What would we do without our state-of-the-art gadgets and gizmos? Probably curl up into the foetal position and sob ourselves towards extinction to be honest. Our unquenchable drooth for new-fangled thingamabobs means the pace of technological advance happens at such a breathless rate, you will soon be able to download this article straight to your brain via a USB port carved into your neck. Brace yourselves folks, that day is coming. In the world of golf, meanwhile, cutting-edge contraptions are par for the course.

All of which brings us nicely into the NEXT Golf Tour, a come-all-ye, six-event competitive circuit played remotely on indoor TrackMan simulators and offering a guaranteed minimum purse of around £83,000 at each tournament for the global professionals involved.

At this fairly grotty time of the year, when the weather in this country can be as bleak as an abandoned mine, the chance to sharpen the competitive edge and earn some decent money from the comfort of a heated studio is pretty appealing.

“It beats standing in the rain,” chuckled John Henry, the Clydebank golfer who has just completed his first 18-hole shoot-out on the new tour which costs about £100 to enter each event.

His sturdy four-under card was over the Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course at PGA West in Florida. Well, he wasn’t quite there. It was played on a simulated version of it at the Golf Bunker Studio in sunny Linwood.

“I played 18 holes in about 40 minutes which is by far the quickest competitive round of my life,” said Henry of this virtual examination. “You basically have a two-week window to submit your score, so it’s the quickest yet longest event I’ve played in too. The studio is only 10 minutes from my house. There are hardly any expenses and no flights to catch. What’s not to like about it?”

Given that there is the potential to make a hefty cheque, Henry, the younger brother of former European Tour player Scott, put in the prep work.

“I had four or five practice rounds and Iain Nicholson, the pro at the Linwood studio, was giving me plenty of pointers too which was a big help,” he said.

The deadline for completing the first event is this Sunday. At the time of writing, Henry was sitting in the top 10 in a field of some 250 players, which also included six-time European Tour winner Simon Dyson. He could only muster a 10-over score.

While standing in a bay booming drives and flighting irons into a 10-feet high screen may be slightly different to the cut-and-thrust of actual tournament golf, Henry still had his senses stirred.

“It was a bit strange to be honest but I enjoyed it,” he said of this new competitive experience. “I played the first 13 or 14 holes and was going well and the juices really got going. I was right into it. It was the same feelings you have playing in a tournament. The speed of it is great too. When you’re used to playing rounds of over five hours at normal events, this was a nice change.”

The next event on the circuit will be staged on a simulated recreation of Rome’s Marco Simone course, the host venue for this year’s Ryder Cup.

“Hopefully Luke Donald [Europe’s captain] is watching me,” laughed Henry. “The entries for it opened last week and it sold out in 20 minutes. Luckily, I got in. I think this will really grow and grow the more the word gets out. There’s certainly a big interest on social media. Competitive simulator sport is a huge market.”

Those of you who have experienced the gee-whiz wonders of a TrackMan simulator will know that they are as detailed as the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. The NEXT Golf Tour promoters declare that the new circuit brings “all the skill and intensity of tournament competition to the great indoors” while featuring “real talent, real pressure and real paycheques”.

Henry is already looking forward to logging in for the next challenge. “They’ll set the conditions up the same for everybody and I think the next one they will programme it to be a bit windier with tougher pins,” he said. “At least nobody can complain about getting the bad side of the draw. But golfers will always find something to moan about …even if it’s on a simulator.”