OU Golf Course installs new TopTracer technology


Sergio Montanez

The new TopTracer technology on OU’s driving range traces ball flight and distance in real time.

Why did Tarzan spend so much time on the golf course? Because he was perfecting his swing. 

But unlike professionals, the average golfer will spend hours trying to improve their swing. However, there’s a new way to learn and practice the perfect swing without frustration or boredom. 

Students, faculty, staff and affiliates are now able to play the new TopTracer technology at Oakland University’s Golf and Learning Center’s state of the art driving range.

“It is still new to the U.S. market, so right now, there are only three facilities in the state of Michigan that have this and we’re one of them,” said Ashley Dewling, golf services manager at the Golf and Learning Center.     

Installed about six weeks ago, TopTracer is still brand new to players coming to warm up on the driving range at OU, but it’s a hit among those to play it. 

“From everyone that has tried it out, it’s amazing how accurate it is,” Dewling said. “In the first couple of weeks, we had a complimentary and it was quite busy because everyone wanted to try it.”

TopTracer is a tracing technology that allows cameras to trace and show the audience the real-time ball flight and distance of a ball after it’s been hit. While it has been around since 2006, it has only been used in professional tournaments, such as the PGA Tour. 

However, recently, more driving ranges at golf courses across the United States have begun to install TopTracer technology. Its popularity has even been used at TopGolf, a premier entertainment venue where players of all skills can play different game modes using the same technology.

At the Golf and Learning Center’s TopTracer driving range, players are able to play games such as Launch Monitor, Virtual Golf and What’s In My Bag, as well as a wide variety of other games. 

“It’s similar to TopGolf, but you’re still practicing, so it’s great for whether you’re an amateur golfer or like a weekend recreational golfer,” Dewling said. 

For the avid golfer who wants to focus more on their skills, Launch Monitor and What’s In My Bag are two games that will encourage the player to concentrate more on their swing. 

Launch Monitor offers the ability for the player to track data such as distance, height and ball speed. What’s In My Bag gives the player the opportunity to hit with every one of their clubs and accumulate data according to each individual club.  

Dave Roose, the outside supervisor who oversees the driving range at the Golf and Learning Center, believes the addition of TopTracer will be most beneficial to the avid golfer. 

“If you’re doing a curve that’s going this way, it’s going to tell you that you’re swinging too much inside out,” he said. “And if you’re serious about that, it can help you correct that. It’s a good tool if the person is a serious golfer.” 

But TopTracer isn’t limited to the avid golfer wanting to perfect their swing. With its other game modes, players of all skills can come and hit golf balls at the driving range.

“I think that’s where the beginner golfer can play the points game or something that’s for any type of skill level,” Dewling said.

One such game is Virtual Golf, in which players get to play 18 holes of golf on real life world-class golf courses. 

“[It’s] kind of cool because you’re still practicing on the range, but it’s also a fun game that you can play with up to four players, so it doesn’t have to be just you playing,” Dewling said. “It’s fun because if you’re playing one of these games from here like the points game, everyone is able to compete and it doesn’t matter your skill level.” 

Players are also able to keep track of all their stats through the TopTracer mobile app. By just scanning their phone on one of the TopTracer screens, players are able to access all their saved data and stats. 

After warming up on the driving range TopTracer, golfers can take their skills to enjoy a round of golf at either Katke-Cousins Golf Course or the R&S Sharf Golf Course. 

With affordable rates for students starting at $13 to play nine holes, or $14 to play 18 on either course, students also have access to the putting greens and short game areas. When players need to ease the tension, they can head back to the driving range TopTracer and work on their swing.

“It’s makes practicing so much fun and it also gives you a better idea of your strength and other things you need to work on,” Dewling said.