Thanks for sending the award. My join date was February 2009...but in fact, I had actually played WGT for some months before that starting in late 2008 - though I did not "sign up" right away......quite frankly, I wasn't sure what I had found.
There were only TWO CTTH games available when I joined - Kiawah (Front 9) and Bali Hai. No stroke play and no other courses. No Pro Shop. No choice of balls - EVERYONE played with the silly putty starter "free" ball that still exists today. Everyone played with the same set of starter clubs as well.
Like I said - I was not sure exactly what WGT was supposed to be - I thought it was a promotion for Kiawah Golf at first.
Finally...eventually Stroke Play was rolled out.....Front 9 of Kiawah ONLY - the Back 9 of Kiawah got Stroke Play some months later.
In the meantime, I played. I got good at it - though it was tough to control the ball because it performed the same as the starter ball still does today.
At some point Tiers came along - but at first there were only 4 Tiers - Hack, Amateur, Pro, and Master. Levels did not exist at all - I think those came around 2014? (my best guess).
We played it in that very basic state for about a year.....and then Bethpage Black landed - a CTTH (Front 9) came first and then Stroke Play on all 18 holes became available.
There were distinct problems SUCH AS on Bethpage Hole #5, the driver (which I think had a Max distance of 225) could not drive the basic starter ball far enough to reach the fairway! All of us were raising holy hell about it in the forums....Everyone was fed up with playing WGT because we always knew we would be in the short/right side fairway bunkers on the drive on Bethpage #5. There were other sorrows, too. On Bethpage #7 the green was not reachable in 2 shots either - the hole was simply longer than anyone's firepower with the basic clubs and ball.
After a week or 2 of this, WGT rolled out the Pro Shop - everyone could now get longer clubs and there were some ball choices as well - a small variety BUT the available items cured the problems I identified above.
Those early days were some unique times. LOL
Thanks for the Memories, AtlantaCoaster