Let's talk some virtual golf

Shaggy April 10, 2010 6

Sega's Go Go Golf


When Kevin (Stinger Report) sent me this particular link, I wasn’t really sure how to best approach but as it’s a pretty slow news day, I figured I’d take a crack at it anyways. That and the Masters is taking place and there is plenty of talk revolving around that mostly due to Tiger Woods’ involvement so let’s talk some golf.

Or more specifically golf simulators, which have been covered on this site to some degree before. This recent article which popped up on G4TV talks about some high-end golf simulators and how they have developed over time but it seems to miss the point – while there certainly are some individuals who could be prone to picking up something like this for themselves, golf simulators like the one discussed in the article have plenty of application in out-of-home entertainment venues. One such venue which is known to feature golf simulation is Dave And Busters; I have heard of some other FEC’s which also feature either a golf or some other sports simulator; as pictured above, Sega produced Go Go Golf for entertainment venues a while back; there also is a company called Visual Sports which has a simulator setup which has a version of their equipment which is specifically tailored to coin-op, Visual Sports. These also can be great for stores which sell golf equipment, as the simulator lets the customer try out the equipment in a virtual environment before they buy. And of course if you want to downsize from there we have system’s like Golden Tee, Power Putt, Putt: Championship Golf and X-Putt which do allow people to experience a virtual golf experience without plunking down thousands of dollars to do so.

The writer states:”more specialized golf simulators and games have been been developing almost in a separate universe from mass-appeal video games since at least the 1980s”. Which is true but why would they develop in a separate “universe” from mainstream games? Because certain media outlets choose to ignore them because they can’t be bought at a local retailer. I can understand the lack of appeal in covering simulators on a daily basis but there are plenty of perfectly good golf games which are routinely ignored in the same manner as their larger simulator cousins, simply because they are coin-op. Just because you can’t find these games on the Wii doesn’t change the fact that they are big business (especially Golden Tee) and have contributed to gaming in their own way.

You can see an example of what I am talking about this in the article as they link to a video called “X-Play’s Top Five Golf Games.” They pick five golf games and talk about how influential they are, all while acting like Golden Tee doesn’t exist. And whether you like GT or not, you cannot ignore the fact that it literally has millions of fans who have been playing it for 21 years. GT is consistently one of the top-selling coin-op games out there, making far more money for the company who produced it (Incredible Technologies) and subsequent locations who host the game than any of their top five picks could ever hope to make for their respective publishers. But to wrap it up, no one can make the point more forceful than IT themselves, who has already taken on that segment of gamers who ignore/mock/misunderstand the influence of GT in the past.

Aside from that what are your own thoughts on virtual golf simulators?


  1. RJAY63 April 11, 2010 at 6:07 am - Reply

    I think the big golf simulators are well suited to corporate customers, ie professional workers who have an interest in the sport. Maybe one of those ‘event’ hire companies do such a thing

    I can’t say I’ve ever seen Golden Tee in a standard arcade. Maybe that’s due to it being (very successfully) marketed at the bar/pub audience. In fact the only golf game I’ve seen recently anywhere is X-Putt in a seaside location. Prior to that, Sega’s Virtua Golf at a test site. Personally I’m only interested in (real) minature golf and wouldn’t seek to play any golfing title whether it’s a home or an arcade game. Having said that, I am impressed with the tournament/social networking features of GT (involving Youtube) so hopefully this will find its way to other titles.

    • Shaggy April 11, 2010 at 2:10 pm - Reply

      The first arcade I worked at used to have a Golden Tee ’98. It never was a huge earner but it was a solid one. They don’t have it anymore however. I also have had a couple of people ask about a Golden Tee since I opened my place but I’ve never been sure if overall people would be interested in it. At the very least it’s one of the most inexpensive new coin-op games to buy.

  2. arcade4ever April 11, 2010 at 10:36 am - Reply

    the centreparcs in the lake distrike in the UK had a golf simulator that was quite simular to this one and that was 6 years ago I saw it except it was enclosed and dark so you could see the projected screen more probably.

  3. Bowlplex April 12, 2010 at 12:27 pm - Reply

    We tried Visual SPorts and unfortunately it was a disaster due to reliability, or lack of

    Also these big simulators really need to be in a supervised environment.

    Golden Tee is still ticking over for us, but not an essential arcade purchase I’m afraid.

    • Shaggy April 12, 2010 at 10:21 pm - Reply

      I’m glad you bring those points up. Reliability will kill any game out there and it shouldn’t be an issue with simulators considering how much those normall go for.

      I understand how GT isn’t much of an arcade purchase as it’s a bar game first but I think depending upon the location it can matter.

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