This story appears in the September 10, 2012 issue of Forbes:
How to Beat Tiger Woods
"WGT has the number one online golf game and golf website in the world, with more than 5 million registered users and 2.5 million unique monthly visitors (more than Golf.com and PGA.com)."
"WGT's golf-game success is in large part the result of its painstaking attention to the look and feel of each course. Sun dapples the fairways, and wind rustles the trees in each of the 15 courses it has captured so far."
"The process of turning 18 holes into an immersive digital experience begins by shooting up to 300,000 photos with high-definition and laser cameras, on land and from a helicopter and plane, each picture attached to an exact location using GPS. Imaging can take two to three weeks and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars per course."
"By offering the best visuals from day one and releasing the game as a free-to-play online experience, WGT avoids Electronic Arts' annual ritual of updating the game's software engine, revisiting each course to improve the visuals and charging another $60 to gamers."
"In the future we'll have all major sports covered with Internet and mobile titles and a strong Web presence for each." - YuChiang Cheng, founder and CEO, WGT
"WGT is really the only thing going now." - Mitchael Pachter, videogame analyst, Wedbush Morgan Securities
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Based in San Francisco, WGT develops the most realistic and engaging online social sports games, with over 10 million registered players and growing.
The flagship title, World Golf Tour (WGT) is the #1 online golf game with over 250 million virtual rounds played. WGT Golf is available on the web (www.WGT.com), on Facebook (www.facebook.com/WGTGolf) and for iPhone and iPad in the Apple iTunes Store. The free online golf game features over 18 famous virtual golf courses recreated using HD photography and patented technology, including Kiawah, Merion, Pebble Beach and St Andrews. WGT runs the annual Virtual U.S. Open in partnership with the USGA, and has partnered with NBC's Golf Channel to run the Golf Channel Virtual Tour. WGT offers a variety of free golf game formats and tournaments, as well as virtual golf equipment from sponsors including Callaway, Nike, Ping and TaylorMade.
In 2012, WGT launched WGT Baseball: MLB in partnership with Major League Baseball. WGT Baseball is a free realistic baseball game on Facebook (www.facebook.com/WGTBaseballMLB) that puts fans inside their favorite MLB ballparks in HD virtual reality. WGT Baseball is a unique blend of social gaming and fantasy sports, where players manage their rosters of Facebook friends, making strategic in-game decisions, and competing head-to-head against other players in rival games and mini seasons.
More at www.WGT.com
Click images for full-size view...
- WGT Golf Mobile
Kiawah Island Ocean Course
- WGT Golf
St.Andrews Old Course
- WGT Baseball: MLB
WGT Virtual Golf Courses
- Bali Hai (Las Vegas, NV) –
host of 2004 Golf Channel Big Break and 2009 Golf World Top Public Courses
- Bethpage Black (Farmingdale, NY) –
host of 2009 U.S. Open and 2013 Golf.com #36 Top Golf Course
- Cabo del Sol (Los Cabos, Mexico) –
2009 Golf Magazine #95 Top Golf Course
- Celtic Manor Twenty Ten Course (Wales, UK) –
host of 2010 Ryder Cup and 2013 Wales Open
- Chateau Whistler (Vancouver, Canada) –
Top 100 Golf Courses in the World
- Congressional Country Club (Bethesda, MD) –
host of 2011 U.S. Open and 2013 AT&T National and 2011 Golf Digest #77 Top Golf Course
- Edgewood (Lake Tahoe, NV) –
host of 2013 American Century Celebrity Golf Championship and 2011 Golf Digest #65 Top Golf Course
- Harbour Town Golf Links (Hilton Head, SC) –
host of 2013 PGA Heritage Tournament and 2011 Golf Digest #21 Top Golf Course
- Hilversumsche Golf Club (Netherlands) –
host of 2010 KLM Open and Top 100 Golf Courses in the World
- Kiawah Island Ocean Course (Kiawah, SC) –
host of 1991 Ryder Cup and 2010 PGA Championship, and 2011 Golf Digest #4 Top Golf Course
- NEW - Challenge at Manele (Lanai, Hawaii) –
Top 100 Golf Courses in the World
- NEW - Merion Golf Club
hosted five U.S. Opens including the 2013 U.S. Open, and 2013 Golf.com #9 Top Golf Course
- Oakmont (Oakmont, PA) –
hosted eight U.S. Opens including the 2009 U.S. Open and 2013 Golf.com #8 Top Golf Course
- The Olympic Club (San Francisco, CA) –
hosted five U.S. Opens including the 2012 U.S. Open, and 2013 Golf.com #9 Top Golf Course
- NEW - Pebble Beach Golf Links (Pebble Beach, CA) –
America’s greatest public golf course, the site of five U.S. Open championships and the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am
- Pinehurst #8 (Pinehurst, NC) –
host of the 2014 U.S. Men's and Women's U.S. Open, and 2010 Golf Magazine #100 Top Golf Course
- Royal St George's Golf Club (Sandwich, UK) –
host of 14 British Open Championships including the 2011 Open, and 2013 Golf.com #29 Top Golf Course
- St Andrews Old Course (St Andrews, UK) –
the birthplace of golf, host of the most British Open Championships, and 2013 Golf.com #4 Top Golf Course
- Wolf Creek (Mesquite, NV) –
2011 Golf Digest #28 Top Golf Course
WGT Media Coverage
Sports Business Journal
Comings & Goings
"Former ESPNer Ed Willett is joining WGT Media as vice president sales and sponsorships from a newly established Manhatten offic..."
