The Golf Club Collector’s Edition Review
A Hole In One?
The Golf Club is an interesting title. Visually, the game isn’t fantastic; some textures look sharp and beautiful at times, the blades of grass for example stand out among the blender textures. Water effects, while not groundbreaking, are good for a golf game. Get past that and the occasional screen tearing and you have a nice-looking game. A game that looks nice has to play well to be a worthy purchase, and surprisingly this is where it gets interesting.
The Golf Club has various playable modes from season to a single match. These are pretty standard and working your way through the season will undoubtedly take a few days. Teeing off has also never been easier as the game’s controls are rather simple. You use the analog stick to swing your club at the ball and that’s that. There isn’t much in the way of a detailed or advanced control scheme with visual aids. It is just plain simple and at times tough to master. The controls do get easier and more predictable the more you play, and mastering a course to get a hole in one is a definite challenge. There aren’t many ways at all to change how you put the ball in, though. Sure, you can tweak whether you want a hard putt to send it into the air, which reduces distance, or a softer putt in order to project the ball further but at a lower height — that is pretty much it.
The game isn’t groundbreaking here, and this is all you will have throughout you’re playthrough of Season Mode because of the lack of any progression and difficult controls. You can win in-game Trophies/Achievements, but sadly there are no attributes or stats and it feels extremely limited and shallow because of it. You can’t add anything to your golfer, which is extremely frustrating. I would have loved the opportunity to improve his skills with points or even buy different colored clubs in order to make him stand out, but nothing like it can be done, and you end up playing the game based on your skill and that alone. The Golf Club almost certainly steps into the simulation category more so than the average sports category like FIFA or past Tiger Woods titles as it doesn’t hold your hand anywhere. It is mostly based on judgment and the game does the calculations. You don’t have any control beyond swinging the club which, while realistic, certainly detracts from the experience as it is more of a rinse and repeat style of play.
Despite the above, there is fun to be had with The Golf Club and it comes in the form of the extremely dense Greg Norman course designer. Here, you can create some seriously elaborate courses and share them across all three platforms with ease. At a glance, it is basic customization, but it is in fact a vast and deep course designer with a ton of customization options. These range from where in the world you would like to design a course to how many lakes or trees would you want in it. You can also add a multitude of buildings, holes, a whale and much more. Land sculpting is also available and it is so simple to use too. I personally lost hours in this part of the game as creating a golf course is pretty damn fun. Playing what you’ve created is also laughable at times depending on how crazy you try and make the course. Playing other players’ courses only adds more fun and enjoyment too, lengthening the time you spend playing The Golf Club. The Collector’s Edition of The Golf Club does include a few new things. The season mode is the main feature whereas a new tropical theme has also been added to be used in the Greg Norman designer. These are certainly welcome features and they definitely add to the overall experience.
The Golf Club becomes so much better when you are using the social features available. Granted, there are still many improvements to be made, but overall it is a good solid release with average visuals and difficult to master gameplay. It will undoubtedly be at the top of your purchase list if you are a golf enthusiast and the step into simulation is overall great. I do hope that they add more features such as stats and a visual progression in a future installment, as this game could be better than good.