Teeing off in Second Life

AERO Golf Club
AERO Golf Club

There are many, many activities you can try in Second Life which you may not by able to participate in or enjoy in the physical world. For me this has meant – among other things – playing the odd round of golf (a game I am not overly fond of outside of SL!).

I first tried my hand at a full 18-hole golf course in 2014, when I visited the AERO Golf Club (you can read about that visit here). As I hadn’t been golfing for a while, I suggested to Caitlyn we give it a try together. Given the last time I visited AERO was in mid-2015, it seemed natural for us to head there.

AERO Golf Club
AERO Golf Club

I have no idea how many golf systems are available in Second Life, but the one employed by AERO is very easy to get to grips with and enjoy.  The course itself – the work of Kaja Ashland and Marcus Bremser – is very well laid-out, and was last redesigned in (I think) 2015. Visitors arrive on the east side of the region, on the front terrace of the clubhouse. A quick walk through to the back terrace will take you past the pool and to the golf shack tucked into a corner where you can pick-up your clubs, HUD and scorecard.

There are no fees for playing at AERO, but you will need to join the in-world group. When you have done so, touch the golf bag in the hut to receive your club (actually three in one), HUD and scorecard. Wear / add all three, and you are set to go! The first tee is just a short walk from the hut; a par 4, it takes you down the length of the canal which almost cuts the course in two.

AERO Golf Club: Caitlyn tees off!
AERO Golf Club: Caitlyn tees off!

Game play is a case of selecting your teeing spot between the two markers, selecting your club type from the HUD (driver, obviously when teeing-off), and then taking note of the wind speed and direction (indicated by a particle cloud which appears next to you when you select your club). The LEFT and RIGHT arrow keys can then be used to adjust the angle at which you will strike the ball (indicated by a pointer on the ground) to compensate for the wind and get your ball down towards the green. Then it is a case of making sure the cursor is over the ground and then clicking and holding the left mouse button to both commence your swing and select the force with which you hit the ball (indicated by a power bar). Releasing the mouse button completes your swing.

AERO Golf club: about to chip the ball onto the green. Note the wind speed cloud and direction pointer
AERO Golf Club: about to chip the ball onto the green. Note the wind speed cloud and direction pointer

The flight of a ball is indicated by a line. By default, this is white, but you can use the Settings option on the HUD to select a preferred colour – handy when playing in a group. Additional strokes are played the same way, with the option of using a wedge for chipping up onto a green or getting out of a bunker, and a putter when on the green. Throughout it all your scorecard will track your shots and keep score.

The holes themselves vary in difficulty – and shorter par holes are not necessarily easier than those with a dog leg or other obstacle: the shorter par needs a steady finger on the strength of your swing or you can end up well into the rough on the far side of the hole!

The eleventh hole has a wicked shot across a bay which cuts into the course, requiring you select your teeing-off spot with care. Should your ball fall into the water at any time, the easiest thing is to remain where you are and try again.

One might argue that it would be nice to have a wider selection of clubs – particularly if you are a golfer – than just the driver, wedge and putter. But the truth is, these are more than adequate and mean that a round of golf is enjoyable without becoming taxing or complicated for the occasional / novice player.

I do have a couple of very small tips: if you use an over-the-shoulder camera view by default, you might want to centre your camera up when playing to get an more accurate view of the ground pointer. Also, if you have double-click to teleport enabled, you might want to turn it off; I carelessly mis-clicked on a putt and ended up attempting to teleport on the spot and lost a stroke.

AERO golf club: Caitlyn makes the putt!
AERO Golf Club: Caitlyn makes the putt!

As well as the 18 holes, AERO offers a poolside terrace and an indoor bar for socialising after a game. The cliff-sided bay I mentioned above has a small beach offering deck chairs and loungers, and there are several points around the course where you can take a break from play and enjoy a chat. You  can also break-off from a round if  the physical world or other requirements intrude; your card will retain your score and progress. However, the clubs are time-limited; should you return and find they have expired, simply obtain a new HUD, club and scorecard from the golf shack, and use the clubs / HUD with your “old” scorecard, and you’ll be able to finish your round.

Should you enjoy your time at AERO, do consider making a donation towards the upkeep of the course, and if you end up playing regularly there, you might want to purchase the pro scorecard – again, the fee goes towards the course.

AERO Golf Club
AERO Golf Club

AERO Golf Club is one of several scattered across Second Life and offers a fun way to enjoy golf in Second Life amidst gorgeous surroundings. Other clubs can be found in the Sports & Hobbies section of the Destination Guide (and doubtless elsewhere in the DG as well!).

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3 thoughts on “Teeing off in Second Life

  1. I love to golf in both worlds, glad to see that you are getting into the “swing” of things! Angel Manor has a great golf course too that uses the same system.

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  2. I have more than 5 years in SL, just a little more than a year I played Golf for the first time in SL and it was in the AERO golf club. I went with my wife and some friends who indicated to us very elementary things to me in the golf game of SL, we played with the free clubs that you can take in that course, I get 3 very elementary clubs, 1 Driver, 1 Iron (I think) and 1 Putter … The game becomes a difficult challenge to be the 1st time, you feel frustrated and I even ask to myself “How people have fun playing this?”, “How is it possible to play golf in SL, even after for so many years all this seems so primitive (only 3 clubs)? ” Well … many months went by and I did not think about playing golf again. After so much time I returned to play with these friends and I could see that they had a new accessory, a nice bag full of golf clubs, they put it in the field every time they made a shot, they played formidable, they had many extras, extras than my clubs for free did not have (for example when they hit the water appeared a buoy, etc, etc …). That made me wonder if I was using the right clubs, so I paid the fee for using the rental clubs. I must say that the game experience changed drastically, the game was very good, I had many more options, indications in the hud I was very happy. I started to digress a little more about this new and exciting game (I did not know what I was missing out on not having the right clubs) so I gone to a store with other professional golf clubs that looked great. So I bought the Elite set and received even more options in the gaming experience, now … I think golf is such a fun activity in SL that I’ve added it to car races, motorcycle rides, planes, sailing in the community where I live until arriving at blake sea. My advice to golf course owners is… if you want to increase traffic to your courses, You have to allow players to obtain all the available golf equipment, from the new ones that have been updated, to those that are good and it kept in use for rent and allow each resident to know which to buy definitively. Point out to players that their gaming experience will increase by having the professional set. Just so I think they could save the golf courses maybe a painful disappearance. It is a beautiful activity in SL, I will continue donating every time I go to play, but also you must to boost the enthusiasm of residents. Thank you for your beautiful course and for keeping this beautiful game alive.

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