World Tour Golf logo

Time to don the brightly-coloured jumper, snazzy slacks and sure-grip glove, give a quick shout of "Fore!" and drive off the first tee with this new and eminently playable golf game from Electronic Arts.

Until now only three simulations of this great sport have been available to satisfy the appetites of Amiga links addicts. Accolade's Mean 18 was a worthy attempt but was let down by rather weedy graphics, while Gamestar's Championship Golf, although technically a clever simulation, features only one course and was far too complicated and fussy for its own good. Leaderboard, is perhaps the best: a massive selling golf game on other micros, it hasn't made the same impact on the Amiga.

Electronic Arts' World Tour Golf seems to have got the mix just about right. The game is a pretty fair reflection of the intricacies and challenges of golf yet at the same time manages to be addictively playable.

It can be played using either mouse or keyboard, by up to four players. The main playing screen is divided vertically. The left half gives you a detailed overhead view of the entire hole while the right is from just behind and a few feet above the golfer, starting from a point where the player's ball currently rests and looking towards the green, or hole, if on the green. The line of aim can be adjusted and any club selected for the shot - on request and as a guide, the club's range is indicated by a circle radiating out from your ball on the overhead view.

A small dial - the swing meter - allows you to gauge the strength of the shot and whether it will go straight or otherwise.
It's simply a matter of being quick with your trigger finger to stop the two hand of the dial at the right points (well, maybe not so simple judging by some violently sliced shots).

Displayed in a continuously updated panel at the top of the right-hand picture are such relevant items of information such as the name of the course, the number of the hole and its par, and your name and score for the round so far.
Some of the panel data is particularly vital - distance to the green, strength and direction of the wind, and the lie of your ball, ranging from perfect to plugged. All these factors must be taken into account when deciding what club to choose and in playing your shot.

The game has generous customised options, allowing you to tailor players' skills - tendency to hook or slice, driving distance and accuracy, and recovery from bad lies - amend names and adjust handicaps.

There are over a dozen courses to play on, some simulating the real thing like St Andrews and Augusta, some imaginary like the devilish Par 3 course. World Tour Golf has its own easy-to-use construction kit which lets you edit , design and save as many courses as you wish for future play.

The animation of the small golfer as he swings and hits the ball for you is realistic, although the flight of the ball is less so, particularly when chipping from near the edge of a green. I know my ability to put backspin on the ball is world renowned, but even I couldn't make the ball as suddenly as this one does at times.

The graphics are slightly more stylised than I would have hoped, given the Amiga's capability, but are certainly effective enough. Digitised sound effects - swish and thwack of club, splat or splash of ball in bunker or water, cries of congratulation or commiseration as your ball finally disappears into the cup - all enhance one's enjoyment. Small, novel touches like the spurt of sand as your ball buries itself in the bunker or balloon messages coming from the golfer's mouth add to the fun.

This is a first rate golf simulation. Even compared against the standard-bearer Leaderboard. World Tour wins by several strokes. And no matter if you don't know one end of a four iron from the other - you'll find this game easy to get into yet providing all the addictivity and challenge of the best of games.

World Tour Golf logo


The first golf simulator was a small tin tray seen to be lying around the carpets of executive offices. Later models got sophisticated - they shot the ball back to you. Which was all very well for your putting, but when it came to driving how could you possibly get into the swing of things?

Okay, so no golf simulator can really help you master your swings, strokes and putts, but it should give you a good idea of what club to use and when. World Tour Golf does this and more - better that you hook off the screen than into the real rough.


After choosing a course from the 24 available, you can select up to 4 golfers to take part in a 18 hole tournament. The default characteristics of certain almost famous professionals - Jack Snicklaus, Curtis Weird, Futzy Cellar and Arnie Paltry - can be modified to alter drive distance, accuracy, tendency and recovery skill.

Random factors affecting wind speed and the state of the greens are then introduced which ensure no course is ever the same twice. In fact you can expand the possibilities further with the course construction menu, allowing you to add, delete and copy holes from other courses.

On the left of the screen is a bird's eye view of the first hole complete with fairway, green, bunkers, trees and water along with a cursor indicating the default direction of the first drive. You can change this by simply clicking on an adjacent area of screen. Over on the right is a more detailed view of the immediate locality of the tee off, and also course, hole and club information.

Clicking once on the right window brings up the swing meter - the strength of your shot is determined by the amount of time you allow the swing bar to move. Clicking at the desired moment freezes the downswing and necessitates a further click to establish accuracy. Clicking too early means you will slice or fade the drive whereas if you're too late you'll hook or draw it. Once you've connected, you see the ball disappear into the distance on both screens.

The swing meter is an ingenious means of emulating a stroke although it doesn't teach you how to do real thing! At least when a shot goes you don't have to crawl on all fours in the rough looking for the darned ball. Putting is easier since you just press a numeric key to send the ball a corresponding distance.


You wouldn't really expect sound on a golf simulator would you? Apart from the thwack of the ball being hit the only other sound effects you'd be likely to hear in the real world would be of the four letter variety. That and the scampering of armadillos running for cover. It's no different here - the air around your monitor will turn blue too. Down on the screen, the predominant colour is, of course, green. The courses are beautifully drawn, with the variety of trees and bushes particularly well crafted. The animated movement of the golfer flows smoothly as he swings a stroke and if you make a bad shot a 'grimace bubble' appears. Some of the more exotic courses - with names like Goofy - have holes that could only feature in Disneyland.


Definitely a game for those days when you've been washed out, which given summer conditions in the UK should be at least half the time, and a great way of practising your theory without leaving your armchair. All in all, there's no handicap here to having a very enjoyable game.

World Tour Golf logo

Electronic Arts, £24.95 disk

Polish up your spike-soled loafers, pull on your gaudy plus-fours and your Pringle sweater, and do all those other things that golfers do - there's just time for 18 holes before you have to switch off the Amiga.

Over 12 of the world's most famous courses are available for your round, and when one has been chosen, the screen splits into an overhead view of the first hole on the left of the screen, and a view from behind and above the golfer on the right. In the upper right of the screen are displayed the course name, club selected, wind speed and direction, hole number, distance to green, and other useful information.

When you start to get the feeling that you know the position of every blade of grass, entering the game's editor mode allows the course to be completely redesigned, with the positions of trees, bunkers and water all open to change. A redesigned course can then be saved out to disk for future use.

Phil King As Leaderboard is the undoubted king of the golf simulations, and I wondered why Electronic Arts released this on the 64. I wonder even more why they released this horrendous Amiga version! The Swing Meter is just a circular form of the Carver's Hookometer, and the golfer's view of the course takes obvious inspiration from the Access game. Graphically, though, it's a lot worse, and only nearby trees are adequately defined. I can't pour enough contempt on the ball movement, it's just so unrealistic! The most comic thing is the cries from the audience when you putt the ball... Keep an eye out for US Gold's Leaderboard Birdie double pack, instead.
Phil King There are good, average, bad and utterly awful golf simulations and I'm afraid World Tour Golf fits into the last of these categories. The 3D just isn't at all credible, and the game appears to be taking place on a large green carpet dotted with a few minuscule plastic trees. I almost choked laughing when the ball flew off on the most horrifically jerky flight path imaginable. The control method is equally bad, requiring four hits of the mouse button before you even hit the ball! One of the screenshots on the package makes note of a 'typical hole' - well, this game certainly is one.