Golf is one of the most popular sports in South Korea.
But most of the golf courses are far from the city, and a lot of them are pretty expensive.
So instead of going to an actual golf course, people like playing at a place called “Screen Golf” centres.
It basically lets you play with a golf simulator, but it’s much better than what you’d imagine.
I tried screen golf during a recent trip to Seoul — and it absolutely blew me away.
This is the lobby of a the screen golf center I went to. You can easily find screen golf centres in Seoul, just like you'd see a Starbucks on every other corner in NYC.
It's pretty affordable, too. You'd pay about $20 on average to play all 18 holes. Usually there's no time limit.
But the technology behind it is absolutely amazing. It can track the ball's distance, direction, and angle, as well as things like the back spin speed.
This is the master brain behind all the technology. It's basically a computer with a keyboard and mouse that controls everything on the screen.
And this is the secret sauce. These sensors built in the ceiling are connected to the screen and the artificial grass where you place the ball. They can track every movement of the ball to the smallest detail.
You can pick from hundreds of different golf courses all over the world. I picked the Pebble Beach golf course in California.
It gives you instant replays too, so you can check your swing right away. I thought my swings were OK…
When you hit the bunker or rough, the stepping plate adjusts the angle accordingly. The white part of the plate is where you place the ball for bunker shots. It has special artificial grass, making it more difficult to hit.
Another double par! But did I care? No, because I was having too much fun! It was like virtual reality and a real golf course combined.
You can zoom in and see what each hole looks like from above. It also gives you wind direction, distance to the green, and altitude.
Once you get on the green, it helps you read the slopes with these white dots. Putting was the hardest part of the game.
But overall I had a great time. Screen golf isn't meant to be a golf replacement. It's considered more of a leisure activity, like bowling is in the US.
But of course, some people take it more seriously and come to practice because it's so realistic. These are the keys to the members' lockers.
There's usually a seating area in the back of the room so people can come in groups and just have a good time. Screen golf is a pretty big industry and some of the screen golf companies are public in Korea.
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