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Green-Mapping. It's a Golf Thing

Posted by Barbara Fordyce on

Golfers are notorious for trying any means necessary to improve their game.  Golf magazines are full of an array of products promising to improve the game. Swing analyzers, simulators, stroke analyzing tools, putting doughnuts... to name just a few.

But did you know that GIS mapping is also being used to enhance the game of golf?

It is, and it's called green mapping.

Green mapping uses an optical scanning laser that shoots a laser beam at a mirror that is spinning rapidly within the housing of the device. Millions of beams, reflected by the mirror, are projected onto the landscape of the green, scanning as the device rotates to encompass the entire surface. As each beam is redirected at the green, it is measured precisely.

Once the data is collected, it is placed on an electronic outline of the green. Using special GIS software to process the data into the arrows, contours and numbers that appear on a green map.

Green maps give the player a visual picture of features such as the shape of the green, the type of grass, mounds.

Highly specialized green maps, which collect data on a daily basis, give the player information on how high the grass is mowed, the moisture content of the putting surface, seasonal growth pattern of the grass.

By analyzing the information on the greens map, a golfer can accurately assess slope, and figure out the perfect speed to send the ball into the hole. 

It's estimated that 95% of PGA players are using some form of greens mapping.  And the resource is quickly working its way down to the amateur world.

For more reading about green mapping, including a discussion of whether the maps will slow down the game, go to Golf Digest.

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