Only a couple of years removed from banning phones at the British Open, the R&A has embraced a more comprehensive strategy to encourage fan use of smartphones. For the first time at a professional golf tournament, free (and working) Wifi is available throughout the course to power The Open's artfully designed app. Even with huge galleries at Hoylake, the combination of a sensible design and a working Wifi system has raised the bar in offering fan interactivity for all of professional sport.
Future Workshops of London's app design offers a customizable leader board, options to watch or listen to BBC coverage and a bulletin stream emphasizing replays of key shots, great photos or breaking news. The ad-free video feed loads quickly and, so far, has worked remarkably well. And if there are Wifi dead spots not covered by the 350 access points? Youthful ambassadors are walking the course, helping spectators who have questions while also documenting any areas where access is poor. Technicians immediately make modifications to get the areas internet access.
Looks like a great app. Now, if they could just figure out how to get people to stop taking pictures...