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Golf Games      E-mail to a Friend    Print this Page

Golf Games

Which types of golf games are better - the real or virtual? Though hard to believe, the majority of men would probably choose the virtual golf games, according to a recent survey conducted by Harris Interactive. In their survey, they found that 72 percent of men over the age of 40 would rather play a casual video golf game than a round of golf. Those casual games, which appear to be more alluring than the old-fashioned ball and club, pulled in more than 100 million PC users in 2005.

   The newfound love of casual video golf games could explain the lack of golfers in the past few years. According to the National Golf Foundation, the number of core golfers -- those who play golf more than eight times a year -- has decreased over the past five years. But what is it about those casual video golf games that is so much better than a round of golf?
   The casual video golf games aren't the stereotypical video games that contain blood, guts and shiny weapons. They are non-violent, simple to learn games, which perhaps is the key to their appeal. According to the survey, 64 percent of men and women 18 and older who play casual games use the games as a way to unwind, and 53 percent play the games as a stress relief.

   It may seem weird that people turn to video golf games over actual golf for relaxation considering that for years people have deemed golf a relaxing sport. The light exercise, slow pace of the game and beautiful scenery all contributed to golf's reputation as a relaxing game. In fact, over the past few years the United States Golf Association has supported studies that have found that the beautiful landscaping on golf courses can help people to heal faster and have a more positive attitude.

   But if golf is seen as so relaxing then why is it that so many ditch real golf games for virtual ones? Perhaps the experts are forgetting to factor in the stress associated with actually playing golf. They only seem to talk about the exercise and environment and fail to mention all those lost balls and trips to the beach -- and we're not talking about the type with cushy lounge chairs. There's a reason why the punch lines of so many golf jokes end with having golf clubs thrown or wrapped around trees. Many times golfers walk off the course more frustrated and stressed than when they arrived. Which is understandable considering how much a few bad shots can ruin your day.

   So, maybe people prefer online golf games because there is less performance pressure. While mulligans rarely exists on the golf course, online you can restart your game at any point, and if you lose, no big deal. Just start over again, and no one will know.  Not to mention, people may not be as hard on themselves for having a lack of finger speed as they would for having a bad golf swing. Most would probably think that a bad swing suggests they lack athletic prowess. Whereas finger speed, well, not such a big deal.
   In addition, many online video golf games are free; whereas, a round of golf can be pricey. Between the price of equipment and greens fees, one round of golf can cost well over $100.  And the hassle of having to find a tee time and buddies to play with is absent from video golf games. When you play video golf games, your tee time is whenever you want it to be, and your golfing buddies are whoever is online.  
   When you consider how stressful and inconvenient golf can be -- and the fact that you can play like Tiger Woods online -- it's easy to see why some people prefer online golf games over the real life golf games. Luckily, golfers can have the best of both worlds. They have their choice of real or virtual golf games. So the next time you don't feel like heading to the course, try out one of the many golf games online.


Seattle Times technology staff. "Study show adults take break with videogames."
2003198467_webrealsurvey14.html (accessed August 23, 2006).

Real Networks. "Research Reveals Casual Games Provide Mental Balance, Stress Relief and Relaxation."
casgames_research.html (accessed August 23, 2006).

United States Golf Association. "Golf Courses Benefit People and Wildlife."
golf_courses_benefit.html (accessed August 23, 2006).

National Golf Foundation. "Core Golfer Number Dips in 2004." (accessed August 23, 2006).