Aug 12 2011 by Gordon Bannerman, Perthshire Advertiser Friday
GOLFERS taking to the Gleneagles fairways might still lose their Titleists and Srixons in the rough with wayward driving – but now they don’t have an excuse for failing to navigate their way around the 2014 Ryder Cup venue.
In a first for Scotland, the Big County resort has invested £250,000 in a fleet of 40 brand new carts on the PGA Centenary Course, all fitted with a state-of-the-art global positioning system.
A touch screen pinpoints yardage to the front, middle and back of the green and hazards on the Jack Nicklaus designed track, offers tips on how to play the hole and golfers can view a flyover of the challenge awaiting them.
But players still have to swing the club!
Gleneagles head professional Russell Smith welcomed the latest investment at the Ryder Cup venue, which hosts the Johnnie Walker Championships this month, explaining: “It is ideal for a golfer playing the course for the first time but any player can make use of the information and we hope it enhances their experience at Gleneagles.”
The sophisticated technology also allows Gleneagles staff to keep tabs on the precise location of any cart in the fleet, and there is an automatic cut-out if a vehicle is veering off the beaten track.
“There are benefits from a course maintenance perspective by pre-determining where carts can and can’t go, and it helps keep play moving," he said.
"Even this week when the fairways have been very wet the carts have been able to access the fairways rather than stick to the paths. The PGA Centenary Course doesn’t have the slopes of the King’s or Queen’s but there are certainly health and safety spin-offs from the new system.”
With fine-tuning continuing, golfers will soon be able to pre-order refreshments at the half-way house from the comfort of their buggy.
And another feature is the potential for live tournament scoring and an ever-changing leaderboard for corporate events.