DIY Simulator

Korn Ferry Tour pro uses PGA Tour 2K’s course creator to build, learn and play new courses before tournaments

Korn Ferry Tour pros don’t have the same advantages as their PGA Tour counterparts. They don’t have the cash to jet around the country scouting courses. They’re playing tracks you don’t see on TV or in magazines. Usually they’re up-and-coming players who don't have the knowledge that comes with from playing the same rota of courses year after year. Often when KFT players are grinding on the feeder circuit, desperately trying to earn their tour cards, they’re flying blind. They’re coming in green every week, scrambling to learn a course they’ve never even seen before in 48 hours before moving to the next one. There’s a million reasons why it’s so tough to make the PGA Tour. This is a big one.

But New Jersey native and KFT pro Ryan McCormick has a creative (literally) solution: Instead of burning precious gas money and practice hours scouting courses in person or trying to learn them on the fly, McCormick builds and plays them using PGA Tour 2K’s course creator mode. Yes, really.

Talk about playing chess video games not checkers. McCormick constructs his courses through a combination of satellite imagery and information from public surveys and he spares no detail. One clip sees him shifting a grandstand five feet to the left because the tournament layout features a walking path for the players there. Once his build is complete, McCormick tries to play his digitally constructed version at least five or six times before showing up to the actual course. It’s not an exact science, but neither is golf.

This is not an entirely new concept, of course. Simulator golf is the way of the future, like it or not. Professional drivers from rally to F1 prepare for new tracks using high-tech simulators that replicate the actual G-forces felt in the cockpit. But these can cost thousands of dollars and require considerable resources and connections. McCormick’s method is truly DIY. It’s accessible even on a high-schooler’s allowance. Whether or not it pays off with that elusive golden ticket remains to be seen, but you can’t knock the effort and invention. See mom, we told you video games weren't a waste of time.