The Golden Tee at the bottom of the world

arcadehero October 22, 2010 3

Meagan Burger (in hat) of Kankakee IL, Liz Endicott of Missoula MT and Steven Hoehne of Torrington WY celebrate the repair of their favorite game. As custodial techs at McMurdo, the trio is responsible for keeping the base neat and tidy.

Here’s a palette cleanser to start the weekend of with – a story from Incredible Technologies about servicing a Golden Tee 2005 game found in one of the most unlikely of places for an arcade game –  Antarctica. Specifically, the game is found in the rec room of McMurdo Station, the largest scientific base found on the continent and a short while ago the game needed a repair. Being in such a remote location, that made it difficult as you can’t send a tech and replacement parts can take up to six months to arrive.  Click below for the story on the game, a little bit about McMurdo station and how IT had to face the challenge of helping them get the machine back up and running.

The Most Remote Golden Tee Game on the Planet

Unless one ends up on the moon one day, it will be difficult – if not impossible – to find a Golden Tee machine in a more inaccessible and isolated location than McMurdo Station in the Antarctic. McMurdo Station is a U.S. research center located approximately 300 miles from the South Pole on the southern tip of Ross Island on the shore of McMurdo Sound in Antartica. The station is the largest community in Antarctica and serves as the United States Antarctic science facility. In the summer McMurdo Station is home to roughly 1,300 residents, but during the winter only 500 or so live there. All personnel and cargo going to or coming from the South Pole goes through McMurdo Station.

It’s the gateway to the end of the world.

So you can imagine our shock here at IT when we received an email from the base explaining that their Golden Tee game was down and if we could help them.

Wait a minute! Their Golden Tee was down!!??!

Whoa! We know that Golden Tee is the most popular coin-operated video game on the planet, but we didn’t know its popularity extended all the way to the South Pole!

It turns out that McMurdo Station has a Golden Tee 2005 in the base’s recreation hut. If you started playing GT before the LIVE format, you’ll have fond memories of the courses from that year: Balmoral Greens, Oak Hollow, Painted Gorge, Ridgewood and the sinister Sapphire Springs. While we in the northern hemisphere consider GT 2005 a classic – something to reminisce over while having a few beers – to the ice bound and parka clad residents of McMurdo Station, it’s neither current nor nostalgic – it’s simply all they have.

It wasn’t just the hard drive in their old game that crashed, so too were the spirits of the men and women in McMurdo Station who loved playing their favorite game. After diagnosing the problem and checking on supply flights during the long, dark winter, it was going to be 5-6 months before a replacement drive could be flown in.

That’s when the experts at IT got involved.

“We mobilized tech services, information services and software engineering,” said Eriq Jaffe, MIS analyst. “We knew there was a solution we just had to think it through. There was no way we were going to allow that game to stay down for 6 months or more.”

What they did was re-create a Golden Tee 2005 hard drive and make the data available on the company’s FTP site for the engineers at McMurdo to access. Then it was up to their guys to program a blank drive. At the end of the day it was a success.

“We want to thank everyone at Incredible Technologies for assisting us in getting our Golden Tee up and running again,” said Mike Santos, recreation supervisor at McMurdo Station. “The game truly is important to many of us and to get it fixed so quickly really is a testament to IT’s ingenuity.”


Meagan and Liz enjoy a game of Golden Tee. Although the average temperature at McMurdo in the summer is -5 to -31 degrees Fahrenheit, and in the winter it’s -40 to -94, these two smiles will warm the heart of any Golden Tee player!

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