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USGA, CISCO Plan to Reimagine Golf Through Multi-Year Partnership

First, the U.S. Golf Association and Cisco will enhance the fan experience through an app. But then, over the next few years, the USGA plans to leverage its newly-minted partnership with the technology giant to reimagine golf innovation and enhance the experience for the players themselves. 
On Tuesday, the two organizations announced a multi-year deal to deliver new fan experiences, such as real-time scoring, mobile ticketing, and cashless payments, across the USGA’s suite of digital properties. The deal also ambitiously calls for the two to figure out how to improve the game itself, including the experience for golfers.
“Philosophically as an organization we recognize there are ways to use technology to lead golf into the future,” said Katie Bynum, USGA’s managing director of partnerships and fan experiences. “Our intent is we work with Cisco to help define what that may be.”
As the USGA’s reimagining of golf is only in its early stages, Bynum couldn’t elaborate on what the two might be cooking up in the future. But she did point to the organization’s last golf symposium in 2017, in which it announced a commitment to innovation and sustainability. The USGA issued a challenge statement to the industry in March 2017 in which it committed to improving golfer satisfaction by 20 percent and reducing critical resource consumption (mostly at facilities) by 25 percent, all by 2025.
“Part of that challenge statement is to help partners like Cisco evolve golfer satisfaction in the game so they stay playing and play more,”Bynum said. “We want to reduce resource consumption, thereby costing facilities less to maintain operations and, ultimately, reducing our environmental footprint.”
Bynum anticipates the USGA will begin to showcase some of the early findings of its partnership with Cisco at the USGA’s Golf Innovation Symposium in Tokyo next March. There, the USGA will begin highlighting its new STEM education programs, partly in an effort to lure new generations of fans and athletes to the game.

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In the near term, Cisco, as the USGA’s official technology partner, will help facilitate a more connected experience for fans at major championships, such as the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open. That will include improving WiFi access at the event, creating new opportunities for content distribution on-site and worldwide, and strengthening the local network to enable greater access to real-time scoring, content, and other digital experiences through the US Open app.
“We see a tremendous opportunity to create a strong network that can ultimately enable a bunch of things for the fan that we haven’t been able to deliver,” Bynum said. “Ultimately, we hope to do things like digital ticketing, cashless payments and distribution of content in ways we haven’t done before.”
The USGA’s plans also include augmenting its broadcast studio at the USGA headquarters and creating “unique opportunities for fans to engage with the sport and its players.”


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