchen counter? Seems like VR (not necessarily with goggles) would be better.
    You can either move around (AR) or move the camera around the course, AR is a more often natural way to interact with object (not necessarily the most efficient way for a power user of course :-).
    I get the importance of a natural way to interact, but I think that can just as easily happen in a VR environment. The example in the PGA app looks to be AR, where an object (the course) is super-imposed on your immediate reality. What I don't get is why the course needs to be super-imposed into one's kitchen or tabletop. Think about those real estate and automotive "virtual tours." You don't see their imagery super-imposed in your kitchen or living room, and they are quite effective. You are basically presented with a window into another scene that you can change or move around in--that's VR.
    The whole point here is pining the scene to a location vertically/horizontally and making the interaction easier, more intuitive.
    That's the biggest advantage or AR over VR.

    VR is not effective as a way to interact, especially on a phone or tablet. The device is the key here.

    The whole AR / VR whatever is not for the casual golf fan with a phone, they don't care.

    What's more effective, having furniture rendered in your phone and having to fiddle with your fingers on screen
    or drop them in your living space and move around them to look at them.
    Try it on your 50 year old uncle and see where AR has an advantage.

    In theory, people could even use their hands to interact with things in the scene, moving objects around in view with their hands in the scene.



  • Reply 6 of 7
    foggyhill said:
    foggyhill said:
    I don't understand why this is an AR app. Why do I need to see the course on my kitchen counter? Seems like VR (not necessarily with goggles) would be better.
    You can either move around (AR) or move the camera around the course, AR is a more often natural way to interact with object (not necessarily the most efficient way for a power user of course :-).
    I get the importance of a natural way to interact, but I think that can just as easily happen in a VR environment. The example in the PGA app looks to be AR, where an object (the course) is super-imposed on your immediate reality. What I don't get is why the course needs to be super-imposed into one's kitchen or tabletop. Think about those real estate and automotive "virtual tours." You don't see their imagery super-imposed in your kitchen or living room, and they are quite effective. You are basically presented with a window into another scene that you can change or move around in--that's VR.
    The whole point here is pining the scene to a location vertically/horizontally and making the interaction easier, more intuitive.
    That's the biggest advantage or AR over VR.

    VR is not effective as a way to interact, especially on a phone or tablet. The device is the key here.

    The whole AR / VR whatever is not for the casual golf fan with a phone, they don't care.

    What's more effective, having furniture rendered in your phone and having to fiddle with your fingers on screen
    or drop them in your living space and move around them to look at them.
    Try it on your 50 year old uncle and see where AR has an advantage.

    In theory, people could even use their hands to interact with things in the scene, moving objects around in view with their hands in the scene.



    I am not commenting on the general advantage of AR vs VR, only the specific example of the PGA app (as described in the article--I have not investigated further).

    FWIW, I actually think AR has much more promise than VR. Like if one were able to super-impose the golf course image/data while actually on the course itself (BTW, I'm not a golfer, so this wouldn't help me!)

    Now that you mention it, I do see that anchoring a virtual model to a real world object has its advantages, but VR lets you do that too. You could anchor a VR model to a virtual reference just as easily to get the same interaction. I also see that the AR version only needs to be a partial model (of the course itself), so that efficiency is a plus. VR implies that the surrounding virtual environment should be in the scene too, and that would mean more data.

    Given that the main difference between AR and VR is how much of the real world around you do you see, I don't see them as necessarily being all that different from an interaction point of view. There are tools to get straight to VR, but AR tools can be used to span the continuum from a bit of text info in your field of view, to sophisticated 3D image overlays on through to windows into totally immersive VR environments, with no connection to the real world (other than tracking your own movements).

    I totally agree with your example of having AR furniture dropped into your living space. That is augmenting your reality with something that interacts with your reality. I think the Houzz app attempts to do this (albeit not particularly well), but it is a great idea.

    Whether AR or VR, people can use hands to interact with things in scene (again, when I refer to VR, I don't necessarily mean VR goggles). It just seems to me that a virtual golf course on a table or kitchen counter in your living space is not the best case for Augmented Reality, but if people like it, well heck, why not?
    edited March 12
  • Reply 7 of 7
    mavemufcmavemufc Posts: 309member
    As a huge fan of golf this is a cool feature and a good idea.
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