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What the Golf? is a hilarious, absurd reinvention of the slowest sport

What the Golf? is accepting golf-loathing campaign backers now

When it comes to sports ripe for gaming adaptations, I think most of us can agree that golf ... is maybe not the best idea. And yet there are myriad video game attempts out there to make golf way more exciting than the long, slow-paced affair it generally is.

Your mileage may vary, but Danish games studio Triband (best known for Keyboard Sports, another sports-themed, nonsports game) is not afraid to call out golf for being boring. But instead of dissing it, Triband decided to fix it, with its hilariously strange sports parody What the Golf? The game is now open for crowdfunding on Fig, the combination crowdfunding and equity-sharing platform.

“There is so much hate in the world so we thought it might be a great idea to aim it at something insignificant like golf,” creative director Tim Garbos told Polygon about the inspiration behind What the Golf? “We have known golf for some time now and we are sure golf can take it.”

Using what Garbos calls “advanced computer technology,” Triband has taken the basic premise of golf — swinging a club and hoping to make it into the hole in as few attempts as possible — and reworked it from the ground up. You’re still taking aim and counting your strokes in What the Golf?, but you won’t always be swinging a ball at the hole. Sometimes, you’ll be flinging an entire house across the field; sometimes, the golfer becomes the golf ball. There’s even a level that looks like Super Mario Bros., but with Mario replaced with a big golf ball.

what the golf gif
Scenes from my playthrough of What the Golf?

It’s an equal parts silly and smart way to take a polarizing sport and figure out how to make it fun for a broader audience. Triband insists that the team knows nothing about golf and finds it “really that boring,” but the hope is that potential funders will appreciate the studio’s attempt to make golf good.

Triband is asking for $50,000 in funding; it’s raised nearly half of its goal thus far with just over a month to go. Backers can choose from reward tiers that offer goods like digital copies of the game, their name in the credits and, at the top tier of $578, the chance to design their own level.

As per usual for the Fig equity platform, there’s also an option to invest in What the Golf? and receive a share of future profits. “When looking for a crowdfunding platform, we look for the most golfable logo,” Garbos said about the decision to go with Fig over Kickstarter. (He included a GIF of the Fig logo rendered in-game as a golf ball.) “We also heard Fig backers are the nicest people ... and we love the idea behind Fig. The Fig platform is continuing to grow and adapt and we like the direction.”

To help explain the project, Triband has released a public demo build, which gives a taste of the lengths to which the studio is going to make golf anything but golflike. What’s really cool is that the demo will update with new levels on a weekly basis until the campaign’s end. The initial content I tried already had a surprising amount of breadth going for it; What the Golf? gave me strong Katamari Damacy vibes with each level’s unpredictable change in scenery and available items, even if there’s not much more going on yet.

Triband is aiming for a third-quarter 2018 release on Mac and Windows PC. Production is ongoing, but the team appears to be approaching the finishing touches.

“We just got out of the rough and landed nicely on the fairway,” Garbos said of how both the production and campaign are moving along. “Even though we hit a few bunkers early in the game, I believe we can get it to the green with this crowdfunding campaign. It looks like we’ll make it on par.”