The first real golf simulation game for Xbox One is now available from the Games Store as The Golf Club. Developed by HB Studio’s, The Golf Club is serious business for golf gaming fans complete with its own course designer allowing you to set challenging holes for players on Xbox LIVE. With some features that rival the PGA Tour series, virtual golfing with this simulator can be a satisfying experience. It may lack the licensed players and courses based on their real-world counter-parts, but The Golf Club is a raw, stripped bare title where it’s one man and his 7-Iron with potentially unlimited courses so long as you have plenty of free time to explore them all!
Straight from the main menu that itself resembles a modern Windows Metro application, you can choose from a variety of options that include playing just a round, a whole Tour or even a full-on Tournament. For new gaming golfer’s or just to get you back in full swing again (if it’s been awhile) it’s worth practising out on just a Round to get used to the controls and the thinking process behind the accuracy of your shots. Unless you have extra controllers and more friends or family who want to challenge you, you will be limited to just Stroke Play mode (solo) because the game doesn’t allow for online gameplay with multiple players. If you’ve just dropped what you’re holding or even spat out something you’re drinking and thinking WTF no online multiplayer! The Golf Club is community focussed on course building and sharing as well as statistics and competitive scoring against your Xbox LIVE friends and other members of the community. I wasn’t all that bothered about the lack of online multiplayer lobbies because it was generally quite refreshing not having to wait all that time for other people to take their shots!
Once you are more familiar with the game and its functions because with any golfing simulation practise, practise and more practise still doesn’t quite make perfect; you might try a Tournament or two and Tour some competitions? You could be fully competent on the fairway, but a little rusty on the Green or vice-versa but at least the more familiar you become with The Golf Club, the less intimidating it becomes – especially for newbies! In both of these modes you do at least encounter online “Ghost” players who are taking their shots alongside you. Gameplay in short is pure golf, no other way to dress it up other than you swing, hit the ball and use your judgement against wind direction, terrains and distance with clubs to get as near to the hole as possible with the least amount of shots. You’re always going to hope for at least a Par with Birdies and Eagles being a bonus. Then you repeat your efforts on each hole, over a selection of official or community made courses. The great thing about golf is that no two rounds are ever the same, and it really is very competitive and addictive.
If you are the creative type of individual with a perfect course in mind or an idea at least of something spectacular to test your limits, then you could create it in the included course designer menu which allows you to first choose a theme setting from rural greenery, alpine mountains, autumn forests, desert or rough links. Once you’ve got the ideal backdrop, you can then think about terrain options for your trees, water and hills followed by how many holes on your course and its difficulty. Once you have the basics all set, you can then tweak many other available options that include rough land, hazards, edges, pars, bunkers, and a whole lot more. It is worth spending some considerable time in the designer to adapt yourself and get familiarised with process; it also has a marker that can be rotated around the course like a mouse cursor to select the objects you want to enhance. If you have ever played Halo before, you could think of the course designer as the Forge golfing equivalent. It has a vast array of tools to build any form of course that you wish; it may not at first appear to be all that straight forward, but you do soon learn how to tweak all that you need to or go for randomiser if you want to allow random selections – and additionally you can even go straight in and test your new course at any time in the creation process.
The Golf Club is a great golfing simulator and has the best course designer I’ve seen in quite some time where you can spend hours upon hours crafting the perfect course with a full 18 set of holes, but it has only one downfall which doesn’t in any way hinder the whole experience, but still worthy of a mention – the visual quality. The Golf Club’s graphical quality is not all that great for what may be high expectation on a next-gen console. With jagged edges, pop-ins and environments that still load on screen as your ball is shooting through the air, then out of nowhere a tree just magically appears! It’s a minor flaw, but one you can’t help but notice.
If you’re not familiar with golf simulation on console or PC, then I cannot recommend The Golf Club enough as a great title to get you introduced to the complexities of swinging a great shot. It’s an addictive, yet relaxing game without all the glitz and over-the-top presentations that feature in most PGA Tour titles. The Golf Club is the best community focussed golfing simulation of all time where publishing your own courses is as easy as Minecraft. It offers endless hours of entertainment and can be enjoyed even if you’re not a golf expert.
Well recommended for Xbox One gamers from thisisxbox.com, thank you to PlanOfAttack for the review code.