HILTON HEAD, S.c. (WSAV) – When people watch golf on television, many of them take the statistics for granted. The assumption may be that distance measurements or launch angles are somehow ‘automatic.’
They aren’t, though. In fact, like everything else at the RBC Heritage, the numbers you see on the TV broadcasts are handled by volunteers.
This week, more than 180 volunteers make up an incognito team that helps catalogue every single shot at the Heritage through ShotLink Technology
“The volunteer effort tournament really is massive to our success,” Tyler Daly, a ShotLink producer for the PGA Tour, explains. “Generally speaking, it does require a lot of volunteers.
ShotLink is the tracking technology that provides up-to-the-second information to television crews. Data from range-finders and tablets help broadcasters gauge the yardage of a shot before the next golfer has even approached his shot.
“They’ll use that information in their broadcast to not only give the context for what else is going on in a player’s round, but what’s going on currently,” Daly adds. “The distance they have to the pin and what’s going on live as you’re watching it on television.”
Working this technology and keeping it up to date can be an intimidating task. Luckily, Daly says he keeps seeing the same people volunteer for the position every year.
“When we are meeting with them, it’s great to see familiar faces. People who know, generally speaking, everything they are expected to do for that tournament.”
Dozens of people, both inside the ropes and on the outside, rely on the ShotLink group being there. Even if they never actually notice them.
“It’s very unique,” Daly adds. “There are few roles that put you inside the ropes at a given PGA Tour tournament.”