Cisco brings fan-facing Wi-Fi to Pebble Beach for U.S. Open

This year’s U.S. Open featured a fan-facing Wi-Fi network at Pebble Beach. Credit: Keith Newman, MSR

Fans at the recent U.S. Open golf championship at Pebble Beach were treated to an on-course Wi-Fi network from Cisco, as part of a sponsorship partnership between Cisco and the U.S. Golf Association.

As the official technology partner for the USGA and its championships, Cisco said it set out with the goal to make this year’s 119th U.S. Open the “most connected” in the event’s history, mainly through the deployment of about 400 Meraki Wi-Fi APs throughout the famed seaside course.

According to the USGA, the network saw 25 total terabytes of data used during the championship, but the USGA did not break out daily totals. The USGA also said it saw more than 100,000 connections to the network, but did not specify if that number represents unique connections or contains multiple connections from the same devices. In addition, our special correspondent Keith Newman did spend tournament Saturday at the course, and found the network to provide good connectivity in many places around the grounds. In addition to putting APs on obvious placement spots like the edges of seating areas and on top of hospitality and other temporary structures, Cisco also had some mobile AP placements on towers in strategic locations.

According to Cisco, it brought in gear to create a 10 Gbps backbone for the Wi-Fi network, also including support for tournament back of house operations on that backbone. Static signage at the event directed fans to the Wi-Fi network, and since Cisco also sponsored this year’s U.S. Open mobile app, users of that were also alerted to the free Wi-Fi on the property.

Cisco Vision on the driving range

On the display side of things, Cisco also utilized its Cisco Vision IPTV display management system to help bring more interesting information to fans at the venue. Especially interesting was the incorporation of the Toptracer shot-tracking graphics to show live player performances on the driving range, with the ability to map multiple players and provide a range of stats on shot distance and speed.

The tournament, especially Sunday’s thrilling victory by Gary Woodland over the close-finishing Brooks Koepka, no doubt presented many networking challenges, especially when fans randomly thronged to tee-box areas to try to get a photo or a video of players teeing off.

“Our digital integration with Cisco provided us the opportunity to elevate the fan experience and provide more connectivity than any previous U.S. Open,” said Navin Singh, chief commercial officer of the USGA, ina prepared statement. “We also learned a lot and recognize that mobile consumption demands are only going to continue to grow. We are excited to get to work on providing an even better experience in 2020 at the 120th U.S. Open at Winged Foot.”

More photos from Pebble Beach below.

An on-course mobile AP placement. Credit: Cisco

Digital device use soared at the U.S. Open whenever Tiger Woods was around. Credit: Paul Kapustka, MSR (Screen shot of Fox TV broadcast)

A leaderboard provided space for an AP placement. Credit: Cisco

Toptracer shot-tracking graphics at the driving range, powered by Cisco Vision. Credit: Cisco

Fans clustered around tee boxes, putting extra stress on the network. Credit: Keith Newman, MSR

AT&T: Golf fans used 3.286 terabytes of traffic at Pebble Beach tourney

AT&T social media sign at the tourney, 2013. Credit: @James_Raia.

AT&T social media sign at the tourney, 2013. Credit: @James_Raia.

It’s not really a stadium, but fans at the Pebble Beach golfing kingdom used 3.286 terabytes of data on AT&T’s cellular and Wi-Fi networks during the recent Pebble Beach AT&T Pro-Am PGA tour stop, according to AT&T.

With two cell trucks on wheels (aka COWs) to supplement the Monterey Peninsula cell sites, as well as the Wi-Fi network in and around the golf course, AT&T said it saw an 104 percent increase in wireless data use from the previous year’s tournament. With clear skies all weekend and Bill Murray back in the entertainment-participant category, it’s perhaps no surprise that more selfies, videos and other messages were sent forth. But it’s still amazing to us that the wireless numbers from each big event just seem to keep growing. Is there no top in sight?

At the Pebble Beach tourney (which included play at several different courses over the Feb. 12 to Feb. 15 weekend) AT&T said it saw 2.296 TB of traffic on its cellular networks, and another 990 GB on the Wi-Fi networks it deployed. And all that without any public complaints about camera-phone clicks! Now if we could just convince the Masters to allow cell phones on the course…

Cool New Web App for Getting PGA Scores: Live Interactive Course Map

PGA scoring map appThere’s a cool new way to get live scores from PGA Tournament events, which uses live data superimposed on a Google map to give you a graphic way to see who is playing on which hole, and what their current score is.

