1. PGA European Tour
PGA European Tour is a golf simulation game released in 1994. It is a remake, rather than an actual sequel to the original. The graphics have improved since it was first released and as the title indicates, this game replaces the US-based lineup with a European one. Fans can expect a whopping 60 pro golfers and 5 courses which are set across Europe.
The controls are standard fare, utilizing a three-click system which should be familiar to anyone who has played a golf game before. In addition to that, players are now able to define the fade or draw levels before the shot. This means that being able to aim perfectly will result in a predictable shot while being off exaggerates it.
There are three modes of play in PGA Golf Tour. Returning from the original is Stroke Play, wherein the winner is the one with the most points after they are tallied across 18 holes. In Match Play, the goal is to rack up as many wins in individual holes and Skins ups the ante by involving money.
2. PGA Tour Golf
Published by Electronic Arts and developed by Sterling Silver Software, the 1990 hit PGA Tour Golf pits the player against 60 of the most competitive US pro golfers on some of the best courses in the world. Included in the four golf courses is a Links course with a touch of fantasy -- complete with fiendish water hazards, bunkers and trees. There's also the Tournament Players Club at Avenel, Potomac, Maryland; the one in PGA West, La Quinta, California; and the TPC at Sawgrass, Ponte Vedra, Florida.
PGA Golf Tour is an officially licensed game. It is endorsed by none other than the PGA Tour which serves as the organizer for any main pro golf tours in the United States of America. The game set the standard for many of today's golf simulation titles, indeed it still lives on with Tiger Woods collaborating on the series up until the 2014 edition. In fact, the genre's three-click control system originated from this title, wherein the first click initiated the swing, the next set its power and the last having to do with fade or draw. This allowed for a variety of shots and put timing front and center.
3. World Class Leader Board
World Class Leader Board is the final title in the list of well-loved Leaderboard golf games. It was released in 1988 and published by U.S. Gold Ltd. With its pedigree, players can expect all of the elements found in the series. There are a variety of courses complete with obstacles such as water traps, bunkers and sand. The power bar-style control scheme makes a comeback as well. Power, wind and snap serve as the main factors in determining a successful shot as players tackle new courses which are significantly more complicated than their 8-bit counterparts.
There are a total of four international courses available in the game: St. Andrews (Scotland), Doral Country Club (USA), Cypress Creek (USA) and Gauntlet Country Club -- with the latter being a fictional location. Later on, expansion disks provided three additional courses for die-hard fans.
The game also comes with a number of special features such as the punch shot, an overhead view of the course as well as a course editor which allowed the players to make changes in the existing courses.
4. The Amy Putt Classics
The Army Putt Classics is a golf game which was released for the Amiga in 1988 by DigiTek Software. It was designed and coded by Charles Carter with the graphics and audio assets by Scott Cribbs. It can be played solo or with up to 4 players.
In this title, the player attempts to get the ball from its starting point to the hole by overcoming an irregularly shaped course. The trick here is to be able to predict the angles a ball will travel as it hits the walls of the course. The controls are simple, with players setting down the ball and declaring the speed and direction it will travel using a vector line. Aside from maze-like stages, there are quirky elements such as warp holes, fans and interconnected water canals.
5. Nick Faldo's Championship Golf
Published by Grandslam Video Ltd., Nick Faldo's Championship Golf is licensed around its titular pro golfer. Sir Nicholas Alexander Faldo is one of Britain's most renowned pro golfers with an impressive 40 professional wins and being ranked first on the Official World Golf Ranking for 97 weeks.
For this 3rd-person perspective golf game, Arc Developments made use of Reality3, a 3D world especially created for the simulation. It features two main courses as well as an additional 9-hole fantasy course serving as a hidden level with all the quirks of reduced gravity on Mars. There are stroke play and match play options which may be played against any of the eight AI players with differing skill levels.
As compared to the genre standard, the control scheme used for this game is a bit unusual. As usual, players must determine a shot's strength before a shot with the added challenge of a narrower range for more powerful swings. A wrist snap may be added using an extra click. The rough is more challenging than ever as fine stance adjustments cannot be done easily and the wind effect is more unforgiving compared to similar games at the time.
