1) A game I don’t like to watch
2) A game I can’t play &
3) doesn’t generally interest me
I have a huge history when it comes to playing computer golf, dating all the way back to Mario Golf on the original GameBoy all the way up through to the Tiger Woods series on the 360. In the last couple of years I haven’t played as many due to the old too many games, not enough time line, but HB Studios The Golf Club had really caught my eye and finally I got the chance to see if my career in computer golf would hit the sweet spot and land nicely on the fairway.
The first thing that is worth noting is that if you like your sports titles full of licensed players and competitions this isn’t the game for you, it’s no thrills in that department, frankly you’ll forget about this pretty quickly once you get your teeth into the game. What is massively clever about this game is that it comes with a course generator that you can create and infinite amount of courses from, then produce yours and tournaments from them. The generator can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be. Within four clicks you can have a course created, but that’s no fun, that’s comes when you start making detailed changes.
Each hole can be customised in a whole manner of ways, you can control where bunkers are placed as well. Everything you can see can be changed, you can add natural features to the course such as rocks or extra trees, but as you get deeper into designing you change terrain levels and even how long the grass is in the rough areas. Buildings such as clubhouses and even lighthouses can be added, hell you can even throw some wildlife in there to add to the authenticity. If enough people make the effort there will be some fantastic courses for users to play on. There are plenty of official course created by HB Studios to show off exactly what types of courses you can make so they are also worth checking out, they range from easy to hardest on terms of difficulty and it may take a while to get to grips with the tougher courses. You can rate each other’s creations and if you wish add them then to a list of favourites to quickly access from the main menu.
If you are used to all the nice touches that the Tiger Woods games bring such as the after spin then you’ll have to do some adjusting here. Treat this game as though you are actually playing golf, there is no levelling up or the ability to enhance your holders abilities, it’s all about your own skill, which was clearly lacking for me in the first few hours of play, but as time went on I was easily hitting fairways. Putting is particularly tough, I started off a bit like Happy Gilmore in that respect, “just tap it in. just tap it in. Give it a little tappy. Tap Tap Taparoo”. I’m still not brilliant but more often than not I’m putting within two shots. For more experienced players you can modify your shot to improve where you’ll end up but if you don’t use it you won’t out greatly.
Socially the game holds up really well, as well as being able to play on other peoples created courses you can also add up to three rivals to any course you play, this will then allow you to see your opponents ghosts playing alongside you, it’s nice to see their progress against yours though there were a couple of times when putting where I found it a bit distracting. You can play with live friends too and you also have the ability to drop into games very quickly. You can make some basic customisations to your golfer but it’s all very basic and you won’t spend much time playing with your look.
It’s not all fairways and lush greens though for the Golf Club, visually the game isn’t as impressive as I’d hope, there is lots of screen tearing and some of the textures just look flat. The commentator is the most annoying person in the world, to me he comes over as being quite sarcastic, and has earned himself a good muting. I’ve experience some sound glitches in the menus and lots disconnections during my sessions resulting in me losing progress, hopefully some of this can be addressed with a patch though.
After a couple of hours I was finding it hard to justify the price tag of the game (£27.99) but has time has gone on I can see me playing this for quite a while, the challenge of beating your friends gives me the Everybody’s Golf vibe and the prospect of some brilliant user-created courses will keep the game fresh. If you fancy a change of pace, give the Golf Club a try.
MLG Rating: 7.5/10 Format: PS4/XboxOne Release Date: Out Now
Disclosure: Midlife Gamer were provided a copy of The Golf Club by the Publisher for review purposes. The title was reviewed over the course of 8 days on an Xbox One. For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.