I’m not a “gamer” by any stretch, but I’ve played my share of virtual golf games — arcade, online, and on home consoles.
My one complaint about all of them: they’re usually too much “game” and not enough “golf.”
That is, I’ve never found one that does a great job simulating real golf…until now.
The developers of World Golf Tour have figured it out, and with more than six million players, they’ve quickly become the No. 1 online golf game in the world.
The main reason is their incredible reproduction of famous, “bucket-list” golf courses and their ability to simulate the physics of real golf.
Another reason is, it’s easy — and free — to play. There’s nothing to download or install.
You simply register for free and in seconds you’re teeing off at courses including the Old Course at St. Andrews, Oakmont, the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island, Bethpage Black, and the Olympic Club.
I know what you’re thinking, but let me assure you: this is not the arcade feel of Golden Tee or even the Tiger Woods game on your kid’s Xbox or PS3.
WGT is the closest thing to real golf I have ever played.
And it’s not by accident — WGT’s approach is different from (and arguably superior to) everyone else’s.
Their team actually visits and photographs these famous golf courses over several weeks, taking literally millions of HD shots from the ground and air.
Then they use GPS technology to painstakingly re-create every break, bump, hillock, and hollow.
I don’t even want to know what goes into recreating the physics of golf itself — how the ball reacts to variations in the swing, clubs, weather, and course conditions — but the result is astonishing realism.
It’s so “real,” in fact, that some top players have used WGT to familairze themselves with courses before competing on them.
Frankly, it’s the next best thing to being there (but a lot less expensive).
So, the next time you’re looking out your window at rain or snow or you just want to play a few holes during lunch, head over to WGT and get your golf fix.
I’m guessing you’ll be addicted, er, impressed, too, and you might just end up qualifying in their next Virtual US Open at Merion this Spring.
(There are also lots of other tournaments, matches, and skins games you can play to win credits and prizes.)
One word on your virtual equipment: the basic set of clubs and balls WGT provides at no charge is fine, but like me, you’ll probably be tempted to visit the pro shop and outfit yourself with better-performing gear from TaylorMade, Callaway, Nike and others.
To that end, I was able to negotiate a nice perk for you:
After you register to play for free, use promo code: GVI in the pro shop (through December 31) and you’ll get a free sleeve of Callaway virtual golf balls which will give you an edge.
I’ll be sure to remind you of this if we’re ever paired up in a match and I need a three-footer for par.