Virtual Courses, Real Emotions: How A Group Of Brothers Bonded With Their Late Dad via A VR Mini Golf Game

Family that loves golf bonds over Walkabout Golf

Golf is a game of frustration, patience, and precision, where mental strength often trumps physical prowess. It’s a game where self-improvement can be just as rewarding as victory itself.

It’s also a game of bonds. They say more business deals are made on the golf course than the boardroom, because “golf doesn’t build character, it merely reveals it.” There’s the bond of common ground between two familiar strangers. The bond of friendship and lifelong pals, seeking Saturday morning solace together on the fairway.

And, of course, the bond of family, found in the lessons and outings from parent to child. There’s the shared laughter over a missed putt or a shanked drive. The friendly rivalries and vacation outings, planned months in advance. It’s a tradition that bridges generations, because golf is more than a game. Golf is a legacy that connects us to the ones we love.

No one knows this better than Dylan Pierpont, a Seattle-based concept artist and illustrator.

Thanks to their late dad Kurt, Dylan and his two brothers grew up with a strong connection to the game of golf. It was one of his “biggest passions,” explains his son Dylan.

“He grew up in Longmont, Colorado. He played at Sunset Golf Course,” Dylan tells BroBible. “He lived very close to The Third Hole and so golf was a major part of his life and something that he tried to instill in his sons.”

Kurt really wanted his love for golf to resonate with his boys. Austin, Kurt’s middle son, went all in on the game.

“Dad really pushed us to do when we were younger, playing around the putt-putt course and then going out to the driving range, doing a par 3, and finally getting up to 18 holes,” says Dylan. “So golf was always a constant thread in our lives.”

During the COVID pandemic, the family struggled to find ways to stay in touch with their father. But Dylan, with the help of his brothers, introduced his father to virtual reality with the Meta Quest 2 headset and Walkabout Mini Golf, a VR mini golf game that sells for $9.99 on the Meta Quest Store that lets you play brilliantly-designed courses as a group or with random strangers from the Internet.

Using A Meta Quest 2 Headset To Connect Over Rounds Of Golf

“When COVID hit, we were all looking for ways to stay connected,” says Dylan. “Initially, it was phone calls and a lot of texting. But, I had gifted my brothers some Quest headsets the previous Christmas. My youngest brother, Evan, who was still living at home, was kind of our bridge to mom and dad. He introduced them to VR and how we were playing games with it.”

Then it clicked. Despite being far apart in different cities, what if the family started using this technology to golf together, just like the real game of golf did back in the day?

“We sort of stumbled upon Walkabout Mini Golf,” says Dylan. “It might have been a recommendation from one of my colleagues. I can’t recall how we stumbled upon it, but we started playing it together, and it became our virtual meeting point.”

The game became an important part of how the family bonded before Kurt passed away, unexpectedly, in February 2022.

“Getting Dad into Walkabout turned into a truly joyful experience. It provided him with a unique avenue to reconnect with us, his sons, despite our geographical distances,” explains Dylan. “I had relocated to the Seattle area, and Austin was pursuing his master’s degree in Arizona. Yet, this virtual platform allowed us to come together, share experiences and laughter.”

The Turning Point: Shangri-La

One of the major father-son breakthroughs in the Pierpont family’s virtual Walkabout Mini Golf adventures was when Kurt beat his sons around Christmas 2021.

“In the beginning, Austin and I usually outplayed dad,” says Dylan. “He enjoyed it, but of course, no one likes losing all the time. We were crushing him.”

But the tables turned during Christmas of 2021. Amidst the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, “we were isolated in different parts of the house: Austin and I were isolated upstairs in our bedrooms because we had COVID at the time, and dad downstairs in the kitchen.”

“We played a course called Shangri-La, and for the first time, dad beat us both,” says Dylan. “That was a huge moment for him, a victory he had been working towards for almost a year.”

Kurt beats his sons on Shangri-La in Walkabout Mini Golf

Dylan notes that Walkabout Mini Golf leveled the playing field between the brothers, ramping up the family’s inherent competitiveness.

“My brothers and I, we’re pretty competitive. But dad was always like, this is his game. He’s the one that sort of started us down that path,” says Dylan.

Kurt was the one that “could own us out on the links,” but in Walkabout, “we were starting to run circles around his short game.”

“It was really, really fun being able to kind of like taunt one another and feel like we had one up on him because… This is his sport. He’d been playing this for 50 years. It was a good way for us to feel like we had some similar skill levels in this virtual space.”

Bridging the Generational Gap

As virtual reality technologies continue to improve, there’s a huge potential for games and the devices to bridge a gap between generations. What’s better than a shared experience with someone you love, even when you can’t be in the same room – or the same golf course – as them?

“I don’t wanna say he was a technophobe, but he didn’t really mesh well with a lot of technologies,” says Dylan about his late dad. “He’s a little old school. And so he was reluctant to try something like a VR device even if it did involve something like golf. But Evan is super good at being able to train people and walk people through what can be pretty complex procedures if it’s a technology you’re not used to,” Dylan explains.

“The controls and experience can seem foreign to those who didn’t grow up with this kind of tech,” says Dylan. “But once you’re in that environment, things start to click. Your real-world muscle memory kicks in. It’s not that complex once you get the hang of it. And beyond that, it’s a fantastic social bonding experience. You get a sense of presence in a virtual space which is remarkable.”

“I think my dad didn’t realize that you could get a sense of presence in a virtual space,” says Dylan. “I think his thinking was more like, ‘Oh, this could be a fun experiment where we get to play together, but I don’t feel like I’m with you all.'”

But that changed in the Walkabout space, where Dylan says “those avatars that more or less represent your gestures and like standing next to somebody while you’re on the opposite side of the country or even the world.”

“It’s a great environment for people who have a passion for this sport, but wanna experience it in new ways and connect with friends and family in ways that maybe they hadn’t had a chance to do before.”

“It was awesome,” Dylan

“It was a really, really fun experience, and it’s something that I’ll never forget, something my brothers are still doing to this day.”

Brandon Wenerd avatar
BroBible's publisher and a founding partner, circa 2009. Brandon is based in Los Angeles, where he oversees BroBible's partnership team and other business development activities. He still loves to write and create content, including subjects related to internet culture, food, live music, Phish, the Grateful Dead, Philly sports, and adventures of all kinds. Email: