RFID Talk Blog

Driving range scores a hole in one with RFID

RFID continues to integrate with sporting events. One of the coolest applications I’ve seen to date involves the TopGolf driving range in Allen, Tex., which has tagged thousands of golf balls to help keep score of interactive games at the driving range.

TopGolf started to research RFID after deciding to turn the conventional driving range experience into a more interactive and engaging event. They turned to RFID to create an authentic golf game that also measured distance and kept score.

One of the exciting features of TopGolf’s innovative games is that a player’s score for each shot can vary based on past shots. By hitting targets consecutively, for example, players can double their score, or lose points, depending on the game they’re playing.

So the technology TopGolf chose needed to be sophisticated enough to remember all the targets hit by each player. And with each complex carrying a capacity of 550 people, keeping track of each player’s 20 shots was no easy feat. At full capacity, the RFID system must manage over 10,000 ball reads per hour.

Rush Tracking Systems worked with Callaway Golf to integrate an RFID tag, containing an Impinj Monza® RFID tag chip, into each ball. Tags were designed and tested to withstand the rigors of the TopGolf game and a minimum of 600 hits.

At the tee, balls are dispensed when players wave their golf club in front of a motion sensor. The RFID tag is read, and the ball is then associated with the player and activated for play. When players hit the ball towards the target greens, the RFID system reads the ball and players receive the appropriate score and distance.

The target greens are holes in the ground that, much like a dart board, are divided into sub-targets that make up different scoring zones, with each sub-target containing an RFID reader antenna. Each sub-target is delineated by a net that filters the balls to the correct RFID read point and determines the appropriate score.

About 50 Impinj Speedway® Revolution 4-port readers power approximately 600-700 read points throughout the complex, at the tees and throughout targets.

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