In the week the gaming world celebrated Video Games Day, we decided to dust off our controllers and reminisce about our favourite golf games from down the years.
Whether you’re a next generation console gamer craving the ultra-slick graphics of Rory McIlroy PGA Tour or a nostalgic player yearning for some Sensible Golf on the Amiga, there can be no doubt that the gaming industry has produced some absolutely cracking golfing games.
In honour of National Video Games Day, we delved into the history books to find golf’s defining gaming titles.
Computer Golf! (1978)
Boasting a not-so original title and questionable gameplay, Computer Golf on the Magnavox Odyssey 2 was one of the first golf games ever released.
I think the exclamation mark in the title was designed to make the game appear more dramatic but from the looks of the footage below, frustration best sums up this gaming experience – so just like real life golf in all fairness.
Released in 1986 on a number of platforms, including the Amiga and Commodore 64, Leaderboard was a huge hit with critics.
Leaderboard was published by Access Software and was the company’s third best-selling Commodore game in 1987.
It was so popular that it led Access to develop several follow-up titles, including the hugely popular Links series of games.
Microsoft Game Studios later acquired Access Software and carried on publishing the successful Links games.
Lee Trevino’s Fighting Golf (1988)
Ten years after the release of Computer Golf!, Lee Trevino’s Fighting Golf showed how far video games had advanced in a decade.
Trevino, a six-time major winner, was a playable character named Super Mex. You could also play as Pretty Amy, Miracle Chosuke and Big Jumbo.
They don’t make ’em like this anymore…
PGA Tour Golf (1990)
PGA Tour Golf is probably the most successful video game series of all time (more on that later).
The first release from Electronic Arts (EA) arrived in 1990 on several household consoles, including the Mac, Amiga and SNES. It was also later released on the Sega Master System in 1993.
Gaming critics were blown away. Mega magazine ranked it 10th in their Top Mega Drive Games of All Time.
Sensible Golf (1995)
Avid football gamers will undoubtedly have fond memories of Sensible Soccer but the lesser known golfing version didn’t quite hit the same heights.
The Amiga title borrowed graphics – and the same pin-like characters – from sister titles Sensible Soccer and Cannon Fodder to produce a beautiful looking arcade golf game.
However, the game was panned by critics for its lack of depth and unrealistic level designs. It turned out to be one of developer Sensible Software’s last releases on the Amiga.
Everybody’s Golf (1997)
Everybody’s Golf was designed as a fun take on the game of golf, to be enjoyed by both first-time and serious golfing gamers.
The game, called Hotshots Golf in the United States, was released on the PlayStation in 1997 and received generally favourable reviews.
Twenty years on and the seventh instalment of the series was released on the PlayStation 4 last month.
Mario Golf (1999)
The Italian plumber turned his attention from hopping around Mushroom Kingdom to striding down the fairways in 1999.
The iconic character was given his own golf game on the Nintendo 64 and it proved to be a massive success, even leading some to crown it the best Mario sports game ever created.
The game hit the right balance of fun and silliness for casual golf fans whilst also possessing enough depth to appeal to serious golfers.
Tiger Woods PGA Tour (1999)
Nine years after Electronic Arts had released the first PGA Tour Golf video game, Tiger Woods, golf’s hottest young golfer, signed up to endorse the popular series.
The first instalment was released on both the PC and PlayStation to mixed reviews.
But as Woods’ stock rose in the world of golf, so did the Tiger Woods PGA Tour franchise.
There were 16 Tiger Woods PGA Tour games in total, the last arriving in 2013, after which EA announced that it would end its relationship with Woods.
The latest PGA Tour Golf game from EA was endorsed by Rory McIlroy and released on the PS4 and Xbox One in 2015.
The Golf Club (2014)
The Golf Club was developed for the PS4, Xbox One and PC with the aim of utilising the social features of the next generation of consoles.
One of the standout features is the Course Creator, allowing players to channel their inner Harry Colt and design their own courses, which can then be shared and played immediately online with friends and other gamers.
The sequel, unsurprisingly called The Golf Club 2, allows you to create your own society and recruit players to take on rivals clubs.