Review - WGT Golf Mobile
"Play full stroke-play golf games on famous golf courses in realistic HD quality."
WGT Golf Mobile
"Includes Congressional, Kiawah, Merion, Pebble Beach, Pinehurst No.8 and St Andrews"
World Golf Tour game says virtual golfers have played 10M virtual U.S. Open rounds
"The combined total of more than 10.3 million virtual rounds over five years reflects a 28 percent average annual growth rate."
9 Best Free Golf Apps
"The No. 1 golf game on the internet makes its way to mobile. You can only play closest-to-the-hole games, not full stroke play, but World Golf Tour allows you to play some of the world's most famous courses."
WGT: HOW ONE SMALL START-UP REDEFINED GOLF AND OUT SHOT EA
"Mission accomplished. The result of WGT’s efforts has been nothing short of spectacular. Today, over 6-million virtual golfers from 120+ countries play on the hyper-realistic course recreated by WGT. And here’s something even more amazing. They are averaging 2.6 million monthly visits to the WGT.com site – that is more than golf.com and pga.com."
The Virtual Open
"More than two million rounds have already been played in the 2013 Virtual U.S. Open, and you thought qualifying for the real U.S. Open was tough!"
Merion Golf Club Hole 18 Previews with Trip Isenhour (video)
"Take a virtual tour of Merion Golf Club hole No. 18 with Tripp Isenhour."
Want To Watch the US Open But Can’t Get To Merion? There’s An App For That, Too.
"And you can get on the fairway yourself with Tiger and Bubba and Rory — virtually, of course, with a high-def online video game version of Merion...it’s just like playing like the pros.”
World Golf Tour Allows Gamers To Compete At Merion For Real Prizes
"The Virtual U.S. Open just keeps growing. Over the past five years, we’ve seen over ten million virtual rounds played in the Virtual U.S. Open, and have delivered over three billion impressions to USGA sponsors."
The Sun UK
Play the US Open course with SunSport
"Take to the tee today with ultra-realistic World Golf Tour simulator game"
Play Merion video game online – for free!
"If, like most of us at Golf.com, you narrowly missed qualifying for this year’s U.S. Open, here’s your chance to take on Merion anyway."
Holly Sonders WGT Merion Hole 1 Preview (video)
"Watch Holly Sonders take on a challenging shot at Merion hole 1."
WGT partners with NBC's Golf Channel for online golf game
"The Golf Channel Virtual Tour will be promoted both online and on air, with Golf Channel's popular morning show, Morning Drive, taking the lead. Co‐hosts, including Gary Williams and Holly Sonders, will talk about their favorite WGT courses, favorite holes and may even compete against each other virtually."
Golf Channel Goes Virtual With 'World Tour Golf' Video Game
"The video game world and real golf continues to blend. Golf Channel, a division of NBC Sports, is giving its viewers a chance to play some of the best golf courses in the world for free through a new partnership with WGT, makers of the free-to-play online game World Golf Tour."
Golf Channel Embraces Online Gaming Campaign with WGT Partnership
"As the best-in-class among online golf gaming platforms, World Golf Tour offers our users unmatched service and experience. And to have the experience to compete against the team from Morning Drive is a unique opportunity only Golf Channel and the World Golf Tour can provide."
Golf Vacation Insider
The One Golf Game That's Not Playing Around
"That is, I've never found one that does a great job simulating real golf...until now. The developers of World Golf Tour have figured it out, and with more than six million players, they've quickly become the No. 1 online golf game in the world."
Eight Golf Apps You Need Right Now
Best App for Playing Kiawah Without Going to Kiawah: WGT Golf Lite
"This escapist app lets you play a match against your buddies on a virtual layout that looks strikingly real."
