This post originally appeared on the Turner Blog.
While the U.S. team won the Ryder Cup this year, golf fans also experienced a huge win thanks to the power of technology. Turner partnered with some of the top technology companies to deliver a Ryder Cup viewing experience like never before.
In preparation for the event, Turner Sports approached Google Maps and Ubilabs with an idea to help change the way people experience one of golf’s biggest and most intense events. Together, they developed a virtual reality app called The Hazeltine Explorer, which enabled folks watching at home to walk around Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota as if they were actually there walking the course with the pros.
Here’s how it worked:
Using Google’s Street View Trekker technology, Turner’s camera operators walked the course on foot with a backpack containing a camera system on top. There were 15 lenses at the top of the mast, each pointing in a different direction to enable the creation of a 360-degree panoramic view. As the camera operator walked the course, photos were taken every two-and-a-half seconds. That imagery was then stitched together to create 360-degree panoramas found via Google Maps. A total of 4,300 360-degree photos were captured and layered into Google Maps technology.
Then, in collaboration with Ubilabs, which specializes in map experiences and integrations, Turner constructed an interactive experience around the photos while also incorporating other forms of content about the course. The tour brought video highlights from Hazeltine history into the user experience, 360-experiences of the clubhouse and practice range, along with elevated graphs for every hole.
There were also new innovative experiences for fans in attendance. For spectators who were on site at the Ryder Cup, they had the ability to walk paths and crosswalks with the help of a Wayfinding feature built on the Google Maps API. The custom map of Hazeltine National Golf Club gave fans a detailed view of the course to enhance how people experienced a historic golf event.
While the Ryder Cup is over, we are focused on continuing to use innovative technology and strategic partnerships to deliver the next generation of content and experiences to fans around the world. Look for us to continue to deliver more of these types of immersive experiences for the next Ryder Cup, and other sporting events to come.