As the demand to improve the playing experience at golf courses and country clubs continues to grow, course managers are adding new technologies to enhance their product while also adding to their bottom line. One of these methods gaining traction is GPS tracking of the golf carts (and in essence the golfers) on the course to enable better management of tee times, tracking of course bottlenecks, improved beverage and snack service, downloadable advertisements, quicker servicing of failed and dead battery golf battery golf carts, on-the-go diagnostics, and cart misplacement/theft management. For the golfer, the course owner can now also have the ability to provide (free or at a cost) statistics, shot history, distance to pin, and other limitless features that improve the golfing experience for the novice and the professional.
Global Positioning Satellite, or GPS is at the heart of all golf cart-tracking systems. GPS enables a unit to pinpoint its position on planet earth using a combination of satellite transponders and ground based radar. The three most common methods used for transmitting the gathered GPS data at golf courses include cellular, WiFi, and Narrow band VHF/UHF radio transmission.
Cellular vs. Wifi vs. VHF/UHF Frequencies
Cellular systems use the same radio solution as does your standard cell phone/smart phone. The cellular solution’s benefits include low power operation, high data rates, and direct connection to an “App”, while the disadvantages include the need to have cell service in the area where the golf course resides, each cart to have a monthly subscription service, dependency on a third party carrier, outages, limited service during “busy” cell phone times, and reduced accuracy (if the cell signal itself is used for GPS triangulation).
WiFi uses a radio solution similar to what many folks use in a coffee shop or in their homes to connect to the Internet in a wireless fashion. The WiFi solution’s benefits include free connection, low power operation, and high data rates while the disadvantages include very limited range without a repeater, loss/weakening of signal due to obstructions, reduced throughput under heavy course loads, a max number of nodes supported, and interference from other WiFi devices in proximity to the course/golf cart.
Narrow band RF data modem solution, like that from Raveon Technologies RavTrack solution, use a dedicated UHF/VHF RF link similar to that in use fire/rescue/military communications links. The RavTrack solution’s benefits include free unlimited data connection, ownership of the frequency band, no third party control of the network, long distance range without a repeater (can cover the whole course), accurate (up to a meter) tracking, and an unlimited number of nodes supported while having virtually no disadvantages or limitations.
The RavTrack solution from Raveon Technologies is a self-contained hardware and software package that can be customized to support unlimited applications in the gold cart tracking space. Using a ruggedized and pre-configured radio transponder in each golf cart along with a transponder and software command and control at the club house (no internet connection is required), each golf cart can be pin pointed and tracked on the course using customized maps and/or standard Google type maps. “RavTrack PC” software is provided with the solution along with mapping/tracking support from popular third party software houses. The software provides such features as position, custom icons for each individual cart, programmable geofencing parameters, collision detection/avoidance alerts, distance between various carts, unlimited logging and history file generation, and several other position related parameters. Raveon can also provide customizable apps and solutions to better support the course operators exacting needs.
The RavTrack solution can support all the features discussed in the introduction of this article along with an unlimited number of customizable applications. These features will enable the golf course/country club to differentiate itself from competing courses by improving the golfers experience (statistics, distance to pin, shot history, etc.) while improving the courses bottom line by better managing its carts, its queuing of tee times, advertising, instantaneous cart down time and location management, and potential revenue generation by charging for statistics and print outs for the golfer.
The RavTrack solution from Raveon Technologies emerges clearly as the best solution for providing a low cost and easily manageable environment for the golf course/country club owner. Get a free quote now!
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