How To Beat Tiger Woods
"Although EA's Tiger Woods title still rules the console business, with 30 million copies and $1.2 billion in revenue to date, Cheng says WGT attracts 20 to 30 times as many players as EA's Tiger Woods online game."
Hooked on Golf Radio (audio)
Interview #2 with Chad Nelson, WGT co-founder and president
"We work directly with the USGA, and obviously Mike Davis has a great influence on how they want to setup the course and create that great sense of challenge...This is far more precision golf than what you see in some of the other championships and events."
Virtual US Open Offers PC Golfers Opportunity to Compete for Real Prizes at the Olympic Club
"Tiger Woods isn't the only one playing golf this weekend. WGT and the United States Golf Association (USGA) saw a record two million rounds of golf played in the Virtual U.S. Open online golf championship."
WGT teams with USGA to recreate the Olympic Club's Lake Course
"WGT is the team behind World Golf Tour, a highly popular browser-based golf game. The game tends to see an influx in users over the course of each US Open, as fans of the sport have taken to playing while they watch the event. Given my inability to multitask, I can't help but give them props here."
Lexus Online US Open Campaign to See 100M Impressions
"The video game is a fun way for Lexus to message to potential car buyers as the people who have an interest in the U.S. Open are affluent golfers who own luxury automobiles, said James Dean, senior vice president and head of luxury and financial practice at WealthEngine, Bethesda, MD. The U.S. Open, in part, will be attended by thousands of affluent golfers which is a key demographic for Lexus. Lexus is being smart and creative in reaching out to this audience during the event."
Hooked on Golf Radio (audio)
Interview #1 with Chad Nelson, WGT co-founder and president
"We have a motto that it's always sunny in World Golf Tour. Every course that we feature from Bethpage to this year's U.S. Open course at The Olympic Club, it's a simulation of a nice sunny day and golfers who are passionate about the game yet they don't have a chance to play it...this allows them to extend that passion in a way where they can still communicate, socialize and compete."
World Golf Tour, now simply WGT, launches Major League Baseball game on Facebook
"The company got the MLB brand name thanks to the success of World Golf Tour...All told, they have played more than 200 million virtual rounds to date and have made World Golf Tour into the No. 1 online golf game."
There's no crying in WGT Baseball: MLB on Facebook
"WGT Baseball: MLB looks to be more about getting players directly behind the plate. With full MLB licensing and full 3D visuals, this sports game looks impressive."
Forward Thinkers: Five innovators who are changing the world of golf
THE GAMER, YuChiang Cheng
"We've built relationships with the USGA and the R&A, and we have more than four million registered users. A good course will do 100,000 rounds a year. We just recorded our 100 millionth round."
Virtual British Open Golf Game Launches from World Golf Tour
"The R&A (Royal & Ancients) partnered with World Golf Tour to recreate Royal St George's Golf Club, the host course of the 2011 Open Championship, as a high-definition virtual reality game."
Now All Golf Fans Can Play U.S. Open
"Players use WGT's 'EZ Swing' system, designed to let new players experience the game without hacking all over the course."
Hooked on Golf Radio (audio)
"The USGA made the virtual conditions as real as possible."
Play in the U.S. Open
"Even if you haven't qualified for this week's US Open and you don't have a single-digit handicap, there is still a way you can play in the US Open at Congressional Country Club."
US Open Livestream
Play 2011 Virtual U.S. Open
"The Virtual U.S. Open has become a key part of the interactive experience at USOPEN.com."
Fairways and Greens
Golfers Play Congressional
"Most of us will never play private Congressional Country Club, but during the 2011 U.S. Open, even well-heeled members won't get a tee time."
Virtual Reality News
Virtual World Golf Tour
"The USGA (United States Golf Association) partnered with World Golf Tour to recreate Congressional Country Club, the host course of the 2011 U.S. Open, as a high-definition virtual reality game."
Play in the Virtual U.S. Open
"Free trip to next year's Open."
World Golf Tour Online Review
"World Golf Tour's WGT.com is already ready for play, from the comfort of your own home."
Impressions: World Golf Tour online
"There is a tremendous amount of commitment to the sport and the fans who love it. But I found a game that is brilliantly accessible to casual golf fans or just people who like to play games."
World Golf Tour expands strategically with TruGolf partnership
"TruGolf's team built the technology behind Microsoft's Links game, one of the best-selling PC games of all time."
Social golf games on Facebook don't get much better than World Golf Tour
World Golf Tour Review - 4.5 Stars
"From its breathtakingly realistic courses to its surgically precise swings and putting motions, this is a true golfer's social game..."
