Imagine a personalized technology that tracks every shot of your golf game, including hitting distance, wind speed, slope, temperature, humidity, altitude and more, and shares insights about how you can improve your performance. 

For Michael Hutchinson, a 2016 graduate of Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies, that kind of technology is his passion. He works as a senior director of data science at Arccos, golf’s No. 1 on-course tracking system that uses artificial intelligence to help players improve their game. He recently shared his insights about the future of golf analytics on the iSchool’s “Infoversity” podcast.

“Golf was hindered by a lack of analytics,” he said. “Now you can get similar statistics as anybody that’s at the elite top level of the game.”

Arccos is the official game tracker of the PGA TOUR and has transformed the golfing experience by combining automatic shot tracking with Artificial Intelligence and Stroke Gained Analytics. The shot-tracking technology works by allowing golfers to screw sensors into the back of their clubs and pair them with their phone. 

Golfers who want to improve their game will have even more opportunities in the future, thanks to advancements in technology and artificial intelligence, according to Hutchinson. He has seen his own game improve using the technology. He went from a 10 handicap to 1 in less than two years. 

“I tend to hit a lot of approach shots short. Being confronted with that data helped improve my game,” he said. “A few adjustments here and there, and most golfers have a lot of low hanging fruit in their game. Arccos helps highlight that and come up with an action plan.”

Hutchinson feels grateful to have a job that combines his love for golf and data. As an analytical person, he always wants more data about his golf game, but he understands that not all users want the in-depth details like he does. 

Hear Michael talk about Arccos and their utilization of AI to monitor your golf performance

“We collect a ton of data throughout your round. If we just presented that to the user, that’s not going to be very helpful,” he said. “I want more data, but a lot of people don’t want that. They want information provided in a couple bullet points.”

Some people are more visual learners and like seeing their statistics in a chart form while others prefer to hear verbal feedback. That’s where generative AI could come in handy as the technology progresses. 

“I think that AI is obviously going to continue to move in ways that we’re maybe not predicting or is going to surprise us,” Hutchinson said. “But I think the one thing that we can be sure of is that it’s going to feel more and more personal and it’s going to be tuned more to who you are and your uniqueness.”

Although he can’t discuss all the technology he’s working on – he has to protect the company’s trade secrets – Hutchinson said he is excited about the future of his industry. 

“There are so many things on the horizon that I wish I could get into, but I will say one of the things that is an ongoing challenge is data capture and data quality. How do we make that as seamless as possible?” he said. 

That’s the part of the work that excites him, the unfolding technological advances in a game that he loves. 

“At Arccos, I’m able to bridge this passion I have, along with the professional areas I’m most interested in. It’s just kind of a perfect fit. I feel like I’m exactly where I should be right now,” Hutchinson said. “My passion has grown because there’s so much unexplored there. I feel very lucky and fortunate.”