Building the definitive modern fan experience platform
As golf's popularity expands, the world's largest and most vibrant professional golf association, PGA TOUR, is reinventing fandom.
Fans are engaging with the TOUR in more ways, through fantasy and betting options, and joining millions annually attending live tournaments. Digital engagement needed to match this upswell in interest and cultural relevance.
Work & Co partnered closely with the PGA TOUR to lead design, app development, and launch of its new digital platform.
Everything was overhauled, including the tech stack supporting the apps and website. We’ve relaunched the TOUR’s digital products to become the definitive next-generation fan experience platform, creating immediate increases in key TOUR app and web audience metrics.
What we did
- Discovery & user research (fans, PGA TOUR golfers, and stakeholders)
- Digital experience strategy
- Web and app concepting
- Technical architecture planning
- iOS, Android app design and development
- Product and brand design system, art direction
- Responsive web experience design, UI component library
- Data-driven optimization
- Launch support, PR
“This is not just a redesign. It’s a fresh start. Our goal is to bring fans closer to our players, tournaments, and the courses we play through with an immersive experience that is powered by rich visuals, deep data, and enhanced storytelling.”
PGA Tour Reboots Website as Golf Seeks Wider Fan Base Read More
“Casual fans asked. Diehard fans asked. Gamblers (extra-diehard fans) asked. Even PGA Tour players asked. And they listened.” Read More
“The PGA Tour is taking advantage of new technology within its revamped app and on-site activations.” Read More
“The start of the next iteration of the PGA Tour’s digital experience.” Read More
4 Big Takeaways
Defining a fan-first vision
How fans follow golf
After hundreds of interviews with fans, TOUR golfers, and business stakeholders it was clear: Fans wanted to interact with the sport at a depth very few golf products were able to offer. TOUR products needed to change to give fans the chance to connect with the key moments that matter.
Live, near-live, and catch-up contexts were all key states over the course of a tournament. Fans wanted as much additional data and contextual information to layer in as possible. Accessing all possible stats and data about a golfer and their performance was critical to enhancing the fan experience.
Outlining a vision and plan
Once we’d identified key fan and stakeholder insights, we developed a plan to reposition the TOUR as host of a central, connected fan platform. We had to bring fans directly into the competition, elevate their experience with the TOUR’s unique access, help connect them with the golfers and stories they cared about, and do it in a near-instantaneous fashion while prioritizing aesthetic presentation.
Our high-level roadmap started with rebuilding processes with PGA TOUR’s internal teams. Then the group moved on to the app, then the pgatour.com website, while defining new process for TOUR groups to be able to make quick decisions and work across teams to recruit the new talent they needed to support the new platform.
Haskell, a design system for golf
For the love of golf
To usher in a new era for digital products at the PGA TOUR we built Haskell, a cohesive modern identity system. Haskell brings process and alignment to multiple tours, organizations, and internal teams so together they can design, develop, and ultimately ship experiences that enrich the platform.
With all-new typefaces, color palette, art direction, and UI, Haskell is built to amplify TOUR heritage, hero its players, and glory frame the spellbinding vistas on which the sport is played.
Haskell establishes the TOUR’s digital brand through a key tension: the TOUR’s legacy, and excitement for an even broader future. Haskell’s library has proven itself as a more sustainable approach to a product platform. Componentized design, collaboration and evolution protocols, balanced processes, accessibility efforts, and more deliver strong cohesion around the design core. This collective consistency across teams reflects the TOUR’s brand, and communicates quality. Ultimately Haskell is a living kit of parts that influenced a greater shift in digital brand.
Haskell was greatly influenced by conversations with devoted fans, legendary players, and the TOUR’s own history. We pay homage to Coburn Haskell, a designer behind what became one of the very first modern golf balls. This remarkable innovation in golf history became the north star in our design system: an iconic look, an improved feel, a new way to experience the game.
Components, Styles, Accessibility
Haskell is built to work across a diverse and growing set of touchpoints. Our foundational design principles, components, and guidelines are a toolkit for addressing the different needs based on play type (stroke play or match play) and work across the PGA TOUR’s family of golf tours.
Key elements include
Establishing a color and system for each round, helping fans understand tournament status at-a-glance
Led by two typefaces, which allows the brand to flex between utility (statistics and quantitative elements) and brand voice (editorial and communication)
Defined to the smallest detail, durable across a wide degree of contexts to quickly communicate concepts and interactions. Icons improve platform design with direct simplicity
Flex to support the plethora of uses: stats, player profiles, live shot trails, betting, leaderboards, highlights, and stories across the platform.
Haskell helps the TOUR build better digital products by establishing a methodology for design, UX, and development, internally across multiple teams, and externally with its partners.
