Bringing Golf Into the Digital Age
To delve deeper into the underlying motions and teaching of golf, the Golf Teaching and Research Center opened last November. The GTRC uses motion-capture technology to accomplish this task. You can saunter down to 5 Keller and don one of these motion-capture suits once reserved for the likes of movie productions with multi-million-dollar budgets and Tiger Woods having his swing captured for use in EA Sports’ golf video games bearing his name (mistresses sold separately).
The technology is designed to capture the motion of a golfer’s swing on screen, and, from there, a Doppler radar machine predicts the trajectory, ball flight, and distance of a particular shot. As golf is often an unpredictable game – you may never know where your ball might go when you go up to hit it – the motion-capture system is a step toward getting a better handle on the sport, its fundamental motions, and being able to teach it well. From being able to look at countless varieties of swings and resulting shots, the GTRC may be taking steps to demystifying golf, or at least approaching it from a different direction entirely.
The GTRC is part of the College of Health and Human Development, namely the Professional Golf Management option in the Department of Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management; funneling students directly into the golf industry while they obtain membership in the PGA. This is a major only Penn State has, and depending on how this new technology pans out, Penn State could be changing the face of the sport.