In South Korea, there are too many golfers and not enough golf courses. A NY Times article (link here) shows the lengths that people are taking to get swing time. The vitual reality simulators are reportedly in high definition, which is generations beyond what I have seen in my town. Their surfaces tilt to the terrain of the course. There are birds and blades of grass. I saw a simulator at a PGA store in the Detroit airport, and the graphics were primitive compared to playing Tiger Woods 2008 on my Mac.
I think what the article missed is how Koreans get into fads and how they love all things high tech. They have professional video game leagues which are televised and the top pro’s have rock star status. A top Warcraft pro makes 6 to 7 figures.
Also, they are fanatical about golf. Most of them will take lessons and practice at a range (usually a lot with a high net visible for blocks around) until their form is perfect. I saw a fellow hitting perfect three irons off the range and when I chatted, he told me he had yet to play “on the field.” The usual reason is limited access to golf courses and unusually high costs.
A golf outing in Korea involves someone who knows someone who can get a tee time at one of the publicly accessible courses. You have to show up with a foursome. There are no carts -they have crews of uniformed female caddies who size you up from the first tee and basically find the ball nearly all the time, and hand you the right club -no discussion. Rounds take about 5 hours and you end up at the clubhouse where you then take a schvitz in the sauna, hot tub, get a spa rub down, and then go and have a heavy meal with drinks. This all costs around 300 to 1000 per person.
Here in the US, I can get on a course without calling ahead and basically have the course to myself, I am happy but also a bit distressed in that golf courses should be a little more crowded, and the players a bit younger.