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The Golf Club 2 Is a Strong Improvement Over the Original

The Golf Club 2

The Golf Club 2 Is a Strong Improvement Over the Original

In August 2014, HB Studios released a small independent game entitled The Golf Club. If I am being honest, a game that would already be best described as a niche title within a niche genre was already a hard sell to a community.

Now imagine trying to sell that idea and premise to a community who is used to having legitimate licensed courses, apparel, clubs and balls — not so easy.

Oh yeah, did I mention trying to do all of this with no major publisher or famous cover athlete to help market the game? Regardless, The Golf Club grabbed the attention of quite a few people, and now HB Studios and Maximum Games are trying to pull it off yet again with The Golf Club 2.

Gameplay

For a golf simulation to be successful with both the community and critics, it needs to offer options and an accessible approach for all levels of skill. Thankfully, TGC 2 does a fine job of offering up both a casual and sim experience, and can be adjusted as one’s in-game ability develops.

The game gives you three levels of difficulty, and even incorporates a driving range to hone your skills, which is a welcomed addition to this rendition. The combination of ease of use, fluidity and realistic physics create a well-rounded experience in regards to the gameplay.

While the game provides a fun game of golf for all to enjoy, a lot of the enjoyment is going to come from the course you are playing, so be smart in the courses you choose to spend your time with. Overall, the swing mechanic is fluid and realistic, and the utilization of either analog stick helps with immersion. It would have been nice to see a three-click method of swinging implemented into the game, but I understand what HB was trying to accomplish with just the analog swing method.

Career

It’s fairly obvious that gaming is trending in a very social way right now, with a strong focus on connecting people together. While that is great, there are many of us who simply want to turn on our system of choice and enjoy a single-player experience.

HB has offered up a singular career type of society that allows you to play through multiple template-type seasons against the AI. What stuck out here is the ability to edit almost everything, including the names of the competitors, the names of the tournaments and the ability to change the difficulty on the fly. Another aspect of career that deserves focus and praise is the simple fact that I saw no AI rubber-banding, which means I saw no evidence of the AI playing up or down to the user’s ability.

As mentioned before, if you find yourself winning often and by large margins, the difficulty can be changed on the go.

With the vast amount of customization possible, you can plan out the type of courses you want to play, and even include four major events on your tour if you’re trying to replicate what the PGA does in real life. It’s no secret that TGC 2’s main focus is online play, and that’s fine, but have no concerns about what lies in-store if you’re looking for a strong single-player experience. HB has done an admirable job in relationship to that, and provided a mode that is far more than just an afterthought.

Social/Online

If you played the first TGC, then you have a full understanding of how tedious it was to try and actually play a friend live and in real time. All the information was recorded onto a centrally located server and relayed back to the session. It was a long and drawn out process that was barely worth the time and effort.

Thankfully the community feedback was heard and absorbed as the new multiplayer sessions are vastly improved. Inviting people to your session is easy, and the turn-based swing option is relatively seamless and enjoyable. In my time with TGC 2, I played multiple multiplayer games and it provided a strong connective session with instant player feedback and turn around.

The title provides the user many options to enjoy online, whether it be with a group of live friends, playing previously recorded “ghost balls” of friends and rivals, or offering online societies that you can join.

Speaking of online social societies, that was a huge focus of the game this year. TGC 2 allows people to either join or create their own online clubhouse, and invite others to join and play as well. As your clubhouse membership gets bigger, its status grows as well.

Creating and playing in daily and weekly tournaments is a huge focus of the society, and although there are entrance fees (in-game currency) to join, there are also tournament payouts. The mode offers many different “templates” to help set up your society, and the customization is deep enough to make the experience your very own. The game lets the creator of the society rename each tournament, choose what courses will be played, and determine what the final payout will be to the winner. This is a mode that will become very popular, very quickly.

Course Creator

Back again this year is the intuitive course creator. Although the mechanics of its use have not changed dramatically, the options that are offered have increased quite a bit. For those looking to try and re-create their favorite courses, they will now find it easier to do so with the new objects that HB has included in the sequel.

