There’s a stillness in the air, punctuated by silence. All attention is trained on a singular figure in the foreground. There’s a subtle flash of metal. A white ball creeps slowly across the manicured green — and drops into the hole. This is golf, one of the most challenging sports in the world.
Golf is a historic and prestigious pastime that has carved out a cultural niche as a sport that can be enjoyed as a fan or recreational player at any age. The PGA TOUR is taking advantage of the surge in popularity it’s seen in the last couple of years by overhauling digital platforms to give fans what they want.
This is where Work & Co comes in, a global agency that transforms companies into digital leaders — by helping them bring digital products and experiences to market. Collaborating with the PGA TOUR, the companies set out to develop digital platforms that would deliver a wide range of easily consumed content to fans and expand its reach globally.
“Interest in golf and its players has grown both within the U.S. and internationally, and the PGA TOUR was looking to capture that new audience by improving its digital space with new innovative products and features,” said Bethany Pensworth, Work & Co’s group director of product management.
Revamping the core digital experience of such an iconic sport and organization is a tall task, but one that is necessary for engaging fans. “The TOUR’s existing technical infrastructure was not positioned to support reinvention,” she added.
“The PGA TOUR was looking to capture a new audience by improving its digital space with new innovative products and features.”
Working with a high-profile client like PGA TOUR isn’t new for Pensworth; she’d previously collaborated with industry giants such as Apple and IKEA. But by staying true to Work & Co’s formula for success, she’s yielded consistent wins through many projects.
“Our way of working is unique and requires deep collaboration with our client partners,” she explained. “We’ve learned that open communication with our clients is the key to producing great work and results.”
The end product is a digital platform tailored to fans and their interests, supplemented with the TOUR’s existing assets. With two native mobile apps and a revamped website of intuitive data and visuals, Pensworth collaborated with the TOUR to “bring fans closer to the players, tournaments and courses,” setting a digital foundation for the league’s growth.
To get a closer look at what that process entails, Built In sat down with Pensworth to hear how she and her team helped the PGA TOUR develop new online platforms.
The Deceptive Complexity of Golf
Despite its tranquil appearance, mastering golf requires expert control, stunning precision, and years of training. The same goes for translating this display of skill to a digital platform. “Compared to other sports, golf is particularly complex as, in some cases, the scores of 156 players need to be monitored and reported at once,” said Pensworth. Add in the need for real-time information, and the task becomes that much more demanding.
What obstacles did you encounter along the way, and how did you successfully overcome them?
Rebuilding PGA TOUR digital platforms from the ground up was a massive undertaking that required coordination and collaboration between PGA TOUR leadership and various business units, vendors, players and partners.
Our goal was to create a transparent process from initial vision through development, with clear milestones at every step. This strong organizational foundation allowed teams to adapt when unforeseen blockers arose, especially during development.
Monthly milestones were key to keeping all teams aligned. These milestones also provided moments of celebration throughout our engagement. We used these times to capture feedback from stakeholders, players, and fans throughout development. Positive reception validated the direction and eased the anxiety around launching.
What teams did you collaborate with in order to get this across the finish line?
Our team comprised product managers, designers, developers, and quality assurance analysts who worked closely through all phases. Our clients at the TOUR and its partners were also part of this daily collaboration. We all operated as a single team. We held joint daily meetings, shared Slack channels, co-created sprint goals, and worked in the same Jira.
How does Work & Co compare to other companies when it comes to how you build and launch new products?
Our process is highly iterative and dependent on meaningful, active collaboration. Unlike traditional agencies, we view ourselves and our clients as one team. We are experts in product design and engineering. Our clients are experts at understanding their users and businesses.
“Unlike traditional agencies, we view ourselves and our clients as one team.”
We set a foundation early with the PGA TOUR by aligning on shared goals, and from the first concept review, stakeholders are directly involved in developing the product in a tangible way. Since launch, the reaction has been overwhelmingly positive, with fans using the new platforms millions of times in just a few months.