Some of the newest technology in golf that used to be considered exclusive to the pros — as seen on major networks like NBC, CBS, Golf Channel and Sky Sports — has arrived at Pine Ridge Golf Course in Lutherville, Md.
Pine Ridge Golf Course welcomed Toptracer technology to its driving ranges this summer. All golfers using the range now have the ability to use Toptracer to improve their game and enhance their experience on the range.
There are a tick fewer than 270 driving ranges in the United States that utilize Toptracer — including the Severna Park Golf Center in Arnold, Md. — and another 250 internationally. Now, Pine Ridge can be added to that list.
“We want to differentiate ourselves from any other ranges in the area so people will come and utilize our range,” Baltimore Municipal Golf Corporation executive director Tom Pierce said.
Pine Ridge holds 45 total driving range stations. Currently, 22 stations are equipped with a Toptracer monitor. The other 23 can be accessed through a smartphone or tablet.
The technology allows golfers to view precise stats about their drives, such as the distance their ball travels in the air, height of the ball, total distance of the drive, ball speed, curvature of the shot and distance from the target (right or left).
Players can download the Toptracer app for a streamlined experience. The app helps players review their progress either during or after their time on the range. Game modes, such as the approach challenge, long drive, closest to the pin and more, provide a unique experience that meets each individual’s ability level.
“Bottom line is, we try to provide a great experience at Pine Ridge, and this upgrade to our already busy facility is going to allow people to practice more effectively,” said David Hutsell, PGA head golf professional at Pine Ridge.
In addition to feedback on drives, Toptracer allows users to have more options during their time golfing. Golfers can mimic holes of professional courses, play skill-based games and compete against their friends.
With the features that Toptracer provides, the technology changes the way people enjoy the driving range. The hope is that kids get more into golf from a young age.
“Kids are always looking at screens, so [if] we can capture them here with a screen and get them to play golf too instead of sitting on the couch, I think it’s going to be a big positive,” Hutsell said.
Not only is Toptracer expected to leave a positive mark on kids, the technology is expected to bring in enough revenue to help BMGC’s other courses.
The BMGC is the nation’s first nonprofit organization dedicated solely to the management and operation of municipal golf courses. The BMGC operates Baltimore’s Classic Five golf courses: Pine Ridge, Mount Pleasant, Forest Park, Clifton, and Carroll Park.
Toptracer prices at Pine Ridge differ based on the type of driving station used, though range balls are included in the price and multiple golfers can use the same station.
For the 22 stations under cover with a monitor, 30 minutes with a small bucket of balls is $20. One hour with a medium bucket is $35. Two hours with a large bucket is $60.
For the 23 stations with no cover, 30 minutes with a small bucket is $15. One hour with a medium bucket is $25. Two hours with a large bucket is $40.
Golfers wishing to simply use the range without utilizing Toptracer can pay $5 for a small bucket, $10 for a medium bucket and $14 for a large bucket.
“We want to offer ourselves to anybody but of course we want to generate more revenue, because all the revenue we generate goes back into our courses,” Pierce said.
Golfers can see the cameras that Toptracer utilizes hanging underneath the overhang of the range. The Toptracer monitors are under cover, allowing for golfers to still play in the rain if they wish.
The construction process to implement Toptracer did affect Pine Ridge’s driving range in some capacity. Pine Ridge tackled the implementation process by starting and finishing one side of the range before going to the other.
“We temporarily closed one side, and then did the other side. … We were closed when we had to do the concrete work,” Pierce said.
Photo Credits: Luke Jackson/PressBox