February 9, 2017 11:01 am

Golf pro breaks down barriers to becoming a golfer with Microsoft Technologies

By / Owner, Gregg Rogers Golf Performance Centers

Windows 10, Surface and Azure transform golf lessons  

When I was a kid, I developed a huge interest in golf. I was a good athlete who could play all traditional sports well but golf was different. I quickly developed a passion for the game and had a strong work ethic, but like many people, I found golf to be an elusive riddle. Despite non-stop practice, my progress was not as fast as I hoped it to be. I knew that if I wanted to get better, I needed detailed feedback on my game. After a few years of trying to play professionally, I discovered that I spent more time helping others to play better and that my skill was to teach people how to improve their golf game. I earned my PGA of America membership and began to focus on ways to teach more efficiently and with better feedback using technology. Eventually, I opened the Gregg Rogers’ Golf Performance Centers which focuses on the latest golf teaching technologies to give aspiring and advanced golfers more personalized and effective instruction to help them become better golfers.

As an early adopter of technology, I’ve long relied on tech to help me run and grow nearly every aspect of my business. Everyone from our golf instructors to club fitters use Windows 10 Pro powered devices and Office 365 to schedule lessons and develop custom orders, as well as analyze costs and revenue.

With Windows 10 and the Microsoft cloud, we can collaborate, stay in touch with our clients and secure our business information. I’m always looking for new ways to grow my business and know technology can not only help our students improve but also change the perception that golf is too difficult to learn.

As a golf instructor, I use advanced tracking technologies to analyze swings and movement which allows me to pinpoint exactly what needs to be focused on to improve performance. Technology simplifies the learning process and makes improving fun. One of the challenges is many of my students have trouble remembering the lesson when they get to the golf course and may become frustrated. And, tracking their progress is something that is also difficult without the supporting data. As a teacher, I know that feedback and practice is key to improving, and with the right data, video content and a supportive coach, we can make it easier for people to learn golf and have more fun. I turned to Microsoft and the app-development firm Taqtile, a member of the Microsoft Partner Network, to create a Windows 10 Universal Windows Platform (UWP) training app and student portal that takes golf instruction to a level not used before.  We created “The Gregg Rogers Golf Performance” solution in less than four months.  The solution empowers our instructors to not only provide deeper analysis and more personalized recommendations, but also places the data at our students’ fingertips so they can improve and track their progress every time they practice — with or without their instructor.

To use the app, our students hit shots in our controlled, indoor, simulated golf environment at one of my performance centers. The app integrates with these high definition golf simulators that use Doppler radar, ultrasound and high-speed video to record data from the shot such as body mechanics, club-head speed and swing angle. In fact, we capture over 26 pieces of data from each swing. The simulators instantly calculate where the ball will go, analyze the swing, and capture the data and video images. Our instructor and the student then use Windows 10 powered devices including Microsoft Surface Pro and Surface Book devices at the swing bay to provide immediate replay and feedback. Our students often pick up 10 to 15 yards of distance and significantly improve accuracy and consistency within just a few lessons. The impact of the Golf Performance app has been dramatic as our students can now see exactly what their instructor is trying to teach them anywhere they go or practice. This has not only eased potential frustration for golfers, but also improved comprehension, progress and fun!

What I’m really excited about is how our instructors can also annotate and add voiceover recommendations to the recording, and then upload it to our student portal hosted in the Microsoft Azure cloud platform. Through the power of the Microsoft cloud, our students can access all the data and images anytime from any computer or mobile device – during a lesson, on the golf course, at home or even while traveling. Over time the app can provide comparative analyses to show where students are improving and where they need more work, so our instructor can create customized lessons. Overall, we’ve been able to eliminate trial and error and make a bigger impact on our students’ golf game, leading to greater enjoyment whether at the driving range or golf course. Because we are now able to track their improvement, our student retention and referrals have also increased by double digits as they frequently share their progress with friends.

At the Gregg Rogers Golf Performance Centers, an instructor uses “The Gregg Rogers Golf Performance” Windows 10 UWP training app on his Surface Pro device to record and provide immediate feedback on a student’s body mechanics, club-head speed and swing angle.

At the Gregg Rogers Golf Performance Centers, an instructor uses “The Gregg Rogers Golf Performance” Windows 10 UWP training app on his Surface Pro device to record and provide immediate feedback on a student’s body mechanics, club-head speed and swing angle.

Ultimately, we’re not a technology company. We’re a golf improvement facility and small business that happens to specialize in helping people achieve their desired potential and have fun. Microsoft provides the technology that we use to help our customers have more fun on the golf course – and take our business to the next level. If you want to check out more detailed information on how we’re not only using Microsoft technologies to help our students improve but also take our business to the next tee, please check out the case study here.

You can also follow me at @greggrogersgolf or learn more at www.grgolfperformance.com.

Updated February 13, 2017 2:12 pm