When I first played and reviewed the original version of The Golf Club on Xbox One, I was taken aback by not just the simplicity, but also the depth that it brought. Whilst there was no career as such in place, it did a job superbly well, filling the golf gap that was made when former world #1 Tiger Woods’ career went into a bit of a nosedive. EA were taking time off and there was the chance for a new kid on the block to grab their bag, get out the big sticks and start sinking birdies and eagles before the big boys got back into action.
But a year is a long time in the video game world, and not only are EA back in the game, this time with Rory McIlroy, but the whole ‘next generation’ of gaming is in full swing. Gamers are begging for more and this is where The Golf Club Collector’s Edition comes neatly into play.
Whilst EA have the power ups, spins and fun add-ons pretty much sewn up with Rory McIlroy PGA Tour, The Golf Club sticks with the tried and tested serious route, with a right stick swing and no spin ensuring that it is still the go-to game for all serious golfers. The beauty that it initially came to us with is still in place, the brilliant mechanics still work tremendously well and the various customisations that we are now used to are still sitting pretty.
But now, alongside the beautiful procedurally generated random courses, the play a round, play a tournament and play a tour modes, comes the addition many have been waiting for.
A proper career.
The Seasons mode ensures that those who were left wanting more from the original effort can turn up, jump into their golf cart once more and play in some serious contests. With five competitions in all; the Local Club, Amateur, Pro-Am, Pro and Elite seasons, The Golf Club has expanded to a decent enough degree to warrant the cheap upgrade from the standard game.
Working your way up to and through the competitions on offer, initially starting at Local Club level, you’ll need to be able to compete at a high enough standard, finishing tenth or higher in the long run, in order to open up each of the subsequent Seasons competitions along the way. With events spread over numerous courses, you’ll need to bring your A-game to the table in order to beat the scores of your opponents. Starting off relatively simply, with you only needing to birdie a few of the holes in order to put away your local club level fellow golfers, it doesn’t take long before you find yourself going up against those with much higher skills levels and desires to win. It may not seem like a huge addition, and only five levels of difficulty point to that, but for the average golfer, it’ll take some time for you to win each and every stage.
With a trophy room keeping track of what you have and haven’t won, and all the usual stupidly in-depth stats that HB Studios’ golfer brings, then it’s easy enough to compare your efforts and see which part of your game needs the most work.
There have also been a few new additions to the course customisation options included with the Collector’s Edition. Whilst the usual placements of trees, objects and hazards are all present, the additions of Tropical, Delta and Highlands areas ensure that the number of themes available have risen. With only the limits of your imagination the stumbling blocks, each of the three new settings provide new and unique moments in the golfing calendar, and so if you had created and published tens of unique courses to the online world, exhausting all the previous options available to you, then the new additions are more than worthy inclusions. To be honest though, if you had ever managed to make any two courses look the same, then hats off to you because the options included even the first time around in the Greg Norman Course Designer are tremendous.
For those who were ultimately left deflated by the arrival of EA onto the new generation golfing scene with their underpowered McIlroy effort, The Golf Club is still open and happy to accept new members. Just now, with the addition of the Collector’s Edition and the Seasons career mode and new course add-ons that it brings, it’s a little more thorough, exclusive club. Perhaps not as long in length as that from the EA management, but a sexier looking, better playing club all the same.
And that’s the club where we all wanna hang out!