Score: 9/10 | SPORT | MULTIPLAYER | SOCIAL
“Although I wasn’t expecting a golf game to be almost fully online only, it’s safe to say that this is definitely my favourite golf simulator to date.”
As a fan of golf games ever since I was a kid, I’ve watched them graphically evolve over the years but the gameplay experience always felt the same. Having been retired from the fairway for several years, I went in playing The Golf Club feat. PGA Tour with neutral expectations. But I was pleasantly surprised to find that my experience would differ from golf games past.
The follow up to 2017’s The Golf Club 2 by HB Games, as well as the first in the franchise to be published by 2K Games, has the same focal point of playing socially with friends. In saying this, a large majority of the game does require internet connection including the ability to gain in-game currency and EXP. But even if you don’t have friends who own the game, you can play against ghost players or matchmake with other players online. An offline option is available though if you’re wanting to play a solo match or challenge up to three other local players.
The Societies mode is the headlining feature though, simulating a Golf Club where you can be a member of an online community. Having to pay a membership fee to become a member along with playing in events with an additional entry fee made me feel like I was part of a real club. There’s plenty of online groups to suit all tastes that range from casual play to championship pro level. You can even create your own club for your friend group and set it to private membership to keep other players out. Upgrades can also be made to your club house, but in my opinion it didn’t feel like it made too much of a difference.
But before checking out Societies, I definitely needed a few offline matches to polish up my skills. Being used to having a Power Bar to determine my swing, it felt challenging at first using a new Pull Back Push Forward system. But it did feel refreshing that making a perfect shot required actual skill and a steady thumb. A slippery shot, mixed with a wind gust and my ball was bound for the bunker on more than one occasion. Playing around with clubs and shot types improved my score and handicap immensely. The added sense of realism in the games ball physics are another key feature that makes The Golf Club 2019 feat. PGA Tour stand out as a golf simulator. I also enjoyed the running commentary and how it would always change depending on how good or bad my game was. The more I played, the more it felt like it was a real televised game of golf. The courses I practiced on were also nothing short of amazing. Ranging from breezy cliff-sides to green fairways in the middle of the dessert. I was even able to capture a couple of beautiful screenshots as I teed off against a gorgeous sunset. They really put in a lot of effort making absolutely stunning courses to play on.
Some of the locations may look familiar with the addition of official PGA Tour courses being used in the new PGA Tour career mode. It doesn’t follow a story narrative, mainly focusing on competing to be the best of the best. You go from qualifying for the Web.com Tournament with the end goal of winning the FedEx Cup. It’s a true test of skill, but also has a wide difficulty range to choose from. In the process you gain currency, add trophies to your cabinet, be rewarded by sponsors with exclusive apparel for your golfer and gain EXP points. However, I noticed the leveling did repeat itself on occasion in regards to progress but eventually made up for the missing exp the next time I logged in.
For those feeling creative and inspired by the fairways they’ve already played on, then the Course Designer is the feature for you. The return of the Course Designer allows you to fully customize your own 18-hole course. And it doesn’t even have to contain all 18 holes. You can create a 1-hole, desert themed course with plenty of water hazards or a bumpy 9-holes in the Countryside. Courses can be sculpted however you want with almost no limitations. You can even share your creations with other golfers to play on. And if you designed courses in The Golf Club 2 you also have the ability to import your creations across to this game.
Although I wasn’t expecting a golf game to be almost fully online only, particularly the career mode, it’s safe to say that this is definitely my favourite golf simulator to date. It’s a well polished golf game with a social experience that kept me more than satisfied.
The Golf Club feat. PGA Tour is available now on Xbox One and Playstation 4 and I’m giving it a 9 out of 10.