Take a look at your clubs. You may not have touched them in days, or even months, as golf courses closed their gates to the public in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Spot the cobwebs in the corner, the thin layer of dust on an uncovered iron head. You miss the open fairway, and at this point, you could forgive the group in front for forgetting to fix their ball marks on the green.
If you’ve got that itch for live golf like the rest of us, technology is here to hopefully scratch it for you. The PGA Tour recently announced PGA Tour 2K21, set to be released on August 21. There’ll not only be a PGA Tour career mode featuring 15 PGA Tour courses, but a Course Designer feature and the ability to play multiple types of formats among its highlights.
But if you can’t wait for August . . . there’s always now. And, there’s free. That online option includes the World Golf Tour by Topgolf, an online golf game played on your phone, tablet, or computer. Players can try out 24 acclaimed courses from around the world, all from the comfort of their home. Always wanted to play Pinehurst No. 2? What about St. Andrews, or Pebble Beach? Players can try their luck there, as well as Oakmont and Bethpage Black, just to name a few.
This simulated game recreates all aspects of the game, from upgraded virtual golf clubs to reading fairways, bunkers, and greens, and it’s something even LPGA Tour players are getting behind.
This past week, the LPGA Tour announced the launch of the LPGA eTour Live on WGT. A series of matches between LPGA Tour and Symetra players will culminate in early June with a championship match where the winner will receive a personal laptop from Acer.
Jessica and Nelly Korda, who already tested their skills on the platform, battled it out on Congressional Country Club’s Blue Course, site of the 2022 and 2027 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. Tiffany Joh, who played in an exhibition match against Jane Park back in April, said the game took time to get a handle on.
“I played other courses on the platform that I’d played in person, and it was pretty impressive how on point a lot of the graphics were,” said Joh, who faces Jenny Shin next in the LPGA eTour series.
She says now that she can surf again in her hometown, her online skills have gotten a bit rusty, but even went out in the virtual world to take on a stranger.
“It’s been pretty cool to connect with other golf fans through the game though,” said Joh. “I played a 3-hole match against a random other person and got absolutely demolished.”
If you can’t get to an open course during this time, WGT may be your answer. And who knows, you may get the chance to play a professional golfer.
Oh, technology . . .