When you think of sports video games, golf is not the first thing that pops into many people’s minds. “The Golf Club” looks to change this with a game that makes golf in a game as hard as golfing in real life. “The Golf Club” features an ever expanding amount of possibilities and looks to change the way golf games are viewed.
“The Golf Club” aims to make a golf game an “emotional” experience. This is achieved through the implementation of an analogue stick control system, similar to that in the “Tiger Woods PGA Tour” games. However, the stick system of “The Golf Club” feels much more sensitive; subtle movements one way or the other can completely change the flight of a shot, even when there is no wind. Even shots that are swung down the “sweet spot” can have a bit of movement in the air. Wayward shots are punished too; anything that ends up in the deep rough will normally force you to hit a safe shot back onto the fairway, and any shots aimed to reach a green over 160 yards normally fail miserably! This makes “The Golf Club” an incredibly hard game to be consistent on, and this is before you’ve even got to the green. The putting in “The Golf Club” is the hardest putting system I have played with. It uses the same analogue system, and the subtle movements are registered and change the line dramatically. Greens are readable by a grid placed on the green. You should pay attention to the menu screen before starting a round as the green speed dictates how to play the game. The difficulty means that when you sink a long putt you feel like a king!
Going from shot-to-shot is great as there are no loading times at any point after you have loaded the course; meaning not having to stare at a scorecard for 10 seconds. Aiming shots is simple. The developers haven’t used a grid area where your ball should land; instead they give you a circle and the ability to zoom to a general landing area. “The Golf Club” really doesn’t want to give you any extra help! There is a commentator/caddy with you who generally only tells you distances and your lie, nothing that you can’t find from the game’s well-designed user interface. The commentator does become repetitive after a few rounds, but luckily you can turn him off in the settings menu.
Club selection is simple: using the bumpers changes clubs up and down, and any club can be used anywhere; so you can take a putter off the tee. This would make for some interesting user created course ideas. Like real golf, “The Golf Club” makes it harder to use higher clubs and woods from the rough, and any attempts of using a driver “off the deck” (ground) will end with a very short and poor shot. “The Golf Club” provides you with percentages of the distance a club will hit from your lie; pay attention to these as they affect every shot apart from tee shots.
You can hit different types of shot depending on your placement on the course, “The Golf Club” offers the normal shot types: normal, punch, pitch, chip and flop. Get acquainted with how different shots work and perform, as different courses and conditions make them necessary in different situations.
“The Golf Club” is very visually appealing on the whole. The textures are nice for the most part, however there are some blocky edges, and I felt that the hardware of the Xbox One wasn’t fully taken advantage of. The rough is the worst part as the ball doesn’t appear to fall down into the rough like it should, especially in the deeper stuff. Most everything else looks like it should, but I feel like there could have been more detail. The only reason they probably didn’t add more detail was because of the procedural course generation, in the same way that “Minecraft” isn’t more detailed due to the same generating technique. Just a quick note; remember to turn VSync on in the settings menu to avoid any tearing on larger screens.
Golf Course Creator
How many golf games do you know that came with unlimited amounts of DLC? Not many. “The Golf Club” has a course creator that allows users to create pretty much anything. The lack of real courses doesn’t bother me as I know someone will make an exact replica within a month. The course creator has also inspired some crazy designs; for example holes with portaloos dotted around, vast amounts of animals spread around the fairways etc. The possibilities are somewhat endless, in a golfing sense! I struggled with the course editor myself as I found that the generation of new courses or changing something took far too long. I also struggled to make my own layout easily, but I struggle with most creation tools. If you have the time, patience and talent it seems that anything is possible.
Multiplayer comes with both local and online variations. You can play locally with 1-4 players with a choice of standard stroke play (which works for 1-4 players), match player which is a head-to-head 2-player-only game, and 4 ball which is only for 4 players. Local games are quick and easy to set up and you can use a single controller. Shots are determined as they would be in a real game; the most recent winner of a hole gets to tee off first, followed by the person furthest away going first after. Generally it works well but it does make the game slower. However, the competitiveness is pretty fierce!
You can also play over Xbox Live. To do so you can start a game with friends, or select rivals. These rivals can be any recent players, the top scorers or your friends. You can select up to three rivals at once. Rivals make playing alone much more fun, as you can play to beat friends and you can see exactly where the best scorers made their shots. The top scorers normally hole everything they putt. Unfortunately for me, I cannot putt! The players are marked by dots so you can see their flights and distances to the pin, which generally makes the game more entertaining!
“The Golf Club” is an excellent golf game and well welcomed competition to “Powerstar Golf”. “The Golf Game” is excellent for anyone who wants a more realistic golf experience where shooting +10 is highly likely. There are times of frustration when you don’t hit good shots and the game seems to work against you, but no golf game is as rewarding as this! The course creator also brings an unlimited amount of possibilities. DLC won’t be a factor in the long-term. The gameplay makes up for the average graphics, and the ability to play the ghosts of others with no loading screens makes this the new benchmark in golf games for next-gen.