Lou Manz PGA IT director

Lou Manz, IT director of the Professional Golfers' Association of America (PGA), is helping change golf's stuffy image with technology, and he is embracing mobile devices to support the game and his organisation's members.

"We're run for our members so my primary responsibility is to support the strategy of the organisation," Manz said.

"As a members' organisation of 27,000 professionals I have to provide benefits to those members and advance the brand of golf, and provide technology that improves the spectator experience."

Manz says the organisation was one of the first to allow spectators to bring mobiles on to courses during tournaments, while in association with Turner Sports they have also released their own iPhone app which will eventually be available on Android, as well as a lifestyle social app.

The organisation is trying to find ways of promoting golf through a data strategy. "We've been able to track how many rounds are being played and the number of golfers in the US. We've noticed the number of core golfers and rounds played has decreased and we need to find ways to address these issues," said Manz.

Manz is particularly proud of some of the technology innovation he has overseen at the PGA. A new volunteer management system has been introduced, which he says has helped remove the administrative burden of organising volunteer coverage at each competition.

One recent project Manz led was the introduction of new handheld scoring devices for his volunteers to use at signature tournaments. Previously the PGA had rented data collection and ticketing devices for its network of nearly 4,000 volunteers.

"For the PGA it’s absolutely crucial that all of our data is as accurate as possible because it is being fed in real-time to the media, including television, radio and internet," he said.

Manz said that the main driver for the new devices was cost. The PGA needed a robust design with extended battery life, and he believes the new Intermec mobile computers will save the organisation $3 million by 2016.

"It was the most intuitive choice for our team of volunteers to use seamlessly with very little training," he added.