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Thousands of courses
Intuitive course designer
No real pros
Limited on real courses
HB Studios is the only developer currently making an ongoing series of serious golf sims. However, The Golf Club is a franchise that has improved with each entry and their 2019 edition is arguably the best golf sim ever made. The first in the series to be published by 2K Sports, The Golf Club 2019 capitalized on EA Sports’ absence by snagging the official PGA Tour license. Real courses such as TPC Sawgrass and the TPC Scottsdale Stadium course are rendered to scale in stunning detail.
The race for the FedEx Cup in career mode offers a mix of the aforementioned real courses and fantastic fictitious courses designed by HB Studios. An intuitive course designer lets players put their creative hats on to construct courses for players across the world to play. With thousands of great courses to choose from, The Golf Club 2019 has more content than you could ever possibly want. And with regular online tournaments, The Golf Club 2019 has a dedicated community of golf fans.
The on-the-course gameplay is more realistic than EA Sports games of the past. This is a sim for those who want robust dedication to realism that challenges before it rewards. The Golf Club 2019 is a must-buy for golf fans.
Lots of variety
Simple to pick up and play
Riffs on popular games
Described as a game “for those who hate golf,” What the Golf? is one of the funniest and consistently entertaining arcade golf games ever made. While it starts off with you taking swings at a golf ball, you very soon realize that this game is patently absurd. Sometimes you’re hitting the golfer himself at the pin. Other times it’s a rolling chair or a car. Before you know it, you’re smacking a horse off a diving board.
Though mechanically very simple, What the Golf? thrives on its variety. You enter levels through a top-down overworld, with each of the courses featuring three separate challenges. Each level features a unique aesthetic, riffing on Super Mario Bros., Superhot, Portal, Donkey Kong, and more, delivering themed levels that are as hilarious as the catchphrases that pop up when you hit the pin.
To be clear, you don’t have to hate golf to love this zany golf game. You just need to have an affinity for the outrageous. Constantly surprising and relentlessly witty, What the Golf? is one of the best indie games of 2019.
Great motion controls
Immersive golf experience
Based on outdated game
HB Studios used The Golf Club, the first game in its golf sim series, as a template for The Golf Club VR. The result is one of the most realistic golf experiences you can enjoy from your own living room. Compatible with the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and Valve Index, Each level features a unique aesthetic, riffing on Super Mario Bros., Superhot, Portal, Donkey Kong, and more.
Since The Golf Club VR uses the template of the original game in the series, some of the quality of life improvements introduced in The Golf Club 2 and The Golf Club 2019 are unfortunately absent. However, the original game was still a solid entry in the series, and The Golf Club VR manages to use that foundation to create something more engaging.
Best played with motion controllers (and in open space), The Golf Club VR lets you drive, chip, and putt as if you were really on the course. And because the motion tracking is so precise, you have to actually put in the effort to hit a good shot. Tempo, swing plane, follow through — all of the important factors of your swing come into play.
While you may only have a handful of local courses, The Golf Club VR has more than 130,000 procedurally generated and user-created courses for you to try. With this much variety, you could tee it up on a different course every day for the rest of your life.
Lots of real courses and golfers
No online play
While it may seem odd to have a golf game released in 2007 on this list, after Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08, EA abandoned PC for subsequent entries, opting for the free-to-play Tiger Woods Online instead. The series returned to PC with Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12, but that was more of a glorified Tiger Woods Online.
This brings us back to Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08, a genuinely great golf game for PC that remains the most current method for playing some of the most famous courses in the world. Sure, the playable pros are outdated, missing some of the best in the game today, but you can’t beat the course selection. The 16 courses include world-famous tracks like Pebble Peach, Firestone Country Club, St. Andrews, Pinehurst No. 2, and Carnoustie.
Like just about every game in the PGA Tour series, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08 finds a great balance between realism and arcade fun. Once you get the hang of the swing system, it’s not too hard to start turning in certifiably “video game” type scores. At the same time, it’s nice to step into the cleats of the pros and tee it up at a bunch of the most beautiful courses on the planet.