New Golf Products to the Market
"(WGT) has added two new world-class courses to its portfolio and made the hottest driver on the PGA Tour available in its virtual pro shop."
Google Chrome Store - Case Study
World Golf Tour rises to top of the leaderboard at the Chrome Web Store
"WGT is currently one of the Top 10 games in the Chrome Web Store...and continues to receive some of the highest overall user ratings with over 4 out of 5 stars."
Sports Illustrated Hot Clicks
"If the Ryder Cup is your thing (or if you just want to kill time while not working), you can play some of the Celtic Manor holes online."
Golfers can play Celtic Manor from home
"There is also a "Drive The 15th" experience, where players can virtually play the drivable par-4 15th hole, a hole that may play a key role in the tournament."
On the bag: Underdog Pavin perfect fit for underdog USA
"The internet-based World Golf Tour has re-created The Twenty Ten course at Celtic Manor in Wales online in virtual reality using HD photography and technology, enabling anyone to experience the new course built specifically to host the Ryder Cup."
Sports Business Daily
Gaming Company World Golf Tour Signs Deal With Ryder Cup Site
"We've established our strategy to run parallel to major events and build a virtual schedule. Now that we have credible scale, we can help golf courses expand their audiences, too."
Sports Business Daily
World Golf Tour, LPGA Sign Deal For Online Virtual Golf Game
"(WGT) has struck a partnership with the LPGA to create a virtual golf tour that
will be conducted this fall."
NBC TechNow (video)
Using Technology to Improve your Golf Game
"The price to play on this fairway is absolutely nothing."
Tiger Woods Online or World Golf Tour?
"The upside to going with World Golf Tour is that there's currently no payment option
GDC 2010: World Golf Tour Partners with USGA for Virtual Competition
"Last year's Virtual U.S. Open exceeded expectations on all fronts"
World Golf Tour raises $10M, expands overseas and explores social games
"WGT held a virtual U.S. Open in which 200,000 players participated."
"They've partnered with real golf club manufacturers like PING and TaylorMade to
sell virtual golf clubs with the same characteristics as the real life equipment."
5 Questions for World Golf Tour's YuChiang Cheng
"It's actually a little spooky just how seamless everything runs, for a browser-based
golf simulation designed to go toe-to-toe with EA's Tiger Woods series."
World Golf Tour needs to turn golfers into gamers
"Altogether, more than 1 million players from 180 countries have registered to play."
Golf Goes Virtual
"San Francisco start-up creates an online version of Bethpage that lets fans "play"
the U.S. Open."
Qualify for the U.S. Open (Virtually)
"The first thing you'll notice is the true-to-life graphics, which the guys at WGT
painstakingly achieved by helicoptering over courses with HD cameras."
Games Soar as Economy Tanks
"World Golf Tour has seen staggering growth for its free-to-play golf game."
Fast Company Scobelizer (video)
Demo of World Golf Tour Online
"Our big goal was to recreate television."
World Golf Tour Hits Hole in One with Rich Multiplayer Platform
"World Golf Tour will likely do very well – it's polished, free, and will appeal
to millions of golf fans."
Almost Like Being There
"We're going for a true golf simulation. Things like course management—where you
place the ball, type of clubs and stance you use, how you use spin control—has an
impact on the game."
Wall Street Journal
Free Sports Games Score with the Online Set
"He likes World Golf Tour because the site is easy to access through the Web browser
and fast loading, and he can play a quick round of golf in just 10 minutes at his
desk. He also likes that it's free."
Start Rethinking Your Business Plan
"WGT may prove that a single game can support a community even without a virtual
world of avatars or downloads (or, for that matter, game distributors)."
Start-ups tread cautious economic pathway
"Back at World Golf Tour, Cheng isn't worried. People might not buy big-ticket items in a recession, but he's betting that consumers will spend money on affordable entertainment such as online golf."
CNN Newsroom (video)
Tech Hits: Golf at Work
"The graphics quality is truly amazing."
- USA Today
Golf & Gear
"WGT brings the land-based game online by re-creating top-tier courses like Kiawah
Island, Pinehurst Resort and Wolf Creek."
World of FORE!-craft
"It's a fast-growing segment of the industry that market research firm Strategy
Analytics estimates will generate $5 billion in revenue this year - and more than
twice that by 2011."
WGT Company Announcements
- U.S. Patent No. 7,847,808 for Photographic Mapping in a Simulation
- U.S. Patent No. 7,806,777 for Automatic Adaptation of Virtual Equipment Model
- U.S. Patent No. 8,029,359 for Providing Offers to Computer Game Players
WGT is Proud to Support