IoT Ecosystem for Tunxis Golf Course

Internet of Things · On-course Experience

How can an integrated system of connected devices bring value to business management and on-course experience for Tunxis Golf Course?


Fall 2017 | IoT Ecosystem Design

Client: Tunxis Golf Course

In Collaboration with: Rossa Kim, Mandy Li

My Role: Research, Concept Development, UX Design, Technical Prototype



The goal of this project is to develop a site-specific technology based proposal for Tunxis Country Club in Farmington, CT, to rejuvenates the golf experience and attracts new audiences to their clubs through a series of internet-connected technologies.

After several rounds of user interviews with golf pros, regular players as well as managers of the golf club, our group defined the problem as the following:

Tunxis country club currently has no access to the location information of golf carts and players on the course, thus has almost no knowledge or control over the time and pace of play that groups spend on the court. 

As Tunxis possess such an enormous piece of land and multiple courses, optimizing the schedule to fit the most groups of players, and ensuring they all get frictionless experience is crucial for the revenue, as well as gaining loyal customers.



The final design of our IoT ecosystem features:

  • GPS transmitter module on every golf cart for real-time location

  • RFID-enabled wristband to gather pace of play data

  • Cloud-based server and database for data storage

  • Management dashboard for player behavior analysis and information visualization

The incorporation of these technology aim to provide valuable information to the management for efficient scheduling and customer behavior analysis, and to create frictionless game play experience for golfers on-course.


Design Process

Case Studies and Data Flow Analysis

As we dive deeper to examine examples of improving experience with technology in a large physical space, we looked at Disney and Vail Resorts who really define and map out the connection between objects and actors and provide a simple connected infrastructure that augment the customer experience. We also researched different technologies such as RFID, GPS tracking, BLE and other options that are low-cost but yield high potential in providing valuable insights about customer behaviors.

User Journey

To better understand the user flow in the existing golf course and analyze the impact of the designed ecosystem have on the process, we developed a user journey map to further illustrate how the player will experience the IoT system.

  • During the check-in process in the pro-shop, players get RFID wristband. As soon as the players’ wristband get paired up with the golf cart, management can start to monitor the location of the cart.

  • When the players start to play the game, they put their golf ball down the RFID reader embedded in the tee area automatically scans the wristband. Therefore, management can start to monitor the pace of play for individual players.

  • When players finish every hole, they can pick up their ball, and the wristband automatically gets scanned by the reader in the last hole.

  • By doing so, management would be able to get accurate data for the pace of play. For slow players, management can reference the data and send a notification to nudge players to play little faster.


Ecosystem Design

The four main components of our ecosystem are:

  1. RFID-enabled wristband, given to every golfer at the pro shop before they enter the course

  2. GPS transmitter module mounted on every golf cart that constantly broadcast location information

  3. Cloud-based server and database that stores all the data coming in from the course

  4. Management dashboard that aggregates and displays all collected data and allows the administration to take actions, understand traffic, and make further optimizations to improve quality of play and drive up revenue.


The beauty of the ecosystem lies in the integration of simple, low-costlow-power technology that gives us access to very rich, high-fidelity information and data, as well as the fact that it exists almost completely in the background and maintains the integrity of the on-course experience for the golfers.



Dashboard Design

We propose the simple, intuitive Customer relationship management(CRM) dashboard to effectively manage the customer as well as the core businesses. 

The system estimates the prospective customers by number of appointments and help management to plan and organize the appropriate service ahead. Further information regarding the traffic can be found in analytics section, which provides overall analytics for sales and revenue. For each event and service, management can have a holistic view by recent activities feature, which provides the real-time updates on how other teams such as restaurant or maintenance team are keeping up with their tasks.



Technical Demonstration

During the final demonstration, the ecosystem was set in small-scale and focused on how seamless the wristband is when golfers play the game. Our team demonstrated the core components of the system, which include RFID wristbands,  an RFID reader mounted to the tee area and connected to a Raspberry Pi, a model golf cart with GPS module, and realtime server data stream that shows the timestamp of both the golf cart and the player. Based on the feedback of three participants during the live demo, including classmates and the manager of Tunxis, they were not disturbed by wearing the RFID wristband and the interactions that trigger the timestamp appeared natural.