Can’t make it to this year’s NSW Open Golf Championship? Never mind, catch it in the metaverse courtesy of web3 golf firm Play Today.

You can actually tune in to it via SEN, Fox Sports and Kayo, too, but let’s explore this metaversal option, because there’s a bit more to it than just flicking on the telly and cracking a cold something or other.

Play Today, in partnership with Australia’s biggest golf retailer  Drummond Golf, has this week launched what it’s described as a “world-first golf metaverse”. And the collaboration is using its newly created platform to livestream the upcoming NSW Open Golf Championship, which tees off today, finishing on Sunday March 19.

The NSW Open – the actual, physical version – is being held, by the way, at the Rich River Golf Club in Moama and will see some of Australasia’s best golfers competing, including Blake Windred and incumbent NSW Open Champion, Harrison Crowe.

So what is the “Play Today Metaverse”? According to Play Today, it’s an “interactive 3D virtual world built by golf players for golf players”. And it allows those stepping inside the ability to connect with each other and “experience new and exciting ways to explore the world of golf”.

You can have a stroll around for yourself here.

Under regular telly-watching circumstances, the Open is expected to bring in roughly 20,000 viewers a day (or 80,000 over the course of the four-day tournament). But Play Today predicts that, “given the unique virtual delivery of the tournament”, figures could end up much higher with overseas golf enthusiasts hopping into the metaverse to check out the livestream.


What actually happens in the Play Today metaverse?

So the main action here is making your virtual way over to the livestream component, in which you can watch live professional golf tournaments from around the world, interactively controlling the broadcast to follow your player of choice and view live scores.

You’ll also spot a Drummond Golf-branded “innovation centre” somewhere within the 3D world. Once inside that, you can use augmented reality to view the latest golfing gear from leading golf brands.

Inside the Drummond Golf Innovation Centre. (Image: supplied)

Play Today also tells us that attendees can:

• view and display their digital golf collectibles, aka NFTs. (Those can be obtained through the Play Today scoring app or bought from the platform’s marketplace.)

• visit virtual replications or “digital twins” of more than 40,000 physical golf courses from around the world as a flyover experience

• replay a physical round of golf on the same course in the virtual world

• connect with fellow golfers from across the globe either by walking around in standalone mode, or by interacting with other “Players” in the Play Today Clubhouse.

The Play Today Clubhouse. (Image: supplied)


Adding interest to the golf-watching experience

You’ve reached the equivalent of the “19th hole” of this article. Which can only mean one thing. No, not drinks and bar snacks, sadly, but quotes.

Here are some valid words from tech investor and golfing enthusiast Clive Mayhew, who recently putted $1.2 million into the Play Today venture.

“The experience of watching golf events on TV hasn’t changed much over the last 50 years. It’s not very exciting for the younger player, and doesn’t provide any opportunities for interaction, personalisation, or any form of immersion in the world of golf – for players, fans, and golf retailers alike.”

Mayhew, who has taken on the CEO role of Play Today, also smacked one down the middle of the PR fairway with the following:

“By live-streaming the NSW Golf Open Championship within our metaverse, while offering immersive experiences such as the Drummond Golf Innovation Centre, we are creating a new and exciting way for enthusiasts from across the globe to experience professional golf.

“And golf is just the beginning, this is just a small taste of what the future of interactive sports broadcasting will become.”

Ravi Abeyaratne, marketing director of Drummond Golf, added that the partnership will allow the golf retailer to engage with customers in way not possible from traditional advertising.

“The Play Today Metaverse is absolutely the future of sports events,” enthused Abeyaratne.