The handy thing about computer golf is that, compared to the real thing, it's relatively easy to play - sinking a hole of 584 yards in three shots is actually perfect feasible (if admittedly pretty hard). The best thing about this is that it opens up ample opportunity to invite over some of your less knowledgeable friends and (providing you've practised a bit) fool them into thinking you're not only brilliant at the computerised version, but a complete professional at the real thing too.
A corker of an idea, I'd have though, especially as these golfing games tend to be pretty good fun even when you're not dead set on impressing somebody. The only problem is, which one to buy?
Until now, the choice has been rather limited because (apart from the dated, if rather brilliant, Leaderboard series), most of them have been endorsed by some golfer or other. This means things tend to be a bit 'one sided' as far as gameplay tactics are concerned, and (worse still) they mean a picture of a grinning Jack Nicklaus or Greg Norman cropping up on screen every two seconds (which tends to put you off a bit). Add to that the fact that most golf games tend to be a little too complicated to play, and rather slow while they're about it, and you'll soon see that while they're all 'quite good', there's no clear cut winner. Until now, that is, because here's another one, and it's actually jolly good.
There are a lot of good things about PGA Tour Golf (we'll call it PGA for short), but the real beauty of it is that it's all so simple to play - so simple in fact that you could probably throw away the instruction manual and work out how to do it for yourself. Let's dive in for a closer look.
Some points about the game:
1. Everything you'll need is operated via pull down menus, or single key presses if you prefer, which makes for an incredibly user-friendly game. Starting to play is a real cinch, therefore - my advice would be to practice your driving (i.e. wacking balls into oblivion) on the diving range, then your putting on the green, before you actually get down to any serious competitions. (That way you'll be suitable ready to impress any chicks who happen to pass by while you're playing).
2. Once you've got the feel of the controls (which won't take a minute), you can put your driving and putting together and practice on the four courses, playing either the whole of each course, or swopping between courses and holes at will.
Chances are you won't be getting par for a while (in other words, you won't be completing the hole in the number of shots it would take you if you were any good), but don't worry, it'll come with effort.
3. For added excitement, a multiple player option is available, allowing you to play with up to three chums, which ups the fun of things considerably. If all your friends are, er, 'out' then you can play with some pretend ones (the computer plays them for you) - this can prove rather useful because you can watch how the computer plays the hole, then copy it and achieve a better result than you would have done beforehand.
4. As you play, various maps of the course, previews to each hole, overhead views of where you've got so far and details of where your ball has landed are given to you automatically if and when you need them - a nice touch which saves you piddling about with the menus every shot as in some golf games. You can turn any of the features off if you'd prefer, and then only have them displayed if selected.
5. Slightly crap players will be pleased to hear that PGA allows you to take an infinite number of 'Mulligans' - in other words cheat, and replay your last shot without the one you've just taken counting.
6. Once you've got to grips with the courses, then you can enter the Tournament. Once again, up to four players can enter (either real, or taken by the computer) and game play is the same as before, though you can't change courses or holes or rely on Mulligans to see you through. You are playing against sixty other players (although you don't see them play, thank goodness - it'd take forever) who appear merely as statistics displayed on the Leaderboard after each hole.
Most of the players have already started when you and your optional friends begin (some have practically finished the course), so you start about halfway down the table and have to score a number of points below 'par' for the course to rank among the top 48, and so move on to round two (and with any luck rounds three and four after that).
BEST GOLFING GAME TO DATE?
It all sounds pretty good, doesn't it? And it is. More than pretty good I'd say. It is - yes! - probably the best golfing game for the Amiga to date.
Without a doubt the best thing about it is that it's such a joy to use - everything you possibly need to know is given automatically just when needed, so you can concentrate on playing your shots and still know what's going on. Even the most unknowledgable golf person will be able to work out what to do, while the game offers enough realism to keep the experts happy. Providing you didn't really throw the instruction manual away (that was just my little joke back at the beginning, you see) you can check out loads of information on the courses, find out the way the pros would tackle certain problems in real life, and pick up hints on the best way to face any problems you might come across.
Being easy to use, and still fairly accurate, is all very well, I hear you saying, but is it actually any fun to play? Well, yes it is. PGA is utterly (utterly) addictive - whether you're practising 'en seul', playing a 'friendly' with some pals or completing in the tournament, it's one of those games which'll have you itching for 'just one more go before bedtime (or whatever)'. The 72 different holes (4 courses x 18) would provide long term entertainment too I'd imagine, with the tournament keeping you playing and playing until you're actually good enough to win some money. In short, I'd say that if you want a golf game for your Amiga, then this is the one to buy - it really is, for want of a slightly more original word, a 'corker'.