Nicklaus Companies announced Wednesday a partnership with a New York-based technology company to develop the first professionally designed championship golf course and members-only club in the metaverse.
Through its deal with the tech startup, Hyperscapes Golf Club, Nicklaus Design will apply its traditional design philosophies to a state-of-the-art virtual landscape, giving rise to a one-of-a-kind course, playable for its members from anywhere in the world.
“The core of Nicklaus Design has always been the artistry and knowledge of our designers and their understanding and respect for the history traditions of the game of golf,” said Phil Cotton, CEO of Nicklaus Companies. “We now bring that unprecedented, real-world expertise to the virtual world.”
While virtual golf is nothing new — simulators have been around for years, and their presence in the market has been exploding — this new club is meant to be a departure in both its design and the experience it offers. Unlike simulators, which serve up digital doppelgängers of existing courses, the Nicklaus-Hyperscapes design will be an original layout that brings the attributes of an expertly conceived physical course to unique and richly detailed virtual terrain, replete with photo-realistic 3D scenery.
A Hungarian-born, French-educated entrepreneur, Tankovics got his start in golf more than a decade ago as the general manager of Chambord Country Club, an eco-minded golf resort in France that stalled in the development process and never opened. It was, in part, the bureaucratic difficulties of building a physical course, Tankovics said, that first got him thinking about a metaverse golf project.
Early access to the club is now being offered through a Founders’ Program limited to 30 memberships. Founding members will be granted private access to follow the design process through virtual site visits that allow them to watch the course take shape.