Family of Tours
The PGA TOUR operates a family of tours around the globe, five in total. Haskell’s flexible and extensible nature (and the platform’s breadth) help the PGA TOUR accommodate the courses, golfers, and situations unique to each of them. Fans can move freely between the tours across the app and on the web, and set their favorite as a default.
Dynamic data layers, new UI frameworks
Built for real-time leaderboard, stats, and more
A robust data layer underneath the PGA TOUR ecosystem powers the wide array of experiences fans can have with the platform. Built on a custom implementation of a unified API with scalable, cloud-based infrastructure, the myriad forms of Tour-tracked data are able to flexibly form and re-combine into UI elements on the frontend. This happens as dictated by the design system, rather than as a technical constraint.
Dynamic data visualization, powered by the real-time connectivity API, allows the platform to render complex queries with little latency. For example, to draw shot trajectories based on coordinates, on user devices, in close to real-time.
Server-driven UI drives scalability and simplifies maintenance
A server-driven frontend and custom middleware system give more control to product and content editors, allowing the PGA TOUR to respond in real time to developing tournament action, as well as fix issues without app releases. This reduces cross-dependencies on development resources and empowers editorial and marketing teams to act quickly and tell more nuanced stories.
Latest UI frameworks and custom architecture
With an app built from the ground-up with the latest iOS and Swift UI frameworks, we’re able to offer a set of frameworks that can work across PGA TOUR properties (PGA TOUR Champions, Korn Ferry Tour, PGA TOUR Canada, PGA TOUR Latinoamérica) despite different brand and color schemes. This ability to accommodate sub-brands with unique tournaments, players, and data occurs without additional development, and is a powerful testament to these frameworks.
Fundamentals built to last
The engineering strategy prompted outcomes beyond the two mobile applications we helped architect and launch. Our web efforts delivered a UI component library, a flexible and accessible system that powers the new experience. Work defining process shifted the PGA TOUR’s Product and PMO teams from bugs and maintenance to new features and feedback-driven iteration. The feature roadmaps for app and web are built around key moments in the PGA TOUR season, driving towards the exciting future of digital product growth in the organization.
Never miss a shot
One of the earliest and strongest insights we heard from fans and stakeholders alike was around the volume of data involved in following golf. Four rounds of play, 18 holes per round, dozens of golfers, thousands of shots, billions of data points from balls in flight. Even when golfers are aiming to make as few strokes as possible, that’s still an enormous amount of data captured from a single tournament weekend.
Signature moments in the new PGA TOUR platform revolve around keeping fans as close to the action as possible with lightning-quick updates. Where previously fans had to do the work, the new design is centered around golfers. Helping fans organize the torrent of golf data generated every weekend offers a sensible way to follow favorites, pick winners, or monitor a team of fantasy picks.
Every round in real-time
The most popular PGA TOUR feature, the Leaderboard, is back and better than ever—faster and with a clear presentation, making it the ideal multi-screen companion or standalone source for tournament updates.
With a persistent leaderboard on the web, fans can catch up on who is leading the tournament while keeping an eye on real-time score updates. Updated scorecards show more strokes, round-by-round stats, and highlights for each player.
Every hole is documented, with shot trails and groupings giving deeper insight into golfer performance. Lastly, better integration with the PGA TOUR’s betting partners makes data more up-front and actionable.
Across the course in 3D
Our research showed that fans interacting with the TOURCAST feature, which tracks the flight of every shot in 3D across a tournament, were much more deeply engaged in TOUR digital properties than a broader sampling. But, TOURCAST was a disjointed experience, separated from other key tracking and scorekeeping efforts, with its own accessibility hurdles.
We consolidated the TOURCAST experience inside the new platform in line with the Haskell design system. Now, fans can experience 3D shot tracking and get even closer to the action from multiple entry points, via a new facade, keying on course beauty and aesthetics.
Storytelling with stats and insights
The only group which keys on stats more closely than fans are the TOUR players themselves, who can’t get enough data. We introduced an all-new layer of player, course, and tournament stats, focused on deeper insights, better visualization, and a more comprehensive visualization of a golfer’s performance over time. There are more options to monitor golfers’ progress than ever before, updated in real-time, placed in the context of the course layouts to give a true view of performance over time.
During a tournament, the PGA TOUR experience extends to include course-specific details in a geofenced Event Guide. Fans can access tickets and instructions on event arrival, monitor tee times, and follow their favorite golfers. Beyond golf action, the Event Guide maps hospitality stations, including restaurants and shops on the course. The guide’s Concierge feature pushes location-based suggestions so visitors don’t miss out.
Get in touch
Interested in learning more about the PGA TOUR or any other projects? Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.