The game of golf to many is an up and coming sport, while others have been at it for years. I myself have roughly 30 years of golf experience under my belt, and as someone who has been around the game their entire life, I always like to check out new golf IPs. The Golf Club for PS4, Xbox One and PC is a nice simple return to the game of Golf. In The Golf Club, you are put directly in control of an anonymous player and can take on single matches by yourself, start up your own tournament, or create your own course. The player is entitled to pick up 1-4 controllers in house and have some series couch golf battles, or challenge friends and strangers and take the battles online.
Rather than have a Story/Career to try and keep up with, The Golf Club takes on more of a golf simulator role. TGC focuses simply on the game of golf itself without all the distractions of what a career mode would bring. Our in game narrator John guides us through hole by hole giving us advice on what clubs to use and provides plenty of taunts for those close, but no cigar moments. There is also the ability to customize your character from head to toe giving you a chance to look unique while hitting the links. This includes the ability to choose a Male or Female character and change styles and colors of hats, shirts, pants, body types, shoes and even the golf glove! Beyond this, it is up to you and your friends to create the stories here, much like on a real golf course. This may be disappointing for some who were hoping for that career experience, but think of it as a fresh pallet for you to create and do what you want. There are plenty statistics that can be followed and shared with friends, so in a sense, you can track your overall career, but in a more traditional/manual sense. If at any point you need to leave your game during a round, there is a nice “Continue Game” feature that can help return to the action if other duties call.
Our review copy for The Golf Club was for the PS4, and although we really had no complaints on the game visually, the game did sort of lack that overall next gen feeling. The grass looks like grass, and the tress move and certainly look like trees, but the models all seemed a bit un polished, or perhaps designed for a less powerful platform and ported up. I did very much enjoy the ball cams that follow and track your balls flight. Although sometimes I felt like the camera would stutter a bit when tracking the flight of the ball as well slightly taking away from smooth effect it was shooting for. The game’s background elements were all in place displaying mountains, buildings and clouds, but also lacked that sort of detail you might expect of a game releasing on a next gen system. All above things considered, still pretty solid over all in the scenery department and wouldn’t dock it much if any from the actual experience The Golf Club provides.
The background sounds were spot on in this game. Throughout the various courses and scenarios, the sound is on par (see what I did there?). From strong winds to birds chirping, the sounds totally complimented what you saw on screen. One thing that would be a nice addition, would be some sort of in game radio (Pandora-esk) or the ability to play your own music somehow. This could surely add to the experience when playing a round by yourself.
As previously mentioned, TGC proves to keep things simple. There are no super smash shots or any crazy unicorns that will come and eat or destroy your ball. Without direction or any kind of tutorial provided, it is almost too simple and a bit confusing at first. If you are expecting some sort of power gauge, for “extreme” shots, you might be disappointed. To swing your club in TGC, you are required to use the right analog stick on your controller and use a simple rock back and forth process. Surprisingly there is no controller adapter to help with the perfect shot… yet! So for now, it is up to patience and muscle memory to try and keep those shots on the fairway or green consistently. As easy as it sounds, there is plenty of room for error here, but practice will surely help perfect the process. Since there is no gauge or meter to reference, they have a shot modifier to help achieve those perfect distance needed for each shot. Every club has a couple variations of shot types available too which also allows for what would seem like endless ways of approaching your shots. In most cases a quick modification to your club or shot type will get you exactly what you are after in regards to your distance. Don’t forget about that wind though. The wind can play a serious factor in this game when it hits its higher gusts sending your ball into parts of the unknown.
Once you have the controls figured out, it’s all about hitting those greens. If you come up short of hitting the greens, as mentioned, you have a few shot type options to play TGC how you would play in real life. Normal, Chip, Flop, Punch and Pitch are all available options giving you different results and distances. Once you choose which shot type is right for you and you make it on to the green, it’s putting time. Maybe it’s just me, but the putting felt very fluid and seemed natural. The greens are mapped out with a grid overlay that displays any kind of break or bend that would cause the ball to change direction. Putting actually seemed to be the most consistent aspect of my experience in TGC.
For course selection, there are tons of courses available right out of the gate, and with the Greg Norman Course Designer you can expect lots of user created courses to continue to flood the TGC servers. So don’t be shy, make sure you leave your mark on TGC. The course designer is pretty straight forward and easy to create in. In fact, it only takes about 5-7 button presses to create your own course. Simply choose from 5 types of courses; Rural, Alpine, Autumn, Desert and Links. Then tell it how many trees, how much water and how hard you want the course to be and then select create. From here you can edit each individual hole adding or removing things like sand traps, water hazards and even can add random elements like a Sperm Whale in your pond or a some alligators next to the green. Sorry though, no unicorns. You can use your course as a driving range or practice course too. While in the course designer, you can play a hole or use the “play from here” feature and also can take advantage of the “Rewind Shot” option allowing you to take a mulligan for any shot.
We didn’t spend much time playing against others online. We did have a few matches and they went fine although we were unsure if the other players didn’t have a mic or if you needed to use sources outside of the game for communications. My guess is that the players we played against didn’t have a mic plugged in, if not this could prove to be a much needed addition.
The Trophy/Achievement list has a nice range of tasks that are challenging, but not frustrating. The list is actually pretty small, but don’t let that fool you. A few of these are accumulative based and might require some lengthy times to complete. There are a few that are going to take plenty of skill, as well as a bit of luck too. For example.. Get a Hole in One from over 250 yards might be a tough one as well especially since they seem to require you to play “an official TGC course.” Believe me, we tried to make it happen on a course we created.. spent roughly 40 min.. and finally sunk one to only NOT get the trophy.. lol.
One surprise was the Greg Norman endorsements. It was pretty cool to see one of the golf’s greatest embraced, and yet not abused. See, I had no idea that Greg Norman had anything to do with the game seeing as his name isn’t the title of the game. Things now a days seem pretty commercialized, and it was nice to see the touch of Greg, without it being totally exploited. All in all I think that Canadian based HB Studios nailed it on the gameplay and overall goals they set for The Golf Club. Is there room for some improvement? Sure, which is exciting to think that some DLC or a sequel might be in our future and I would surely mark my calendar if this was the case. We gave this game a 3.5 out of 5 for being a solid game, but having room for improvements. If you have not figured it out yet, I would recommend this game to any gamer out there with any desire to play golf. Young or old this game proves to be simple enough, yet engaging enough to keep the attention of all ages.
There you go guys, our The Golf Club the game review. If you have any questions or comments about this review, the game in general, or anything , feel free to ask them below on any of our social pages: (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram or our YouTube) and we will do our best to get back to you as soon as possible. While you’re on the above pages, be sure to like, follow and subscribe to stay up to date on the latest news and information that we have for you guys. Also be sure to follow us on Twitch so you can watch us noob it up on new and old games. We hope you find this review and all other things HTG to be useful and entertaining! Thanks for reading!