Customer Stories / Media & Entertainment / United States


Delivering Near-Real-Time Experiences for Golf Fans in the PGA TOUR App Using AWS AppSync

Learn how the PGA TOUR in the sports entertainment industry optimized the performance of its mobile app and website using AWS AppSync. 

Less than 12

months to redesign its technology stack on AWS


to refresh scoring data on the mobile app and website


to complete feature deployment, which earlier used to take 2 weeks


Golf fans want near-real-time leaderboards, faster access to tournament updates and betting odds, access to player information, and better app experiences. The PGA TOUR sought to update its mobile and web application to deliver the performance and speed that golf fans expect. Its previously developed infrastructure was deployed across three code bases and had not been modernized in years. As a result, the PGA TOUR’s team of developers had to write multiple sets of code per update, causing feature turnaround to take at least 2 weeks. 

To deliver faster access to golf data and better-performing apps for fans, the PGA TOUR chose to redesign its architecture on Amazon Web Services (AWS). It also wanted to increase agility to accelerate the time to deployment for new features and bug fixes. Through its efforts, the company created a serverless architecture using AWS AppSync, which creates serverless GraphQL and Pub/Sub APIs that simplify application development—delivering fast access to data in the mobile app and at PGATOUR.COM. Its team of developers can deploy code simultaneously across its digital platforms in near real time without affecting the user experience. The PGA TOUR has improved performance with a modernized, serverless architecture on AWS.

PGA TOUR app and website

Opportunity | Achieving Increased Agility with Serverless Architecture on AWS

Formed in 1968, the PGA TOUR is the world’s premier organization for touring professional golfers. The PGA TOUR co-sanctions several domestic and international tournaments, and golf fans can use its mobile app and website to access leaderboards, shot-by-shot updates, video highlights, golf news, statistics, and 3D shot tracking. However, the company wanted to improve the performance of these applications so that it could deliver engaging, near-real-time experiences to golf fans everywhere. 

After evaluating different options, the PGA TOUR chose to overhaul its stack on AWS with a serverless-first approach. The team identified AWS AppSync as a valuable solution due to its Pub/Sub APIs and ability to publish near-real-time data updates to golf fans and subscribed API clients through serverless WebSocket connections. The company also chose AWS AppSync because of its ability to retrieve data from multiple sources and its compatibility with other AWS services. To deploy a serverless architecture, the PGA TOUR adopted AWS Cloud Development Kit (AWS CDK), which gives its development teams the ability to define cloud application resources using familiar programming languages, freeing them from backend development. 

“The fact that AWS offers so many services means that it’s simpler for us to work inside of a single-vendor stack,” says David Provan, principal digital IT architect at the PGA TOUR. “We can focus on building features that are cool to our fans without having to worry about our machines.”


Using AWS AppSync, we can deliver mission-critical, near-real-time updates to golf fans worldwide, and using AWS serverless technologies, we can focus on solving business problems.”

Eric Hanson
Vice President of Product Development, The PGA TOUR

Solution | Delivering Near-Real-Time Engaging Experiences Using AWS AppSync

The PGA TOUR rearchitected its website and application on serverless solutions, such as AWS Fargate, a serverless, pay-as-you-go compute engine, and Amazon DynamoDB, a fully managed, serverless, key-value NoSQL database designed to run high-performance applications at any scale. To deliver a seamless user experience across its website and mobile app, the PGA TOUR also uses AWS Lambda, a serverless, event-driven compute service. Using AWS Lambda in tandem with AWS Step Functions, a service that provides visual workflows for distributed applications, the PGA TOUR can automatically update the data on its website and mobile app when changes are made to its data tables in Amazon DynamoDB. Now, the PGA TOUR can refresh scoring data across its digital platforms in under 400 ms and five times faster than on its previous architecture. “We are definitely delivering data to fans faster than we ever have before,” says Provan. 

The company also set up a Pub/Sub model to increase the resiliency and scalability of its infrastructure. These efforts included decoupling applications that send messages from those that receive messages and implementing AWS AppSync as a key service to facilitate near-real-time content distribution to fans at scale. Now, its development teams write only one set of code to make simultaneous changes to the user interface, reducing time to deployment from weeks to minutes. “Using AWS AppSync, we can deliver mission-critical, near-real-time updates to golf fans worldwide, and using AWS serverless technologies, we can focus on solving business problems,” says Eric Hanson, vice president of product development at the PGA TOUR. 

Prior to redesigning its stack, the PGA TOUR ran applications on a monolithic architecture, which created administrative complexity when deploying new code. When developers wanted to release updates or features, they had to write three different sets of code—one for iOS devices, one for Android devices, and another for the web. “This approach was not sustainable for the speed at which our business moves,” says Hanson. “It could be a day’s worth of work for us to change something as simple as the text label on a player’s profile page.” So the PGA TOUR configured different standardized templates for deploying code using AWS CDK. Now, developers have more flexibility, and the company can maintain governance over its cloud resources. Its development teams also use AWS CDK to deploy AWS AppSync across multiple AWS Regions so that the company can route traffic when deploying new updates without impacting the user experience. 

The PGA TOUR redesigned its technology stack in under 12 months. Using serverless solutions, its development teams relaunched the company’s website in 10 months and its mobile application in 5 months. After relaunching the mobile app, its development teams quickly identified and fixed a bug in its code in under 45 minutes. Using AWS CDK, the teams were able to apply a precise solution that targeted only the affected components instead of having to conduct a full-stack deployment. “It was the first day of tournament play,” says Provan. “We made three changes in the middle of this event, and our fans were completely unaware.”

Outcome | Continuously Improving the Golf Fan Experience on AWS

Using AWS AppSync, the PGA TOUR can now focus on delighting millions of golf fans with an engaging, near-real-time experience for leaderboard updates, play-by-play updates, and 3D shot tracking in its web and mobile app. The company is working toward personalizing the user experience further, which will include rolling out features that provide more data and suggestions based on a fan’s golf preferences. The PGA TOUR also plans to help improve the on-course tournament experience with virtual shot tracking in augmented reality and turn-by-turn directions in the course map. Provan says, “We can do more by taking a serverless-first approach.”

About The PGA TOUR

The PGA TOUR mobile app and PGATOUR.COM are digital products of the PGA TOUR, one of the world’s premier membership organizations for touring professional golfers.

AWS Services Used

AWS AppSync

AWS AppSync creates serverless GraphQL and Pub/Sub APIs that simplify application development through a single endpoint to securely query, update, or publish data

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AWS Cloud Development Kit (AWS CDK) accelerates cloud development using common programming languages to model your applications.

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AWS Lambda

AWS Lambda is a serverless, event-driven compute service that lets you run code for virtually any type of application or backend service without provisioning or managing servers.

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Amazon DynamoDB

Amazon DynamoDB is a fully managed, serverless, key-value NoSQL database designed to run high-performance applications at any scale.

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