While testing the creator on the PS4 Pro, I did experience crashes to dashboard often, so it is smart idea to save and save often. In TGC 1 course creators found that to increase the difficulty of the game, they had to create a course with a high level of difficulty. That is not the case with TGC 2, and the concern is that a lot of the courses that can and will be imported from the first game will not translate well to TGC 2. The bottom line is this, if you love to create courses, initially the focus should shift to the aesthetics of the layout rather than the severity in the challenge of said course.

Final Thoughts

Niche sport or not, if you create a fun sports title with depth and a strong social core, the community will respond. While TGC 2 may not be perfect, it hits all the high notes that golf fans desire. A strong and editable career mode, social societies, strong ball physics and a user-friendly course creator.

What it lacks in authentic licensing, it makes up for in the fun it provides, the depth it gives, and enough options to challenge those from all skill sets. If you were a fan of the first title, then TGC 2 is an absolute must buy. If you’re just looking for a fun golf game to play with friends online while sitting back and relaxing, TGC 2 has you covered there as well.

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Discussion
  1. I'm really excited to try this out when I get home.
    Hopefully someone will start an Operation Sports society for the PC version soon.
    Sent from my SM-G920V using Tapatalk
    I got to hit at the range and play 18 late last night but I could not be happier with the game. The tempo of the swing felt nearly perfect and the ball flights all looked superb - so realistic.
    I spent the round fighting a hook that I finally just gave in to and had to aim way right to compensate for. Initially I thought all my time spent with TGC1 prepared me to play the Tour level clubs right away. I was wrong. I think I’ve settled in with the Players clubs for now and work my way up to the Tour clubs.
    I played a course from TGC1 (Little Brook Manor) so I didn’t really notice any major graphical upgrades that others are seeing, although I’m on the PS4 regular and not the Pro so that might be a reason.
    The only two negatives I encountered:
    1) There’s a hiccup that happens on the backswing of your putting stroke at times. It’s a graphical hiccup so while the putter is frozen for a split second on the screen your input is still being recorded. I ended up blasting a few putts past the hole b/c of it. I’ve only had it happen on my first putting stroke on any green so as long as you don’t get up to the ball and putt right away this can be avoided.
    2) The sound of the irons striking is way too clippy for me. Sounds almost like a baseball bat.
    Everything else was a major improvement from TGC1. I can’t wait to get into the Societies and the customization. I got my clubs looking pretty sharp but my guy looks too much like Danny Trejo right now. Between this and Elite Dangerous I am all set for my Independence Weekend gaming.
    If you have the PS4 Pro, don't even bother with this game, they did nothing to warrant a Pro purchase. The graphics are Base Model level, loads of pop in, Frame Rate Drops, just a travesty. You would think they would know how to optimize by now. Wish I could get my money back, and picked up Elite Dangerous. Disappointing.
    It kind of helps the game that EA have been pretty silent on  any prospect of a new PGA  title.
    I just wish Golf Club catered a little more to the Offline gamer.
    It amazes me that people are still surprised when games don't work on day one. Not because they shouldn't work- but because they never do and people still buy them. 
    maltliquor23
    If its only server disconnects you are lucky. I have crashed to the PS4 dashboard 4 times in 2 hours

    Just posted on Twitter:
    Servers had to be reset. Should be rolling back up.
    My first time playing a golf game. I like it but I'm not very good so far. 21 over par my first go round. Servers keep kicking me out of games and you have to be always connected to start a career. I just wanted to check the career mode out. Hope they get their issues straighten out pretty soon.
    Check out tgctours.com for an unprecedented community that includes working your way up tours and fun, cool,  competitive play no matter your skill level.
    I'm getting back in when they re-start w/ tgc2 in a few weeks. 
    Hi, and I purchased the PC Day One edition, which has *both* Aristocrat DLC's. How do I claim these, A and B) do I need to be online to do it. I've been unsuccessful getting online, even though my internet is OK.
    Thanks.
    binga30
    Why not just play with your wife and ditch the golf career ;)

    Lol, that is a much better option but i. Pretty sure you can do that and play with someone else on the same system. I could be wrong tho
    Sent from my SM-G935W8 using Tapatalk

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