I mulled my choice of courses: Pebble Beach, St. Andrews, or the TPC at Sawgrass . Perhaps the lush Plantation Course at Kapalua on Maui, or the desert setting of Troon North in Arizona.
I have had the good fortune to play three of these five courses , but now I was on my sun porch on a wintry evening, scrolling through these options -- and many others -- from a dropdown menu on my computer. The courses are realistically depicted in a PC game called "Tiger Woods PGA Tour Golf," and after picking a course, I was able to hit real golf shots and watch how they played out thanks to a simulator called the Golf Launchpad. If you have tech-savvy golfer s on your Christmas list, this will provide a nice diversion until they are able to jet to sunnier clime s.
The Tiger Woods game by EA Sports has been around for years, but you "swing the club" by clicking a mouse to start and finish your shot. The Launchpad allows golfers to swing their own clubs and hit an actual (tethered) golf ball as sensors process the shot's velocity, angle, and swing path to render a result on the PC screen as soon as you finish your follow-through.
Sounds complicated, but it's not. All you need to do is install the Tiger Woods software on your computer (it is included with the Launchpad), plug the Launchpad into a USB port, and select from two types of shot (full swing or chip/putt). You may not have a cathedral ceiling or an enormous rumpus room in which to swing your
The Launchpad, the brainchild of Electric-Spin Corp. of Woodbridge, Ontario, won an innovation award at this year's Consumer Electronics Show . It is also compatible with courses from the
Go to electricspin.com for more information , or call 416-410-1166 or 866-571-7746 .
The package includes breakfast, dinner, accommodations, and a choice of a round of golf on any of Pinehurst's eight courses or a 50-minute spa treatment, with rates starting at $225 per person. There is one asterisk: Pinehurst's No. 2 course, which hosted the 1999 and 2005 US Opens and is generally rated among the top five courses in the country, costs an additional $150. But here's a nice addendum: Children 17 and under stay, eat, and play golf for free with a parent or guardian.
Call 800-ITS-GOLF (487-4653) or log on to pinehurst.com for more information.
The package includes three nights' lodging with full breakfast, two rounds of golf from a choice of the Avila, Blacklake, or Monarch Dunes courses, cocktails for two each night, a bottle of the region's finest wine on the last evening, and a sleeve of golf balls. The rate is $729 Sunday- Thursday, and $909 Friday- Saturday, excluding tax and resort fee.
The Cliffs also offers a one-night, two-round option for $239 Sunday-Thursday, $329 on weekend nights. For more information, call 800-826-7827, or go to cliffsresort.com.
Contact Ron Driscoll at firstname.lastname@example.org.