Gray Gives Thumbs-Up to Drone Technology

Chris Gray.

Singapore: One of golf’s foremost agronomic experts has predicted a huge uptake in drone technology among golf clubs.

“It’s pretty exciting what’s happening with drone technology – and where it’s going,” said Chris Gray, Head of Sustainability and Agronomy for Asia at The R&A.

During a webinar addressing Why New Technology is Now Essential in Golf Course Management, Gray discussed various areas in which drone technology is able to assist course superintendents and their teams.

Hosted by Brain Pool Tech and presented by the Asian Golf Industry Federation (AGIF), the webinar participants also included Owen Hester, Founder and President at Green Dynasty, Bobby Carrington, a Tech Portfolio Advisor for a private equity company in New York City and Head of Customer Success at Brain Pool Tech, and Kai Voges, Co-Founder and CEO of Brain Pool Tech, an Associate Business Member of the AGIF.

Gray, a Board Member of the AGIF, said: “With drones, you can take fantastic photos from angles that were never possible in the past or you can view hard-to-access areas on your golf course, or sensitive areas that you can’t get into or where there’s restrictions on access.

“You can also fly over water bodies that you wouldn’t normally have access to and are adjacent to the golf course to check on the local area and see what’s happening surrounding your golf course.

“Some of the technology with the different cameras – NDVI, Thermal – with the naked eye you can’t notice too much. But with the camera they can measure the chlorophyll amount in the plants and that can show up as a deficiency. So, you can catch problems before you begin to lose turf or highlight a pest infestation that you may not be able to see yet.

“It could be a disease pressure, a water pressure, but also you can see water logging areas where you can reduce water. The beauty about some of this technology is that you can catch problems before they become apparent to course managers and the golfers.

“High-resolution mapping is another part you can use. With high-definition, the detail you can get to view your golf course is quite incredible. You can zoom in to have a close look at certain areas.

“Drones can also give you accurate topography maps. If you don’t have an accurate topographical map then the maps on golf buggies could be out and the golfers will grumble because they can check that against their Rangefinder and find distances are incorrect. It’s important for clubs to avoid mis-presentation of data.”

*To view this webinar on You Tube, please click the link: https://youtu.be/JkXiAj7R9_s

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