The PGA European Tour rolled out Wi-Fi at a prestigious UK golf course earlier this year to provide spectators with on demand video, digital content and access to social media.

The operator of the leading professional men’s golf tour said it chose to deploy Xirrus Wireless Arrays for the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Golf Club in Surrey because it was more flexible than other solutions on the market, as those provided by the likes of Cisco, Juniper and HP.

The Wi-Fi was deployed in May and covered a 2,000-seat grandstand, the PGA Village and hospitality sections of the course, which is over 6.5km in length.

Graham Gifford, ICT Director at PGA European Tour, told Techworld that the PGA European Tour has several temporary structures that need to be assembled and dissembled on a weekly basis as the three tours it operates move between 32 different countries.

He said he chose Xirrus because it can deploy its network in just a few days, while other vendors were quoting up to six weeks.

Gifford added that several vendors have failed to deliver effective Wi-Fi to the PGA European Tour in the past, citing “dead zones” and poor application performance as the main problems. 

"With Xirrus we have complete coverage - the capability to handle huge capacity and bandwidth demands with no dropouts on video delivery," he said.

At peak times during the BMW Championship there were more than 3,500 devices connected to the network, which can deliver speeds of up to 15Mbps, and there was no drop in quality, according to Gifford.

The European Tour used the Xirrus Management System (XMS) alongside Xirrus Wireless Arrays to monitor and manage the network. The Tour claimed that the software provided valuable user data that was able to identify areas that experienced higher user density and track visitor movements.

Xirrus worked with network analysis solutions supplier AJP Solutions on the deployment. 

The next phase of the rollout will see the Wi-Fi network expanded across the rest of the 18-hole course.