Unless you're one of the world's top golfers, there's a good chance you are not stepping onto the fairways of Pebble Beach Golf Links this weekend.
Nevertheless, the PGA is making it possible for golf fans to get closer to the action at the famous Florida course than those who paid to attend the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, which teed off on Thursday.
An App Store update to the PGA Tour AR app brings a new feature that anchors virtual greens, complete with Pebble Beach flags, into the user's personal space. When users step onto the virtual greens, they are transported to a live, 360-degree video feed of the tee box at the first and 18th holes of Pebble Beach.
"The AT&T 360-degree Tee Box in the PGA Tour AR app offers fans a unique and exclusive view of Pebble Beach Golf Links," said Devon Fox, PGA Tour Director for digital platform innovation, in a statement. "Fans will be able to see holes No. 1 and 18 in an entirely new way, getting them closer to the action than ever before. Collaborating with AT&T to bring fans this exclusive experience represents a new way for the Tour to add value for sponsors and partners in the future."
The digital agency who built the app for the PGA, Trigger, also created the NBA AR app. The NBA app also added AR portals to pre-recorded 360-degree videos in its last update. I'm sensing a pattern here.
Live 360 videos delivered via AR is a pretty innovative concept in theory, however, in my brief testing, the video was very choppy, and my data connection is fairly robust.
Another golf-centric augmented reality experience, completely unrelated to the app, was also debuted in recent days. The now frequent pairing of AT&T and Magic Leap revealed an AR version of Jordan Spieth (the 11-time winner of the PGA TOUR), giving fans the chance to interact with the star virtually. The experience is being shown off at the 2019 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in California from Feb. 7 to 10.
"When AT&T asked me if I would film some footage to make an augmented reality experience for fans, I was happy to do it," Spieth said in a statement accompanying the announcement of the Magic Leap experience.
"Attendees stop by the AT&T Fan Dome where my bag and Titleist clubs are on display. They put on a Magic Leap One headset and interact with the clubs. When they do, I pop up in front of them as a digital, life-sized video to tell them a bit more about that club, like when I tend to use it or maybe a favorite memory related to it. We shot the footage using a 360-degree camera a few weeks ago, which was a first for me. That means you can walk around and see me in front of you with the club, the bag and everything else inside of the AT&T Fan Dome."
The experience, which will be available a AT&T retail locations later this year, was developed by Groove Jones, a studio that has developed AR and VR experiences for the likes of Toyota, the Dallas Mavericks, Western Union, FX network, the Super Bowl, and Hulu.
"This experience helps me connect with more people out there who love the game as much as I do. I also hope fans see how technology can enhance the way you engage with the world around you, in ways that are meaningful without detracting from being 'in the moment,'" said Spieth.
"Making this gave me a chance to reflect on some of the successes I've had thus far in my career. I'm happy that I'll get to share it with fans in a way that's way more personal than just watching a video."
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