Golden Tee Golf

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Golden Tee Golf
Golden Tee Golf logo.jpg
Series logo
Developer(s)Incredible Technologies
Creator(s)Larry Hodgson, Jim Zielinski
Platform(s)Arcade, PlayStation, iOS, Microsoft Windows, Android
First releaseGolden Tee Golf
Latest releaseGolden Tee LIVE 2021

Golden Tee Golf is a golf arcade game series by Incredible Technologies. Its signature feature is the use of a trackball[1] to determine the power, direction and curve of the player's golf shot. Play modes include casual 18-hole golf, closest to the pin, and online tournaments. One of the longest running arcade game series, Golden Tee has maintained a large following and spawned a competitive tournament scene.[2]


The Golden Tee series began as a project at Incredible Technologies to create a large scale golf simulator for sizable family entertainment centers. The idea was scrapped, but not before programmer Larry Hodgson had already written software to create virtual golf courses. Rather than discard his work, Hodgson retooled the concept to develop a golf game for regular arcade cabinets. He worked with co-designer Jim Zielinski, who initially rendered the courses using Deluxe Paint. Instead of a regular joystick and buttons for controls, they used a trackball, which Incredible Technologies had previously used for Capcom Bowling.[3]

The success of Golden Tee 3D started a succession of yearly releases for the franchise, here the game illustrates its trackball-based controls.

The first Golden Tee was play-tested in a bar, a venue which would become the most popular location for Golden Tee cabinets. Released in 1989, the first iteration was sold exclusively as a kit that could be used to convert existing arcade machines to Golden Tee. It sold relatively well, but the series would find greater success with Golden Tee 3D several years later.[3] The 1995 Peter Jacobson's Golden Tee 3D Golf (featuring Peter Jacobsen) was the first in the series to support online networked play. Rather than being networked to each other, the cabinets were all linked to a central computer which compared scores for tournament play. The first test tournament, held on 24 game cabinets in the Chicago area from November 24 to December 17, 1995, awarded real money to the winners, including a $1,000 grand prize.[4] The first "real world" tournament was held mid-June to July 7, 1996, on 145 cabinets across six states, and was considered a major success.[5] By the end of 1996, 1,250 cabinets were installed across 32 states.[6] The tournament gave rise to a large competitive play scene for the franchise.[7][8][9] Ryan Bourgeois has won the US national championship three times.[10]

Since Golden Tee 3D, Incredible Technologies has released a new entry in the series to arcades every year. Versions of the game have also been published for the original PlayStation,[11] Microsoft Windows,[12] iOS and Android.[13] A plug-n-play dedicated console version has also been released.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Peter Jacobson's Golden Tee 3D Golf". Next Generation. Vol. 2, no. 14. Imagine Media. February 1996. p. 176. Retrieved 4 March 2022. Using the new, improved handy-dandy, hip... trackball (surely proving to be a revival in the '90s), you swing through three pleasant, 18-hole courses (Oak Valley, Ocean Point, and Cactus Canyon).
  2. ^ Bernstein, David (March 20, 2003). "Can't Get a Tee Time? Try the Corner Bar". New York Times. Retrieved July 14, 2017.
  3. ^ a b Siegel, Alan (June 24, 2015). "How Golden Tee became the best bar game in America". USA Today. Gannett. Retrieved July 11, 2017.
  4. ^ Webb, Marcus (March 1996). "Another Network Test". Next Generation. Vol. 2, no. 15. Imagine Media. p. 23. Retrieved 4 March 2022.
  5. ^ Webb, Marcus (October 1996). "Modem-Linked Video Scores". Next Generation. Vol. 2, no. 22. Imagine Media. p. 22. Retrieved 4 March 2022.
  6. ^ Webb, Marcus (March 1997). "And in the U.S.A...". Next Generation. Vol. 3, no. 27. Imagine Media. p. 26. Retrieved 4 March 2022.
  7. ^ Belkin, Douglas (July 5, 2012). "It's Rough to Make a Living as a Pro Golfer on the Bar Circuit". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved July 11, 2017.
  8. ^ Allen, Jeff (September 3, 2014). "Bangers and Everymen: Life on the 'Golden Tee' Pro Tour". Rolling Stone. Retrieved July 11, 2017.
  9. ^ "Video golf champ has a steady hand, 'Golden Tee'". Associated Press. April 30, 2003. Retrieved July 11, 2017.
  10. ^ Moser, Whet (October 13, 2013). "One-trackball mind". Chicago Tribune.
  11. ^ Shoemaker, Brad (September 15, 2000). "Peter Jacobsen's Golden Tee Golf Review". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. Retrieved July 12, 2017.
  12. ^ Ward, Trent C. (August 12, 1998). "Golden Tee Golf". Archived from the original on December 2, 1998. Retrieved July 12, 2017.
  13. ^ Good, Owen S. (October 18, 2015). "After 30 years in arcades and dive bars, Golden Tee is finally going mobile". Polygon. Vox Media. Retrieved July 12, 2017.

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