Community Sports

Tuesday, Jan 22 2013 05:36 PM

Robert Gautney: How to play virtual golf around the world

BY ROBERT GAUTNEY Contributing golf columnist gautney@att.net

How would you like to play the Old Course at St. Andrews? Or how about courses rich in U.S. Open lore like Oakmont Country Club, Bethpage Black, Congressional Country Club or The Olympic Club?

Sounds like a dream come true, right? Well, that dream can become reality although in a virtual way.

Last year, I wrote about the World Golf Tour where golfers, or anyone for that matter, could play golf online on famous courses around the world. The WGT now has more than 6 million registered users and recently entered into a partnership with The Golf Channel.

Visitors to the GolfChannel.com/virtualgolf website can now play free online golf and be invited to compete in the Golf Channel Virtual Tour, which will offer opportunities to play famous courses like those mentioned above online for free. Not only that but you can win prizes by entering exclusive tournaments and sweepstakes.

Ok, I know what you are thinking. You don't want to spend hours on the computer playing golf. But according to WGT, the average length of time spent playing is around 35 minutes.

The Golf Channel Virtual Tour will be promoted on the Golf Channel's morning show, Morning Drive, which is co-hosted by Gary Williams and Holly Sanders and Sanders' first avatar is already available for viewing as part of the initial free sign-up.

If you haven't already become a member of the WGT or the GCVT, now is a good time to start playing online golf. The high definition photography provides a real-life golfing experience and if you can't play the real thing, this is about as close as you can get! Heck, you can even start a league where all of your golf buddies play the same course on the same days, just like on the PGA Tour.

CSUB scholarship tournament

CSUB will hold its annual golf tournament to benefit the Roadrunner Scholarship Fund on Feb. 25 at the Seven Oaks CC. Entry is $750 per four-player team and proceeds will also benefit the Ronald McDonald House of Bakersfield.

The shotgun start will begin at 11 a.m. with check-in at 10 a.m. The fee includes greens fees, cart and range balls, a boxed lunch and drinks on the course, a special gift and a goodies bag along with the awards dinner after the tournament. Contact Seven Oaks at (661) 664-6474 for more information.

SCGA Championships

Entries continue for the SCGA Foursomes Championship on March 4-5 at Red Hill CC in Rancho Cucamonga. There is no qualifying for this tournament, but players must both have indexes of 6.4 or less and entry is $270 for the 2-player team. Feb.20 is the deadline.

On April 8-9 at The River and Ranch Courses at The Alisal in Solvang, the SCGA Amateur Net Championships will be played in four handicapped flights. Feb.23 is the deadline and entry is $90. There are 10 qualifying sites so the earlier you sign up the more likely you can get a closer site to participate at.

April 15-16 the SCGA Mid-Amateur Championship will be at Bermuda Dunes in Rancho Mirage. Players must have an index of 5.4 or less and be at least 25 years old by Apr.15 and not be a current member of any college golf team. Deadline is Feb.27 and there are five sites where qualifying will take place.

To find out more on these events and any upcoming SCGA events, visit the SCGA.org website or continue to read Tee to Green weekly for updates and information.

Chip shots

-- Tee to Green hasn't had a reported hole-in-one for a few months now. Remember, if you or a partner of yours makes a hole-in-one, make sure the course reports it to Tee to Green so you can get mentioned in this column. If you want to send the information to the e-mail address below, you can do that too, but make sure you include name, course and date, hole # and yards and club used. I will verify and then add the info to the next column.

-- Tee to Green would like to do a future column on our local players competing in college golf, so if you would like to have a certain player mentioned, send me an e-mail with the students name and school where he/she competes and thanks in advance.

-- Updated information (stats, etc.) on local players that are now competing in college golf (Men and Women) is always encouraged by Tee to Green as are golf related stories and information you believe that the readers would want to know about. Send the info to the e-mail address listed below and thanks again in advance!

Tee to Green appears weekly at Bakersfield.com/sports.

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