RFID Transforms Experience at TopGolf

November 13, 2012 Joey McFarland

Targets at TopGolf have RFID readers and antennas to determine where balls land

TopGolf is a premier golf entertainment complex that offers a leisure experience like no other. By revolutionizing the traditional sport of golf, TopGolf has created innovative games that incorporate concepts from golf, darts and bowling, and appeal to players of all skill levels.

At TopGolf, the fairway is made up of close, mid and long-range target greens.  The target greens are holes in the ground that, much like a dart board, are divided into sub-targets that make up different scoring zones.  Players earn points by hitting balls in the target green with higher points for getting closer to the pin. TopGolf offers different games which have varied scoring based on target and style of game.

TopGolf Allen chooses Powered by Impinj RFID

The TopGolf experience is based on RFID technology. Golf balls from Callaway Golf contain an RFID tag designed and tested to withstand the rigors of the TopGolf game and a minimum of 600 hits.

In the target greens, each sub-target contains an RFID reader antenna powered by an Impinj reader. The readers each control up to 16 antennas at a time with 8-port Speedway Antenna Hubs which act as multiplexers (MUX).

Succeeding with Impinj Speedway Antenna Hubs

TopGolf had previously used a different MUX in their solution but began using the Speedway Antenna Hub when it became available in April 2012.

Chris Wagner of TopGolf’s Research, Development & Technology Division shared some of the improvements and benefits the Speedway Antenna Hub provides:

  • Simplified on-reader custom application. We no longer have to manipulate the GPIO ports directly. The reader handles antenna polling automatically.
  • Simplified troubleshooting. We can use Impinj’s MultiReader software to poll antennas rather than having to create a custom application to poll antennas. And the data is presented much cleaner.
  • Much cleaner installation. The Antenna Hub circuit boards are enclosed. They are powered by the reader, and don’t require a separate power supply. We can use a readily available patch cable to connect to the antenna hub, as opposed to custom made cables, with unreliable connectors.
  • Easier troubleshooting. LED’s on each Antenna Hub indicate properly functioning antennas.
  • Better performance. In order to achieve the same performance (in terms of the antenna polling cycle time) with our old system, we would have needed additional MUXes.

TopGolf is very pleased with the results and is installing Speedway Antenna Hubs site-wide at their newest location in Houston, Texas.

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