Great for parties
Golf With Your Friends is an ironic title for this mini golf game, since you may not have any friends after playing. Designed as a party game for up to 12 players, Golf With Your Friends has been in early access for 2016. While that fact might raise some eyebrows, Blacklight Interactive teamed up with Team17, the renowned publisher of Overcooked, earlier this year.
Each of the eight courses in Golf With Your Friends offers a nice and appropriately wacky mini-golf aesthetic. There’s also a level editor to create your own courses to play with friends. More courses and features are in the works as well. At the moment, Golf With Your Friends does currently have its share of unsightly bugs. But because it’s mini-golf and you’re squaring off against friends, the bugs are tolerable and sometimes even quite funny.
Sure, things can get tense when you need a hole-in-one to beat your best buddy, but Golf With Your Friends is meant to be a casual experience that provides a ton of laughs. It accomplishes that goal at a low price.
Course Forge design suite
Unpredictable at times
In 2016, the legendary Jack Nicklaus partnered with Perfect Golf to create Jack Nicklaus Perfect Golf, a realistic golf sim exclusively for PC. Jack Nicklaus Perfect Golf, while not on the same level as The Golf Club series still offers a solid golfing experience that has only improved since launch.
Naturally, Jack Nicklaus Perfect Golf includes a number of real courses designed by The Golden Bear, including Muirfield Village. The gameplay strives for realism and it mostly succeeds in this department, albeit with less smoothness and consistency as The Golf Club. Jack Nicklaus Perfect Golf excels because of its variety. Along with stroke play, you can play online against friends in match play, skins games, alternate shot, and even a scramble.
The most interesting aspect of Jack Nicklaus Perfect Golf is the Course Forge, an included course design tool used for creating 3D environments. Nicklaus uses Course Forge himself, so the opportunity to create courses using the same tools as one of the greatest golfers of all time is pretty darn cool.
Great puzzle gameplay
Sometimes too easy
A relaxing card-based puzzler centered around golf, Golf Peaks is quite different than most games on this list. Your goal is to climb a mountain by finishing more than 100 unique puzzle levels across nine themed worlds. Rather than hitting the ball with the flick or tap of the mouse, you choose cards with numeric movements and directions to command the ball to start moving.
Golf Peaks has a wonderfully relaxing aesthetic with loads of white space and calming tunes in the background. While it starts off simply enough, the more you progress, the more the intricately designed levels will definitely test you. Brilliantly conceived from top to bottom, Golf Peaks works so well because it’s both relaxing and mentally engaging; a rarity in the puzzle game space. The golf theme works super well here. Though it may be a stretch to bunch Golf Peaks together with the more traditional golf games on this list, it’s more than deserving of your attention.
Golf Peaks provides hours of relaxing enjoyment at an excellent value.
Lots of personality
Wacky 2D mechanics
Low on content
If you know anything about the Worms franchise, you already know that Worms Crazy Golf isn’t your traditional arcade golf game. This action-packed take on golf has gorgeous cartoon visuals and an array of wild levels that make the sidescrolling golf gameplay unpredictable and constantly enjoyable.
In addition to explosive obstacles, enemies, and multi-level layouts, Worms Crazy Golf has a variety of power-ups that can drastically alter your traditional shots. The gameplay is incredibly approachable, relying on simple cursor aiming and shot meter clicks to determine your distance. The real fun comes from all of the different ways things can quickly go awry, including enemies that knock back your ball, sheep that explode, and magnets that draw your shot off target.
Though light on content, Worms Crazy Golf has excellent replay value thanks to a laundry list of solo challenges and local multiplayer for up to four players. Worms Crazy Golf is best played with friends, but no matter how you play it, just know to expect the unexpected.
Grabbing a copy of The Golf Club 2 is the next best thing to hitting the links for real. But, if you're looking for a golf game that takes itself a little less seriously, Worms Crazy Golf is a better, easygoing option.