6. Links: The Challenge of Golf
Developed by Access Software, Inc., the same guys who released World Class Leader Board, the 1990 sports simulation game Links: The Challenge of Golf is focused on delivering a realistic experience. It comes with the USA-based Championship Course "Torrey Pines" which is located in San Diego, California and has a multitude of obstacles to add to the challenge.
Players can expect trees, sand traps, water traps and, of course, fairways to hinder their perfect shot. Adding to the realism is the game's improved ball physics, believable environmental sounds, mulligans, the ability to change the lie as well as a replay mode which offers a view from multiple angles. Links makes use of VGA 256-color graphics which was a standard of the era.
7. Zany Golf
As implied by the title, Zany Golf (or Will Harvey's Zany Golf) is just the thing for those who are tired of the average sim game. Developed by Sandcastle and published by Electronic Arts, Inc., this 1988 gem combines arcade-style action with a boatload of fantasy elements. Basically, players will need to navigate a total of 9 tricky miniature golf holes all the while contending with crazy things such as windmills and bouncing hamburgers. Each course has a theme of its own which determines its obstacles. There is a mad scientist's lab, an ant hill and a pinball table to name a few.
The player starts with 3 strokes in total but are able to get a par for each hole added and reached in time. Using up all the strokes without reaching the hole means a game over. Bonus strokes may be earned by completing courses fast as well as finding any of the hidden bonuses scattered about. Fairies may show up on occasion, with up to 5 strokes being awarded by hitting them. The game may be played by up to four players, with each taking turns to take a shot. Different participants are represented by a different colored ball which may not be moved by being hit by another's ball. The game also features a coop mode specific to the Pinball and Energy holes wherein players can choose to work together in order to hit specific targets.
8. MicroProse Golf
Published in 1991 by MicroProse, David Leadbetter's Greens or Microprose Golf is a fantastic golf simulation with fast loading graphics. The game presents players with five camera modes to choose from with a camera that follows the ball from a variety of angles. A pan shot moves the entire 3D world around smoothly. Despite the visuals leaning more towards the abstract, these give MicroProse Golf an unsurpassed level of realism in terms of physics.
Because of its accessible point and click system, beginners need not hesitate to pick up this title. There's also a Quick start Tutorial that provides a way to get familiar with the ins and outs of the game.
MicroProse Golf may be played by up to four human participants with AI competitors filing in any empty slots if needed. Players may go for 18, 36, even 72 holes. To add to its realism, the game offers in-depth control for both the golfer and the golf club.
9. Leader Board
When it comes to golf simulation games, Leader Board is certainly an easily recalled classics. Originally developed for the C64, it is one of the oldest titles in the genre that was made available for the Amiga. Published by Access Software back in 1986, it is the first in a whole series of well-loved sports titles developed by Roger Carver and Bruce Carver.
It is known for great graphics for the time, with well made courses, realistic shot trajectories as well as the presence of various natural obstacles on the course. Balls bounce on trees and are affected by the wind as they are in real life. As an added challenge to virtual golfers, the game features a total of four water-based courses to play.
Hole-In-One is a top-down perspective golf simulation game that is published by DigiTek Software in 1988. Instead of pro tournaments, fans will be playing miniature golf across a total of five 18-hole courses. Each course has a different theme which caters to a whole range of tastes. For instance, the Tutorial Course is meant to walk players through the mechanics. On the other hand, the Expert course is intended for those who have already mastered the other courses. For those who are looking for a dash of adventure, the Fantasy course features quirky elements such as pinball and holes set within castles.
The controls for Hole-In-One are entirely mouse-based similar to the sort of browser golf games you get today like Verti Golf 2. The player begins by placing a ball on that level's starting pad and the clicking the left mouse button to connect it to a specific pointer. This dictates the direction that ball will travel. The line length dictates the distance and power of the shot. Clicking one last time will initiate a putt.
Players are allowed up to three shots over the par before getting a penalty stroke. A stroke penalty will also be given for water hazards. After a full course is completed, a scorecare is displayed in order to tally the results. From there, the scores may be printed or another set can be played.
The old school graphics are par for the course with a system as ancient as the Amiga, but that does not mean that you cannot have fun with these games. Every single slice, birdie, and hole-in-one is as genuinely satisfying as they were when the games first hit the shelves. Of course, those of you who grew up on these will instantly see the nostalgic appeal, but for the rest, just trying out these little gaming gems is a treat to behold.