The World Golf Tour (WGT), a free online golf game that recreates famous golf courses in virtual reality, recently added two new world-class courses to its burgeoning portfolio, and made an avatar of the popular TaylorMade R11 driver available in its virtual pro shop. As it prepares to host a virtual U.S. Open and Open Championship this coming summer, the site has in less than three years seen more than 100 million rounds played.
With Bethpage Black, the Old Course at St. Andrews and several other venues already available for any-time play, the WGT just put up the Harbour Town Golf Links, which hosts the PGA TOUR’s The Heritage. Through photographs and measurements that are eerily accurate, the computer animation recreates the Pete Dye and Jack Nicklaus design. Also new is the Hilversumsche Golf Club, one of Europe’s top 100 courses and host of the European Tour’s KLM Open.
The WGT offers numerous monthly and ongoing competitions, including closest to the pin contents on various courses, and straight up 18-hole events. But what’s quickly turned into a highlight of its year are virtual versions of the U.S. Open and the Open Championship in Britain. While the details of this summer’s competition aren’t yet final, things will likely be similar to last year, with an initial qualifying round that lasted for about a month. The top 156 qualifiers plus ties then played a 36-hole championship, with the winner getting a trip to the real-life Open. Qualifiers also got a chance to compete for a grand prize, a trip for two to Scotland and a round on the Old Course.
Since launching in October 2008, WGT.com has become one of the largest golf sites in the world. It boasts more than 1 million monthly unique visitors that are playing more than 5 million rounds per month. And that is something of which members of the real world golf course owners and operators association can only dream.