TopGolf has come a long way since the Jolliffe brothers imagined a new kind of golf experience, combining competition with entertainment. They revolutionized the driving range concept when players began hitting golf balls containing computer microchips that tracked their shot’s accuracy and distance resulting in points for hitting outfield targets. Think of it as golf scored like bowling: the more points the better.
But TopGolf didn’t stop with microchipped balls, climate-controlled hitting bays, and hundreds of HDTVs. They recently enhanced the ultimate sports entertainment experience with a new AV solution delivering interactive TVs to each hitting bay.
TopGolf turned to Diem Digital to improve upon the best driving range experience in the world and sought to add additional entertainment value by implementing a powerful, flexible and cost-effective AV integration.
The solution Diem Digital proposed and deploys has proven reliable and intuitive, giving accessible control to the staff via any Wi-Fi connected mobile device (iPhone, Android and Windows) whereas this was not possible at TopGolf facilities previously. Additionally, customers have the ability to change channels within their reserved hitting bays through the TopGolf app, a feature TopGolf sought to add for customer convenience. Their new entertainment environment supports hundreds of HDTVs delivering sports channels, scores and information from TopGolf’s game play, as well as various marketing and promotional content streaming from 25 content sources.
However, during the solution design phase, it became evident that the sheer size of a typical 65,000-square-foot TopGolf location—with its three levels, 260 TVs, and miles of cabling between video endpoints and the control room—created not only integration challenges but potential equipment reliability concerns and a looming big overall price tag.
Diem Digital took on the challenge to deliver at TopGolf’s “Ultimate Venue for Entertainment” with ZeeVee‘s video distribution equipment. ZeeVee’s HDbridge Series high performance QAM solution was identified as the best-suited equipment to deliver the quality, reliability and flexibility required, and at a 50 percent lower cost than a traditional matrix switch solution.
The new TopGolf AV system combines the ZeeVee HDbridge Series products along with SAVI Controls and Control4, delivering a powerful control solution that TopGolf rolls out to each new location. The video distribution solution delivers programming from 12 DirecTV receivers along with digital signage content to every HDTV.
From the control room, six 4-port ZeeVee HDbridge units (both 2640 and 2840 models), deliver HD 1080 images via QAM digital encoder to each hitting bay without having expensive receivers dedicated behind each HDTV.
“The installation is very fast for a facility as large as TopGolf” says Derek Wilson, VP of business development and TopGolf account manager at Diem Digital. “Configuration of the entire system takes hours, not days due in part to ZeeVee being integrated into the mix.” Unlike other control and distribution solutions, training the staff to operate the system requires only five minutes with the intuitive SAVI Controls User Interface.
“ZeeVee’s HDbridge Series has provided us with an extremely reliable, and cost-effective solution for TopGolf,” says Byron Baird, VP of sales at Diem Digital. “With a simple, intuitive SAVI Controls interface TopGolf new hires become proficient at controlling the entire AV system in just minutes, substantially cutting down personnel training costs.”
The original vision for the video distribution project at TopGolf was to have everything from marketing to the drink specials integrated into the facility’s many screens. What has resulted is even more impressive. Along with the original scope of work, Diem Digital set up every hitting bay with two televisions. The bottom TV displays players’ scores and the top TV functions as a regular TV, featuring local and national sports games and broadcast programming. Now players can even change the TV channel in their hitting bay using the TopGolf app on their favorite smartphone.
“We spent a great deal of time researching possible solutions, and ZeeVee was the only company with a solution flexible enough to meet our needs,” says Wilson. “Greater reliability is realized due to the centralized approach and lack of expensive failure prone end point devices behind every TV, making this solution cost effective and simple to maintain,” he added.
Author Bob Michaels is CEO of ZeeVee.