Built by a company called Earthvisionz from my old stomping grounds of Boulder, Colo., the app is already live on the web — go take a look at to see how it works, since you will be able to figure it out faster than I can tell you about it. Basically, it’s a Google map of the course with live data that shows who is playing the hole, how far they’ve hit their shots, how far to the hole, etc. From what we can tell, it’s the PGA’s Shot Link info but put into a form that’s cooler to use than looking up and down a graphical list.

The only quibble I have right now is that you have to click on the bubble twice to get the full shot info like distance and score. (See screenshot below) But according to the press release from Earthvisionz the app is designed to do a lot more, including being able to see where you are on a course, and where important “amenities” like bathrooms and beer tents are located. (This would have been a great app to have at last year’s U.S. Open!) Since this looks like a web app it should be available to any device… let us know if you can’t see it on a particular device. Looks great from our desktop connection, I wonder how well it works on cellular. Anyone at the tourney this week, please let us know!

We will circle back next week with an interview with the Earthvisionz folks as time allows… but for now take a look and let us know what you think of the new app.

Screen shot 2013-02-07 at 11.48.24 AM

(Click on the image to the left to see what the app does when you click through the scoring bubbles)

Watching Golf this Week: Celebs and Pros at AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am

Screen shot 2012-02-08 at 11.27.48 AMMaybe it’s because this tournament is somewhat local, but for me the PGA golf season doesn’t really “start” until the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, which this year starts today. Even though it is a fully regulation tour event, it also still feels like spring training to me, especially since the presence of celebrities, namely actors, singers and other sports heroes, makes it almost more of a party than golf.

Almost! Last year was one of those years when the golf part came shining through, thanks to the Sunday head-to-head matchup between Phil and Tiger. It was great fun, though it won’t happen again this year since El Tigre is skipping Monterey this time around. Phil, fresh from his almost-59 last week in Phoenix, should be on form but picking a winner here is never easy given the three-course rotation for the first three days. And as I write this a very chilly rain has hit the Bay area (not sure if it’s wet down south in Monterey) so that weather can make it even more of a crapshoot. Still, with football finally over it’s time to start watching golf in earnest. And the scenery doesn’t get any better, so enjoy.


(all times Eastern)

Thursday, Feb. 7 — Golf Channel, 3 p.m. — 6 p.m.
Friday, Feb. 8 — Golf Channel, 3 p.m. — 6 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 9 — Golf Channel, 1 p.m. — 2:30 p.m.; CBS, 3 p.m. — 6 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 10 — Golf Channel, 1 p.m. — 2:30 p.m.; CBS, 3 p.m. — 6:30 p.m.


Thursday and Friday, Golf Channel coverage via and; Saturday and Sunday, CBS coverage at Right now only Comcast cable subscribers can watch live online video on weekdays.

SIRIUS XM (Satellite) Thursday-Friday-Saturday, and 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday. The live broadcasts are also available to subscribers on the SiriusXM Internet Radio App and online at

The tournament has its own Facebook page. Like it.


The AT&T Pro-Am Twitter feed.
Geoff Shackelford — well known golf writer. If you’re not following Geoff you are missing the online boat.
Golf Channel — official Golf Channel feed
@PGATOUR — official PGA Twitter feed
@StephanieWei — great golf writer who is a Twitter fiend.
Doug Ferguson is the lead golf writer for AP. Good Twitter insights that often aren’t part of your wire-service lead.

If you haven’t seen Pebble Beach before… welcome to our planet, new overlords. Here is a link to more info on the three courses used — Pebble, Spyglass and Monterey Peninsula.

Phil! Or did you forget his face to face smackdown of Tiger?

AT&T Brings Wi-Fi to Pebble Beach Golf Tourney

Since they are the title sponsor it’s perhaps no surprise that AT&T is making Wi-Fi available to spectators (patrons?) at this weekend’s PGA Tour stop on the Monterey Peninsula, the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. What’s interesting is that while smartphones and tablets are becoming an integral part of what fans bring to other sporting events, for golf encouraging mobile-device use is a longtime taboo, given the possibility of a cellphone ring interrupting a player’s backswing.

According to the AT&T press release the company has a variety of mobile-device plans for tournament attendees, including free Wi-Fi in select areas around the courses for AT&T customers, as well as a text-message contest and a “digital clubhouse” on the Pebble Beach course where fans can watch the action while taking in some AT&T demos in between the action.

The press release also says there will be a policy to make folks put their devices on silent or vibrate mode, but anyone who’s been on a plane or at a conference knows how well that works. At the AT&T where alcohol will be sold and there will be “hospitality” tents you can bet that the attention span will be even lower. We won’t be able to make it down to Monterey this weekend, but would love to hear any field reports about how well the “use your cell phone for data but keep it quiet” plan works. Especially around El Tigre, who is known to take umbrage at such offenses.