Creative Technology (CT) has been delivering live video solutions to golfing tournaments throughout Europe and the Middle East for over 30 years. Whilst COVID-19 is still affecting many live events across the globe, Creative Technology has been working hard to assist golf events where possible to resume activities albeit on a reduced basis and behind closed doors.
The hiatus in events during the spring lockdown gave the CT team a chance to look at the new challenges involved in hosting professional golf tournaments, and specifically what role technology could play to address them. With the restrictions on the number of personnel on site for post lockdown elite sport, a clear area of focus for CT were the manual leaderboards deployed on each event. To deliver the manual leaderboards a large contingent of volunteers and scoring staff are required.
Creative Technology had already been working with the European Tour to develop battery-powered on-course displays. By extending this service and delivering the display data wirelessly, CT was able to provide viable digital on-course leaderboards. If digital leaderboards were deployed in place of the manual leaderboards, the personnel involved in the service delivery would be reduced from around 60 volunteers and scoring staff to two technicians.
AIG Women’s Open
With many golf events postponed from their usual dates in the spring, CT started the year with the 44th Women’s Open sponsored by AIG, which took place at the Royal Troon Golf Club, Scotland, from 20-23 August. Focusing on delivering on course leaderboards, this event marked the first time that all manual leaderboards were replaced with digital ones. This improvement not only significantly enhanced the on-course experience but also assisted with adhering to social distancing guidelines, requiring only a couple of event staff to rig and operate multiple screens.
Delivering services directly to the R&A, CT provided a studio to produce the Tournament Television (TTV) feed this content was distributed across the course. The TTV fees was displayed in the clubhouse, player’s lounge and on-site offices. In addition to this, CT’s creative services team produced engaging customised graphics for the on-course leaderboards.
Out on course, CT supplied eight digital leaderboards on various tees, each housed in bespoke aluminium frames and powered locally by batteries. In addition to this, on the 18th Green, CT designed and built a Layher Scaffold structure to house the 16sqm LED screen.
A multi-core fibre network was laid throughout the golf club to deliver the TTV and Scoring feed across the site.
Scottish Open & BMW PGA Championship – European Tour
As an Approved Supplier for the European Tour, CT was once again a part of multiple high-profile golfing events this year.
The 2020 Scottish Open took place from 1-4 October at The Renaissance Club in North Berwick, Scotland, postponed from its originally scheduled dates in July due to the pandemic. The sporting event was one of the biggest to take place in the country since lockdown. Closely following this event was the the BMW PGA Championship, which took place at Wentworth Golf Club in Surrey, UK, from 8-11October.
To help assist with the new challenges faced and adhere to the social restrictions and guidelines in place, CT enhanced the existing Media Centre set-ups across both these event venues, allowing high-quality video calls to take place between the players and the remote journalists. To do this, a PTZ remote camera, 55” TV, and audio solutions were provided to enable the player being interviewed to see and hear the remote journalists interviewing them.
Out on course, CT supplied eight digital leaderboards on various tees, each housed in bespoke aluminium frames and powered locally by batteries and connected to the scoring feed wirelessly. Each display showed scrolling leader boards plus the projected cut mark on one day of the event. These replaced the traditional manual leaderboards and carry boards, further enabling each event to reduce the number of personnel on site.
The 2020 BMW PGA Championship also marked the last ever for the Director of Championships, Jamie Birkmyre, who, after over 20 years’ service on the European Tour, has stepped down from his role. Jamie was inspirational and championed the technology innovations CT were part of and continues to be a great advocate for the company.
Omega Gold Dubai Moonlight Classic
The OMEGA Dubai Moonlight Classic marked the return of sporting events to Dubai as the world’s first professional day-night golf tournament took place 4-6 November at Emirates Golf Club. The event saw 56 players competing across three days and was broadcasted globally to more than 60 countries.
For the safety of spectators and the players, this year’s tournament was played behind closed doors. CT was tasked with delivering a virtual solution to allow journalists around the world to hold Q&A sessions with the contestants via a video conferencing platform on behalf of the client, Falcon Golf Management Ltd.
CT provided an enhanced video conferencing solution adding a PTZ camera, lighting, audio and display screen to enable journalists to interview players remotely from all corners of the world. The PTZ camera allowed the flexibility of wide or zoomed shots while ensuring the crew remained at a safe social distance from the players.
Ladies European Tour
On 12 November 2020, the Ladies European Tour made history when it brought the first-ever women’s golf tournament to Saudi Arabia. The three-day Aramco Saudi Ladies International event saw female headline players compete to win $1,000,000 at the Royal Greens Golf Club in the coastal resort, King Abdullah Economic City. Shortly after the Saudi Ladies Team International tournament began, which is the first-ever points-earning Ladies European Tour event where professionals play alongside amateur golfers competing for a share of $500,000 prize money.
CT was proud to be part of this sporting history, distributing on-site live video feeds and supplying all video displays for the ground-breaking Aramco Saudi Ladies International and The Saudi Ladies Team International on behalf of the Ladies European Tour.
Race to Dubai – European Tour
To finish off the European Tour’s season-long Race to Dubai 2020, the DP World Tour Championship took place on 10-13 December. This drew to close a re-arranged season of tournaments that despite COVID-19 restrictions, still managed to stage 38 events across 18 different countries.
Alongside providing Tournament Television service comprising TVs, LED screens, virtual media centre and on-course digital LED leaderboards, CT introduced new technology to the world-renowned event on behalf of its client, European Tour.
The new technology enabled CT to eliminate the need for multiple generators for the on-course leaderboards as this year’s leaderboards were working off the latest battery technology. The scoring display was rendered locally with the data feed for each screen updated via 4G, which meant no hard cabling to the control position was required – making these leaderboards an extremely efficient and sustainable option.
“When golf events were able to resume following the height of the pandemic, lots of restrictions were imposed to ensure everyone’s safety at the events, not just the players. With CT’s long association with and understanding of golf we were able to utilise technology and play a huge part in assisting the staging teams conform to the new COVID safety requirements,” commented Richard Smith, CT’s Account Manager (Golf).