Twitter: GeoffShac
Writing And Videos
  • Tommy's Honor: The Story of Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris, Golf's Founding Father and Son
    Tommy's Honor: The Story of Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris, Golf's Founding Father and Son
    by Kevin Cook
  • His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir (Anchor Sports)
    His Ownself: A Semi-Memoir (Anchor Sports)
    by Dan Jenkins
  • Players: The Story of Sports and Money, and the Visionaries Who Fought to Create a Revolution
    Players: The Story of Sports and Money, and the Visionaries Who Fought to Create a Revolution
    by Matthew Futterman
« "Maybe sometimes you bounce it through a fairway and get into the rough, but really it's not that bad a spot." | Main | God Must Really Hate The Tavistock Cup... »

“We feel we are democratising golf"

And how are we doing this? By "bringing online gamblers back in play" with online golf gaming!

Chris Nuttall of the Financial Times delivers the breathtakingly good news.

American executives frustrated by online poker bans have been taking to the virtual golf course, where they can work on lowering their handicaps and make money at the same time.

Utour Golf and World Golf Tour are two sites exploiting a developing demographic of casual gamers: males over 30 looking to compete with one another online.

Utour has staged more than 500,000 games on four different online courses during its beta testing phase and allows wagers of up to $100 on a single hole. There is stroke play or match play for pairs and tournaments where thousands of dollars can be at stake.

Groove Games, the company behind Utour, says the golf prizes are not classified as gambling as golf is a skill-based game rather than one of chance.


“We’re just like real golf leagues funded by player-entry fees and the PGA’s prize pools subsidised by advertising,” says Jon Walsh, chief executive. Groove takes a 15 per cent cut of every dollar staked and sells advertisements placed around its golf courses. It says the average player is a 34-year-old male.

World Golf Tour will go fully live this summer with its Kiawah Island’s Ocean course in South Carolina. The company took the unusual step of taking high-resolution pictures of every inch of the course with helicopters and radio-controlled drones to create the imagery, rather than use artists to render the landscape.

The photos were then matched up pixel-by-pixel with the 3D topology of the course and rendered in high quality within a browser window. Over half a million people have already played the beta, spending at least 20 minutes per session.

“They are very affluent, college-educated, mostly male, average age 35 and average income of $110,000 – not your typical gaming demographic, but middle-aged professionals are great for advertisers,” said YuChiang Cheng, chief executive.

Strong demo! Not long before the PGA Tour wants a piece of that.

World Golf Tour’s business model is based on in-game advertising, sponsorship and sales of virtual items such as new clothing and clubs. It encourages foursomes among friends and will introduce social networking elements.

“We feel we are democratising golf,” says Mr Cheng. “For those who think it’s too expensive and takes too much time, this is free and you can just play from your desk.”

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments (1)

Groove is a highly appropriate name for the grunt behind this. Ban the Groove immediately, I say.

It seems absurd to say that betting on an on-line game isn't gaming. The skill that Groove Games is talking about isn't golf skill, it's something else and it's only going to be played by people who want to risk money on it.

Bet ya.
03.25.2008 | Unregistered CommenterPickworth

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
All HTML will be escaped. Hyperlinks will be created for URLs automatically.