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Vitual Golf Bars Hot in Japan!

I would love to have a go!

Cries of “Nice shot!” greet the satisfying ping of club against ball as Takashi Ochiai gets his round off to a perfect start. His opponents’ magnanimity could be simple sportsmanship, but it’s more likely to be the effects of the cold beers they are gulping as they track his ball to its resting place bang in the middle of the fairway.

The greens at this Tokyo golf course are pristine, permanently bathed in sunshine and mercifully free of inept beginners failing, for the umpteenth time, to swipe their ball out of a bunker. If it sounds too good to be true, that’s because it isn’t.

Links, one of several virtual golf courses to have appeared in Tokyo in recent months, is sating a growing appetite for communal gaming that owes much to the success of the group-friendly Nintendo Wii.

Although Ochiai and his colleagues were brought here by their love of golf – not by an interest in video games – they owe their obvious enjoyment to a powerful piece of simulation software.

The ball’s journey is quickly cut short by a brightly lit screen; a virtual course that keeps a tally of shots played, the distance to the pin and the other vital statistics on which the gaming golfer depends.

The software package calculates where the ball should come to rest depending on which part of the screen it strikes, and how fast it is traveling. Weekend golfers who require work on their swing beware: the software also knows a hideous slice or hook when it sees one.

The system’s maker, 3D, says it has sold 50 golf simulators – at about 6 million yen (£29,250) apiece – and reckons it will have shifted more than a hundred by the end of the year.

Via: guardian.co.uk

Filed by: MiiGolfer at May 5th, 2008 under News

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