A new gaming network is lets Apple iPhone owners use their handset as a Nintendo Wii-like controller.

iGolf is the first game to be unveiled by Social Gaming Network (SGN) on its iFun platform, which lets owners of accelerometer-equipped handsets use the device as a controller for the web-based games.

SGN had previously created golf, bowling and other accelerometer-based games for the iPhone and iPod Touch (as well as a number of Facebook word and other games). But this is the first game that turns the iPhone or iPod Touch into a Wii-like controller. Best yet, it's free.

Start by signing up for an account on SGN's iGolf website. You can use your Facebook login, or you can create one on the spot. You'll still have to create a login for your iPhone using your email address.

Then you must download the iGolf application from the iTunes app store to your iPhone or iPod Touch. Login using the account info and password you set up on the web.

Now, back to your browser, where you click to start a game. There are three course options, but only the Bronze club is free; you have to buy SGN dollars to play the Silver or Gold clubs. (SGN's business model is based on premium services for its various games.)

Inside the club, you now pick a hole, and then select a club (there are six drivers and putters to choose from), and adjust the direction settings. Then, tapping the word 'Ready' on the iPhone/iPod touch screen, you swing the phone as if it were a club, and watch the results on the monitor. In our test swing using a laptop that was wirelessly connected to the net it was pretty amazing to see in action: there was some latency, but not as much as we expected.

You can also use SGN dollars to play for money against friends who have the game on their iPhone or iPod Touch-there's a built-in wagering system. But again, you don't have to spend a dime to try it out.

SGN plans to introduce tennis and other games soon, and to support other accelerometer-equipped devices.