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7 Tech Innovations In Sports That Changed The Game

7 Tech Innovations In Sports That Changed The Game

Sports is one of the few things in life we can say will look fairly similar 100 years from now. Still, there have been several technological advances in sports that have changed how we play and watch the game.

Here are some of the greatest innovations in sports over the years.

Metal Woods In Golf

Remember when woods were actually made of wood? In the 1970s, golf club designers began to experiment making woods out of aluminum. One of the first companies, PinSeeker, introduced a Driver made of metal called “The Bombshell” in 1976. Gary Adams, who eventually founded TaylorMade, debuted his first metal driver called the “Pittsburgh Persimmon” in 1979.

Even though the clubs went further and were more durable, golf legends Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus still insisted on used their Persimmon woods initially. Callaway Golf Co (NYSE: ELY) introduced its famous Big Bertha oversized driver head in 1991, and by then metal woods became a staple in the game.

Instant Replay

Replay technology certainly changed the way we watched sports. The technology has been used in televised sports since the early 1960s, giving fans the opportunity to re-watch amazing plays but also expose poor officiating.

The NFL was the first league to utilize replay technology to reverse blown calls, introducing a replay challenge system in 1999. Now nearly every sport uses the technology is some form to get the officiating right, but it's still a never-ending work in progress (see 2019 NFC Championship game).

Top Tracer Technology

Golf has long been criticized for being difficult to watch on TV as cameramen sometimes struggle to follow the path of a ball that is just 1.68 inches in diameter. TopTracer technology has been a staple in golf telecasts in recent years and makes the game immeasurably more watchable for the fans at home, as it immediately traces golfers ball flight.

TopTracer technology was founded in 2006 and purchased by golf entertainment venue company TopGolf.

Computerized Bowling Score

Keeping score in bowling can be quite difficult with its confusing scoring system. Undoubtedly, when scoring in bowling became digitized it made the game more fun for the casual bowler, which is most of us.

Hawkeye Tracking For Tennis

Gone are the days of eyeing whether a ball is on the line or out in tennis with the advent of the Hawkeye Tracking system. Hawkeye tracks the ball’s trajectory and sends it to a virtual reality machine. Not only did this technology make the game more accurate to officiate, it also helped John McEnroe rest easy knowing there is a way to verify poor officiating decisions.

Headsets For Football

Headsets have become a staple of communication between coaches and players play-calling and decision making mid-game. Coordinators up in the press box communicate with the quarterback through an ear-piece in their helmet to make adjustments and audibles on the fly. The NFL approved use of headsets for all teams in 1994.

Check out Boston Globe writer Nora Princiotti's extensive history on the evolution of the headset.

Solid-Core Golf Ball

For those who remember what golf was like in the 1990s, players often had to sacrifice distance for spin and vice versa. Distance balls were rock hard and had less spin but were durable. Spin balls did not travel as far and often had to be replaced several times throughout the round.

Acushnet Holdings Corp (NASDAQ: GOLF)’s Titleist introduced the Titleist Pro V1, players did not have to make this sacrifice anymore, a ball that was durable, had plenty of spin and distance. It has been the No. 1 selling ball ever since and spawned tons of competition.

The ball has improved tour pros play so much that Greg Norman has called for golf ball technology to return to pre-1996 levels, as he feels it has made the game too easy for games best players.

Related Links:

Exclusive: Callaway Golf CEO Talks Jack Wolfskin, Epic Flash Driver And How AI Will Change The Industry

'The NFL Is More Popular Than Ever': DraftKings CEO Talks Explosive Sports Betting Growth

Posted-In: Gary Adams Greg Norman John McEnroe PinSeeker TaylorMadeSports Tech General Best of Benzinga


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