Sky Sports' Masters Studio: The Zen Green Stage

Find out more about the high-tech Zen Green Stage putting and playing surface that the Sky Sports' studio team is using at this year's Masters

Find out more about the high-tech Zen Green Stage putting and playing surface that the Sky Sports' studio team is using at this year's Masters

Sky Sports' Masters Studio: The Zen Green Stage

Sky Sports is constantly innovating in its golf coverage. One of the tools the studio team is using for analysis and demonstration purposes at this year’s Masters is the Zen Green Stage.

Zen Green Stage, designed and built in Sheffield, is the world’s first “fully-adjustable connected playing surface for golf”.

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The high tech playing surface is wirelessly controlled and digitally adjustable. It can accurately replicate every putt within the ‘scoring zone’, including those testing double-breakers. There are plenty of those on Augusta’s fabled greens!.

The Sky studio team is using the Zen Green Stage to demonstrate Augusta's sloping greens and lies

Those watching the coverage will already have seen the Sky Sports studio version in action. Nick Dougherty and Paul McGinley were discussing and demonstrating the severe challenge that Augusta National’s ultra-slick and sloping surfaces will pose, even in a November Masters.

Sky’s Zen Green Stage has been embedded into the studio floor to create an excellent hitting and putting surface. The 2021 version features an interactive control system so programme directors can operate it remotely.

Not just for putts

It also comes with a variety of interchangeable Strike Mats. This means Sky’s presenting team will also be able to demonstrate a variety of full-swing shots in different course conditions.

Dougherty was clearly a tad disappointed to see McGinley hole a testing 12-footer with about three feet of break at the first time of asking!

The pair were highlighting just how much break even relatively short putts need when heavily sloping greens are running at Augusta pace.

Tiger mastering the slopes on Augusta's 9th green last year - one of the toughest on the course (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

“The Zen Green Stage is a great way of demonstrating the putting challenges which face professional golfers,” said Jason Wessely, executive producer at Sky Sports Golf.

“Our presenters can really show how speed and slope affect putting. It’s a brilliant TV tool.”

Those watching the early coverage may have noticed a graphic representation of the break on McGinley’s putt. This comes courtesy of “customised Zen Eye augmented-reality graphics!”

McGinley’s putt pretty much never left that line on its journey from putter to hole

If you fancy a Zen Green stage of your own, take a deep breath… the starting price is a mere £20,950!

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Jeremy Ellwood
Jeremy Ellwood

Jeremy Ellwood has worked in the golf industry since 1993 and for Golf Monthly since 2002 when he started out as equipment editor. He is now a freelance journalist writing mainly for Golf Monthly across the whole spectrum from courses and Rules to equipment and even instruction despite his own somewhat iffy swing (he knows how to do it, but just can't do it himself). He also edits The Golf Club Secretary Newsletter, has authored or co-authored three books and written for a number of national papers including The Telegraph and The Independent. He is a senior panelist for Golf Monthly's Top 100 UK & Ireland Course Rankings and has played all of the Top 100 plus 89 of the Next 100. He has played well over 900 courses worldwide in 35 countries, but put him on a links course anywhere and he will be blissfully content. On his first trip to Abu Dhabi a decade ago he foolishly asked Paul Casey what sort of a record he had around the course there. "Well, I've won it twice if that's what you mean!" came the reply...