Apr 30 2012

Golf Analytics Competition Offers Tech Prize to Colleges

The PGA TOUR and CDW will award $25,000 to the university that produces the best research paper on golf analytics.

The PGA TOUR and CDW have launched a competition that will award a $25,000 technology prize to the college or university that produces the best research paper on golf analytics.

The goal of the competition, called the "ShotLink Intelligence Prize," contest, is to use golf data to develop new insights into the sport, says Ken Lovell, the TOUR's vice president of media development. The competition is open to any college or university professor or graduate student.

"We believe the research produced from this competition has the potential to change the way we watch and think about the game," Lovell says. "We don't know what we will get, but we look forward to seeing the research professors and students produce."

Since 2005, the TOUR has made its golf data available to college professors and graduate students through a program called ShotLink Intelligence Powered by CDW. The historical database includes information on 28,000 players, 9,000 tournaments and 4,000 golf courses — in total, 1 million scorecards and 21 million shot-level entries, which is raw data, collected from golf tournaments over the past decade, says Steve Evans, the TOUR's senior vice president of information systems.

Columbia Business School professor Mark Broadie, for example, used the ShotLink data to help produce the new strokes gained-putting statistic.

Participants must submit their research by Nov. 1. The winning submission will be announced by March 31, 2013, with a $25,000 technology prize awarded to the winner's academic institution.

Authors of the research papers will also have the option of submitting their work to the Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports, which will peer review submissions and consider them for publication in a special golf issue.

For more information, go to www.CDWG.com/pgatour.