Earlier this year, Greg Norman teased the golf world with an announcement that he and Verizon Communications had joined forces to “bring innovative and disruptive technology to the golf industry.”
Apparently this disruption stuff takes longer than planned but this week Norman and Verizon launched something called Shark Experience. According to ScoreGolf’s business analyst Rick Young, “The bold, non-traditional concept combines connectivity, content and customization intended to produce an enhanced on-course experience.” You can read Rick’s full article HERE.
The premise is that Norman and Verizon have teamed up with Club Car to put a whole lot of technology in the golf cart – everything from the usual GPS and course information to live sports, news, music, communications and other curated entertainment content (whatever that means). There’s even a shopping function that lets golfers pay for beverage cart items or maybe even place their latest Amazon order.
Shark Experience is supposed to attract new golfers to the game by enhancing their on-course experience. I wasn’t aware that it needed enhancing but maybe that’s just me. I can’t recall ever walking off the 18th green and saying, “Gee that was fun but I wish there’d been more music.”
Norman seems to think that the way to attract new golfers to the game is through technology and connectivity. Certainly we’re all connected these days but one of the attractions of golf is to escape from the ever-present stresses of life. If the game itself is not enough for new golfers, how will bundling it up with a whole lot of non-golf activity enhance the experience? In my opinion, it just distracts from the game. And when pace of play is an issue, how will all these distractions speed up a round?
If these so-called new golfers need that kind of thing, they’d be better to visit a TopGolf location where their entertainment is loud and fast and bright. They’d probably be bored on a quiet peaceful golf course anyway.
Presumably this technology isn’t aimed at COG’s (Cranky Old Guys) like me. Some of us had a hard time adapting to yardages on sprinkler heads so the idea of turning a golf cart into an entertainment centre is too big a reach for our purist attitudes. Don’t need it, don’t want it. Besides I walk.
And as a walker, I can tell you I’ll be really pissed if I’m stuck behind four guys in a cart enjoying their Shark Experience by watching reruns of Game of Thrones.