Old meets new: Topgolf technology in St. Andrews

The St. Andrews Links Trust will bring Toptracer Range technology to the "Home of Golf" in Scotland.
The Old Course at St. Andrews will offer Toptracer Range technology.

Golf's oldest course is forming a relationship with the game's hottest new technology.

The St. Andrews Links Trust, operator of seven courses in Scotland's "Home of Golf," including the Old Course at St. Andrews, and Topgolf Entertainment Group have announced a 10-year partnership. The agreement will bring Toptracer range technology to St. Andrews starting in 2022, replacing the Trackman Range technology that debuted in 2018.

“We are ecstatic to be partnering with St Andrews Links to help create memorable and engaging experiences at the most storied golf venue in the world,” Artie Starrs, CEO of Topgolf Entertainment Group, said in a statement. “Through our various technology platforms, we’ll be able to welcome millions of people around the world into the 'Home of Golf’.”

Golfers around the world can also play the famous links at Topgolf facilities everywhere and online through the World Golf Tour.

St. Andrews, which will host the 150th Open in 2022, is the latest high-profile facility to adopt Toptracer Range to enhance the practice experience for golfers. TPC Harding Park in San Francisco installed it earlier this year after a successful 2020 PGA Championship. Erin Hills, the 2017 U.S. Open host in Wisconsin, Spirit Hollow in Iowa, Cog Hill in Illinois and Le Golf National, the 2018 Ryder Cup venue in France, are other top courses most golfers would recognize. Even elite private clubs like Valhalla in Kentucky and Pine Canyon in Arizona are jumping on the trend. Currently, it is available at more than 450 facilities in 31 countries.

The Toptracer Range experience

Toptracer's technology started as "Protracer," invented by Swedish entrepreneur Daniel Forsgren in 2006 to enhance televised golf coverage. Topgolf bought the camera-based system in 2016 and started rolling out its range-friendly version in 2017.

To use it, golfers simply download the app and create an account. The camera system, which tracks the shots, sends the data to a large TV screen in the hitting bay, where players can see critical stats like distance, spin rate and launch angle. They can use it for practice or games. Theoretically, you could "play" the Old Course in one of the covered bays in St. Andrews even if you can't land a tee time on the actual links.

“This is a partnership that we see benefiting St Andrews Links and the Old Course not just on site, but also around the world through the multitude of platforms that Topgolf Entertainment Group can offer", Danny Campbell, commercial director of St Andrews Links, said in a statement. "In essence, we want to make the experiences of St Andrews accessible to golf fans around the world.”

Have you used Toptracer Range technology? Tell us your experience in the comments below.

Jason Scott Deegan has reviewed more than 1,000 courses and golf destinations for some of the industry's biggest publications. His work has been honored by the Golf Writer's Association of America and the Michigan Press Association. Follow him on Instagram at @jasondeegangolfadvisor and Twitter at @WorldGolfer.
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Old meets new: Topgolf technology in St. Andrews