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Windows 10 Struts Its Stuff at PGA Tour

PGA Tour's Walking Scorer app.PGA Tour's Walking Scorer app.
PGA Tour's Walking Scorer app.PGA Tour

Microsoft hopes to use its partnership with the PGA Tour to showcase Windows 10 running on hardware ranging from itty-bitty Lumia smartphones to 84-inch Surface Hub touch screens. One of Windows 10’s key promises is that it provides a consistent experience from the smallest to the most massive screens.

And professional golf is an ideal way to show that off. The game may look green and bucolic but for each of the six PGA Tour events, the organization has to schlep three full tractor-trailer trucks full of gear on site and then spend a week setting it all up. The courses are wired with fiber-optic cable, radar, and sensors which track ball speed, trajectory, and distance. And officials need an easy way to gather, crunch, and display all that data for their own use and for fans.

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The PGA Tour organization is several months into a plan, announced in November, to deploy the latest Microsoft (MSFT) operating system on more than 1,000 machines, and deploy Office 365 email and desktop applications for internal use. With Windows 10 Microsoft hopes to shore up its strength in business and also stem defections to Apple (APPL) devices by making the Windows experience on non-traditional tablets and smart phones more appealing.

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The more public side of the PGA Tour deal includes new Windows 10 applications for volunteers working the event and for golf fans at the course. One, called Walking Scorer, runs on Microsoft Lumia devices, lets volunteers record, track, and share player and course information. Another Lumia app collects data from laser sensors on the greens. And another, still in test mode, runs on Surface Pro 4 devices and will enable volunteers to enter ball position in situations where the laser operator doesn’t have a good view.

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And for those fans, there is the new Tournament Companion app that provides stats, game analysis, leader boards, etc. It will run on large Surface Hub touch screens in luxury suites but also across other Windows 10 devices. The long-term goal is to let fans view every drive and putt in real time from their Windows 10 device.