STAFF REVIEW of Golf Club 2, The (Xbox One)


Monday, July 10, 2017.
by Brent Roberts

Golf Club 2, The Box art Now, I should make this clear, I am probably the worst golfer on the planet. I've hit drives that have curled and gone behind me, so yeah, sadly you can't stand anywhere and be safe with me. Despite this though, I love golf. I love the endless pursuit of perfect muscle memory and sensory adaptation on the fly to project a small ball numerous football fields in length into a cup no bigger than your fist.

In the past Microsoft had a game called Links which, in my opinion, was a fantastic golf game thanks to its attention to a more realistic approach. Sadly, that series is long gone and in its place we have games like the recently released The Golf Club 2, developed by HB Studios and published by Maximum Games, which aims to deliver a truly authentic golfing experience that is more on the side of simulation than arcade. Priced at $40, if the quality is there, The Golf Club 2 (TGC2) should make the big companies a little concerned. So, does TGC2 hit a hole in one, or does it reach the stroke limit and head to the clubhouse in shame?

I mentioned that TGC2 is more of a simulation than an arcade experience. Instead of arcade style golf games like EA's PGA Tour Series, where you can control the spin of the ball in mid-flight and you had landing zones and all other kinds of guidelines to help you (granted as the games progressed you could turn all that off), in TGC2 you get very, very little. This makes the entire game more realistic, but if the execution is subpar, then it really doesn't matter.

When you start off you're going to select which analog stick you wish to use for your swing, I personally chose LS because that's what I've always used. Now, the swing is measured in a few ways, and I'll use my LS choice in this example. You end up pulling back (down) and your golfer will start his/her backswing. At the top point of the backswing you will push the stick forward (up) and your golfer will proceed with their follow through. Now you just read that your swing is measured in a few ways and here they are.


Your backswing is measured by distance and tempo and can range from slow to perfect. Your follow through is also measured on the same guidelines, but both are also measured by how straight your motion on the backswing and follow through are. Should your thumb slide too far off to the side, your ball will sail wildly into deep rough causing you all kinds of trouble. Now, while we are talking about the swing mechanics, I have a few issues to point out.

The first one is that at times the game can suffer from graphical lag which can affect your input of your swing and your timing. This isn't good when you have a game based off of visual input. This can cause numerous shots where you wanted a lighter touch but end up crushing your approach shot to well off the green. This issue is especially annoying when you are putting. Dear Lord it can be horrible, as you think you can hit a soft 7 foot put, but you end up thrashing it 15-20 feet past the hole. The tutorial will help you get a rough feel for it, but thankfully there is a driving range, chipping area, and putting practice so you can go through various lies and shot types to get a sense of how the ball and club will react. I can't stress enough how important it is that you spend a lot of time here as you will need to get used to another aspect of your swing. The adjustments.

To help you a little bit, the game allows you to press the X button to change between normal shot, pitch, flop, punch, etc. However, that's only going to adjust the type of shot and the distance, for further adjustments you need to hold the LT. You can't alter the ball mid-flight like you can in other fantasy golf games, so by using the LT like this TGC2 offers you the ability to alter your shot. Upon pressing the LT, it opens up your shot modification menu and allows you adjust the loft (more or less) as well as your push or pull of the ball upon impact. This is tricky as your different angles will do different things to your ball.

For instance, let's say you have a club that hits 175 yards, and you decide to put maximum loft on the ball (which will naturally shorten the distance of the club), and just like in life you won't be able to see how much the increase in loft will affect your ball, so you'll have to do the famous try and try again until you understand about how much distance giving full loft takes away from your shot. These nuances will either make or break your round of virual golf, so expect to replay some courses many, many times as you now take into account wind, ball placement (does it rest on the side or angle of a hill or flat?) and other varying factors that will plague you throughout your rounds. It's as realistic as it can get for a console golf game.


Thankfully, you're going to be taking part in a short tutorial on the various types of shots, clubs, etc. Upon completion of this you can customize your character. There's much to adjust and customize as long as you have the virtual coin to do it. All of it is pure cosmetic so unless you want to go for the achievement of collecting over 100 items of clothing, hats, etc., you don't have to spend your coins here. The reason is you can also edit your current items and give them different colors, logos, and other distinct looks. After your stint customizing your player, it's time to get down to business. There are two main modes you'll choose from: play and career. Let's tackle the play mode first.

In the play mode you can select your course through a variety of course selection choices such as friend's favorites, your own favorites, to official courses and much, much more. Once you have selected the course you can edit gameplay it how you want such as tee locations and so on. Multiplayer is an option, but as of this time I hadn't played a round of it yet. Before you dive into a round you're given some options such as check out more courses by the creator, favorite this one, etc. However, there's one important option in the top right corner and that says "practice". Sometimes getting in a practice round so you know what you're about to get into is going to be beneficial so you're not blind out there. Each course also carries with it various challenges for select holes such as score under par on hole 7 with one putt or less. Completing these challenges will earn you coins and completing 200 challenges will earn you an achievement.

The other mode, your career mode, is where you can get your first taste of TGC2's offering called Societies. Your career society is different than your multiplayer one, however your career one is where you select varying amounts of events to construct an entire season. The more you level up your career society, the more events you can compete in within one season thus earning you more money, etc. There isn't to much to go on with regards to the seasons and leveling up your society clubhouse to hold more events because there really isn't a point outside of leveling up your golfer. You can also make your clubhouse more and more appealing at you go through the career mode. There are ghosts and rivals you can load into your game should you feel the need to have some form of direct competition, which includes the developers themselves, and it's safe to say that the latter know these courses very, very well.


One of the many aspects of golf has to be the scenery. The environment that includes these sweeping fairways, and ever lurking tall roughs, is incredible in TGC2, so good in fact that there are some graphics issues (one I already mentioned about the swing) where the environment will "pop" in elements such as trees and rocks, etc. that you didn't see before which causes moments of screen tearing. Another slight gripe would the loading times. In a golf game it seems like the most extensive item to load would be the surrounding environment, however, for some reason the times loading a tournament, and in between holes, is rather long and with no way to speed up the animation of your ball, sometimes you find yourself waiting... and waiting... and waiting. It might be something to do with the Unity graphics engine they are using, and I could only imagine what would happen with a better tools in this area.

Despite some graphic hiccups upon some good looking visuals, I'm sorry to say that the music, while tranquil and peaceful (as golf music should be) isn't memorable and the voice acting for the announcer leaves a lot to be desired as well. The clubs sound solid though, as each wood, iron, and specialty club sound different from one another, and hitting from different terrain (e.g. fairway, rough, sand trap, etc.) which is important in a game like this.

Now, I know it seems like I'm coming down on this game here and there, but despite some of the drawbacks, The Golf Club 2 is, right now, the elite golf experience on the Xbox platform. With EA having a tough time with their golf game, HB Studios simply crushed it with The Golf Club 2. It's going to seem frustrating, aggravating (especially putting), and at times it will test the durability of an Xbox Elite controller, but all of that stress, anguish, and turmoil melts away instantly when you unlock the achievement of getting a hole-in-one from over 250+ yards (I literally jumped up yelling and cheering when I hit it). Then it's back to normal and I ended up getting a bogey on the next hole. One thing is for certain, and that's The Golf Game 2 will take you on a ride of emotions. Is it worth $39.99 plus tax? Without a doubt it is.




Overall: 8.0 / 10
Gameplay: 8.0 / 10
Visuals: 8.4 / 10
Sound: 7.0 / 10

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