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PGA Tour adding ARKit golf courses to app, in time for Arnold Palmer Invitational

The latest practical demonstration of Apple's ARKit comes by way of the PGA Tour, which has announced a new augmented reality app to visualize courses and holes within your own home.




The app will allow you to view individual holes, as well as overlay data from your favorite players. You can see where to of the pros landed their drives, or how difficult their put were. Shots from multiple players can also be overlaid for easy comparison, and even stats like distance.

In an interview with TechCrunch, PGA Tour CMO Rick Anderson said that augmented reality is the key to "bring in the more three-dimensional aspects of a golf course" that can be hard to visualize properly when just watching on a television.

Apps have been a useful second-screen experience for sports like baseball and golf where there are a lot of comparisons and metrics to consider. Adding AR into the mix makes it more interactive experience instead of solely visual.

One of the biggest hurdles to generating AR content has been the 3D modeling of different assets. Shopping apps, for instance, require 3D model of each product or piece of furniture, which takes skill, and an a significant amount of time to create. On the other hand, the PGA Tour is in a unique position, already having 3D scans and models of the courses for use in their televised analysis.

The new feature will be slow to roll out, with only specific courses and holes getting the AR-treatment. More will be added overtime, but at launch you will be limited. Live AR coverage will be available for the Arnold Palmer Invitational on the 6th hole during the week of March 15.

The PGA Tour has broken out this new AR functionality into a standalone app at the onset, with the plan to transition it to the main app as it picks up steam.

The 165.3MB PGA TOUR AR app is available on the App Store for free, and requires iOS 11.

At present, it isn't clear how well received ARKit has been with Apple's users. In January, analytical firm Apptopia saw less than 1000 apps available for users to download.