While Wii Golf may not be quite as popular as some of its other counterparts in Wii Sports, it is certainly a fine game in its own right. Sports gamers of recent years have demanded more and more in regards to a realistic gameplay experience. The game should look authentic from the birds in the trees to the sweat on Tiger’s neck. The game should feel authentic from the fluidity of animations to the quality of commentators. Most important, of course; the game should play authentic from crushing the ball off the tee to putting it gently into the hole. Wii Golf is no Tiger Woods PGA Tour but for a ‘package deal’ with Nintendo’s next-generation console, it is a game which plays as authentically as one could hope for.
When starting out in Wii Golf, I would recommend staying with the three-hole course on beginner. Doing so will allow you enough time to practice your swing mechanics and the other basic controls of the game, without having to worry much about difficult shots that over trees or water. Once you have the three-hole course on beginner down to perfection, leaping straight to the nine-hole course should be a seamless transition because really, swing mechanics is what your success relies on in Wii Golf.
That is not the only factor influencing your game, however. It is also important to take into consideration the wind and make sure to compensate for it. If you are teeing off with an 18 MPH wind blowing sharp to your right, for example, it may be a good idea to aim a bit to the left.
Before you can do anything, of course, you’re going to need to pick a club by using the up and down buttons on the directional pad. When teeing off, you will always want to use your driver. While far out on the fairway, you’re almost always going to want to use your iron. If you are so unlucky as to hit it into the rough or a bunker, you’re going to want to use a wedge. But how can you be sure?
The map showing the spot of your ball to the hole is key. Leading from the ball is a line with dots spaced out along the way, while the dots gain separation as the larger clubs are chosen. These dots are going to assist you in monitoring the strength of your swing.
There is also going to be a small meter along side your Mii with similar looking circles in it. This is no coincidence. Whenever you swing your golf club, the amount of power you put behind it will be indicated by how high the meter fills. Once you have the appropriate club selected, look on the map and see which circle on the balls path is closest to the hole. If it is the final diamond, you’re going to have to hit the ball with full power but if it’s anything in between, you’re going to have to use some touch. Whichever circle is closest to the hole on the map is the one you will want to measure your swing meter against. For example, if you are using your iron to approach the hole but the first circle on the ball’s path is closest to the hole, you’re only going to swing so hard as to fill the meter up to the first circle. Doing so accurately should place you close by the hole.
Yet there are still other things to be considered. For example, these measurements are assuming that wind is not a factor. If the wind is blowing from behind you it will carry your ball, forcing you to compensate by hitting a softer shot. Also, if your shot requires you to hit the ball at full-strength, be warned that there are risks involved. If your shot strength exceeds the meter’s capacity it will no longer travel in a straight path and instead lose some of its always-important accuracy. Rarely will this have a dramatic effect, but it could very easily mean the difference between a clean hit down the center of the fair way and an ugly shot landing deep in the rough.
That all sounds fine in theory, but actually managing the strength of your swings is the most enduring part of the game. The best advice one could give to make this process slightly less painless is to practice, practice, practice. Before taking an actual swing at the ball, you should always first find out how much power you wish to put into your swing. Then, take some practice swings until you feel you are in a groove at hitting that “sweet spot.” When you feel you are ready, hold in the A button and take an actual whack at the ball and watch it sail away in all of its efficient glory.
The final aspect to cover in Wii Golf is putting. You can have your long and midrange game perfected, but if you can’t follow it up by getting the ball in the hole it is all for nothing. The same rules regarding swing strength as before apply here as well with one small difference: since you are putting, your swings are going to be significantly more gentle. Few things are more frustrating in a game of golf then having a putt lined up perfectly only to have it bounce out of the hole or stop right at the hole’s edge.
Unlike every other swing so far, the result of your putts will not have your ball leaving the ground so now the slope of the ground becomes a factor as well. On certain greens, such as that of the first hole, your putting surface will be relatively flat so you have little to worry about. Others, however, will be full of slopes and curves. Now, if you’re a true pro you should be able to simply read the green and make your power/directional adjustments with little hassle.
For us semi-pros, there is an easier way. By holding down the 1 button on the Wii Mote you can see whether you’ll be hitting the ball uphill, downhill, or on an even surface by looking at the color of the green. The lighter the color, the more severe the downward slope, the darker the color the more severe the uphill climb.
These shades will also follow a certain pattern which will indicate to you the break. This is important because you are not always going to be able to simply adjust the strength of your swing; you will also have to slightly adjust the direction in which you will putt the ball.
Much like the basic swing, putting is a skill that can only be mastered through practice, both through practice swings prior to actual contact and relentless attempts at mastering the art. No one is going to be hitting forty foot putts right off the bat. To ease any growing pains, it may be beneficial to toy around with the golf training section of Wii Sports which will provide you with more detailed practice.
This really is as authentic a simulation as you can expect from a title like Wii Sports. Unlike other offerings on this collection of sports titles, Wii Golf is not something anyone can simply pick up and play with fair success, making the eventual achievements that much more rewarding.
Be sure to check in next week for the fifth and final installment of Mastering Wii Sports as we delve into Wii Boxing.