365 D.o.G. - Day 225: World Golf Tour
Written by: OSUBoarder - 03:48 Aug-14-2013

     Golf is one of those hobbies that seems to evoke one of two reactions from people: either they love it or they absolutely cannot stand it. I myself enjoy playing a game with friends but at the same time we do not take it incredibly seriously and we just have fun with it. I am actually going golfing tomorrow so I thought maybe today’s game would help me get in the mindset. There have been numerous different golfing games for a variety of consoles with one of the most popular being the golfing section being Wii sports. It is usually treated more like an arcade experience than a serious game but today’s selection is seeking to change that perception.

World Golf Tour

     World Golf Tour is a free online golf game by creators of WGT Chad Nelson and YuChiang Cheng. The game allows players to play online either in single player sessions or against other players on courses that are replicas of real world locations and gear that can actually be found in actual golf shops.

     The biggest draw for this game is attention to detail when it comes to courses themselves. Using a process that consisted of taking thousands of pictures and combining them with Google Maps, the developers created almost identical virtual representations of real world location down to the exact flows and layouts of the green. In theory a player could play on these virtual courses and then take that knowledge of the different holes to the actual location and improve their game. While I cannot verify this fact myself, the website claims that professional golfers have used this service to do some off-location practice.

     The game is played in the browser and thus does not require any download after creating a profile. Most of the controls are through the mouse. You click and drag by the club to set the power and then you have to stop the slider at the right moment to hit the ball square and straight. Since you cannot physically move the character and thus change the aim, any direction changes are done by using the wind, hooking/slicing the ball, or using the golf ball diagram to pick the point of impact. The rest of the aiming is done by the game itself and in theory you will only have to intentionally change directions in the event of high wind or when putting on a sloped surface. This sounds easy at first but I soon found that game to be much more challenging and detailed. The game will automatically select the recommended club for each hit based on location but you can also choose your own club. You must also account for windage, elevation changes and the speed of the surface you are hitting from. For example, it takes more power to hit from the rough or sand pit than from the fairway or tee.

      As you play, you gain experience and level up. The levels do not reflect actual skill so much as the amount of time you have played the game. On each level rise you gain access to new equipment in the pro shop that emulates real life equipment. These could be better clubs or cosmetic changes for your character. To purchase these items you must use credits which can be bought with real money or earned by completing offers, filling out surveys, watching videos, shopping online, etc. As far as I can tell there is no way to earn these just by playing but there also does not appear to be much benefit to having better equipment unless you plan on competing in the high stakes tournaments the site hosts. These tournaments require a small pay in fee but can net you a large payout if you happen to win.

Final Thoughts

     I was actually surprised at the depth and level of quality that World Golf Tour possesses. Although I was absolutely awful at the game (hopefully I’m better tomorrow), it was a pretty entertaining way to pass some time. Honestly I do not see this game being something that I will be putting much more time into and I would rather just play golf in real life than spend micro transactions playing this online game. If you do want to check this out though you can find it here.

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I played the Tiger Woods series a lot with my old PS2 :D
Quite enjoyable really, especially with friends :)