Can I make an observation here?
A large proportion of the arguments above seem to make comparison between WGT and real golf, as if they are comparable at all. Yes, to succeed in WGT, it helps to have played real life golf, and I can imagine (perhaps wanly) that playing WGT will help me on a golf course (I have the same hope for flight simulators!).
But no, they are not the same or even close.
If you want a 4-5 mile exercise hike with a golf bag, and back-slapping banter with three friends whose family histories you care about, and weather the wind, rain and discomfort of a plummeting thermometer, or bask in the sunshine while marvelling at the natural beauty of the landscape, checking every now and again your step-counter as often as your bogey counter, then please, as we all do, measure the cost-benefit of those green fees and equipment/apparel/ball acquisitions that apply.
But please do not compare that experience with sitting behind a monitor screen on your own with a half-consumed can of lager by your side, chatting occasionally in WGT-speak.
Consider, if you must, the business model of the WGT developers, who do not have to look after real courses, with expensive mowers, aerators, watering systems, cow-dung collectors etc, and engage the permanent staff to use them. Instead, they have the ludicrously expensive marketing departments and ill-regarded development teams, plus a bit of infrastructure for hosting the games. I doubt these costs are any more comparable than the experiences that result.
I play with starter equipment except when offered free rentals. My experience is with playing a computer game that is somewhat akin to playing golf. It is not golf. If I want to improve my golf, I practise and/or buy better golf gear - if I want to improve my WGT playing, I practise and/or buy better virtual gear. Real golf gear is not virtual golf gear.
WGT try hard to make the game appear as life-like as they can, and perhaps the equipment costs are too high. But there's nothing to be gained by comparing them to real equipment costs.