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How Future Golf Titles Can Learn From Rory McIlroy PGA Tour's Mistakes

Rory Mcilroy PGA Tour

How Future Golf Titles Can Learn From Rory McIlroy PGA Tour's Mistakes

This July marks a full three years since EA released its most recent entry in its once-beloved PGA Tour series. Though known for an experimental roller coaster of sometimes stellar and sometimes devolutionary perennial Tiger Woods titles, players’ reception of Rory McIlroy’s PGA Tour greatly balanced on when and at what cost they acquired the game. It was met with understandably mediocre reviews when it was released as a fully priced DLC-plagued reduction of features. However, a recent PSN sale dropped the price to a paltry $5 (with all previous DLC no less), making it a reasonable temptation for the golf-hungry gaming community.

But when one explores the core game itself, the series’ fall from grace is understandable. While it certainly hurts losing one of your sport’s all-time greats as your cover athlete, questionable and wildly surprising reductions in expected content made EA’s eventual loss of the PGA Tour license feel regrettably inevitable. So here’s how The Golf Club, Golf Story, or a potentially new franchise could snag the PGA Tour license and improve upon EA’s mistakes.

Make A Career Mode for the Ages

The beauty of golf in gaming is that, unlike other sports, it features the wheel that needs the least reinventing. Nintendo’s Golf on the NES introduced the button-timing interface, Tiger Woods innovated the joystick swing, and even Wii Sports gave motion controls a whirl. Fans have seen them all. Save the time and energy, and put it all towards the unequivocal best career mode in sports gaming. Pack it with endless customization, real-life story arcs, campaigning for sponsorships, multi-year careers and branching story trees. Rory McIlroy gave players a very odd Pro Mode wherein created golfers were thrust into a seemingly endless gauntlet of radiant and randomly generated tournaments that prevented players from even playing the full 18 holes until they reached a major tournament. The grind simply lost its luster after a few hours. Stories, sponsorships, challenges, rivalries and a true ascendance to becoming the best golfer in the world would innovate the genre.

Arcade-Style Mini Games Are a Must

Amid negativity, one area that Rory McIlroy saw success was the Night Club Challenge mode. Power-ups and a boatload of difficult objective-based challenges defied traditional experiences on the links, and gave users an engaging nighttime neon oasis upon which to test their skills. We need more of this. How about a Create-A-Course feature that exclusively focused on putt-putt golf? Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater-inspired level editors would go well with realistic physics in this golf meets Super Mario Maker mode. Give us a driving range that encourages us to hit whoever’s driving the cart. Team up with Top Golf to make a lounge wherein players could compete against each other online. If there’s one thing that is certain in the sports-gaming landscape, it’s that there will always be a market for both realistic simulations and bonkers arcade gameplay.

License As Many Courses As Possible

Seemingly every release of Tiger Woods PGA Tour felt like it had a new collection of courses that were either brand new, removed due to licensing issues or withheld as DLC. Unfortunately for Rory McIlroy PGA Tour, this was a significant deterrent in both media and user reviews. Playing on the same 10 to 15 courses only has so much replay value, even with the over-the-top fantasy courses. Golf courses exist all over the United States. License some local par 3s and some lesser-known courses to vary gameplay a bit, and beef up the offerings alongside the expected pro courses. The Golf Club’s course creator does a great job of filling this void, but adding tons of courses big and small from around the world gives players incentive to come back.

Introduce Unlockable Legends

Rory McIlroy PGA Tour did a decent job of including golf’s top stars, but it just felt incomplete as the sport lacks a titanic superstar. There are so many icons throughout the game’s rich history, and maybe licensing these legends would soak up too much of a game’s budget. Tiger Woods 14 did this well with the Legends of the Majors mode, and both the NBA 2K and Fight Night franchises have prioritized historical teams and boxers in their releases. Perhaps playing with different vintages of golfers (a la WWE 2K’s multiple-year variations of The Rock and Bret Hart) could make for a thrilling clash of the titans. How would 1995 Greg Norman fare against 1953 Ben Hogan, 2000 Tiger Woods or 1962 Arnold Palmer?


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  1. The frustrating thing is that EA’s last Tiger Woods game on the previous generation of consoles was pretty solid. I particularly enjoyed the Quick Tournament mode where the 1st 54 holes were simulated & you played the final round only. It was an interesting idea & it was a good way of playing against a full field of players.
    Golf Club is a go to game for online players but for those like myself who play exclusively offline there’s little attraction as you’re unable  to compete with or play as actual pros.
    Rory McIlroy gave players a very odd Pro Mode wherein created golfers were thrust into a seemingly endless gauntlet of radiant and randomly generated tournaments that prevented players from even playing the full 18 holes until they reached a major tournament.

    Not an accurate statement. By default the game simmed your Career rounds letting you play the final few holes of a tournament.
    However, there is a setting in the CM interface that you could disable the quick play feature and play every hole of every round in Career Mode. That is the first thing I changed when I began CM.
    Agree that Career Mode was a grind in RM. Mostly due to lack of courses and other PGA TOUR specific content that TW14 had in spades.
    I agree with threatonnature, I would love to have a multiple player career mode.
    I just want to be able to sit on the couch with wifey & the kids & play a career mode over multiple seasons.
    Sure I have friends I would enjoy playing online, but I remember me & my boys sitting on the couch on a weekend and running through a season & bragging about wins & money earned over a season or career.
    Those PS 2 games were AMAZING. But just like Madden with the jump to PS3 a lot of features were dropped .
    It’s sad that EA’s sports games heyday was 2 cons9le generations ago...
    Would like to see all the courses used on the PGA Tour in a given season plus probably a few extra courses.  That way the US Open, British Open and PGA Championship can be rotated among different courses.  Unlike The Masters which is always at August National (BTW, a must have for any future PGA title).
    Rory McIlroy pga had the potential to be a great game  with the physics, gameplay and the framerate. This game was straw that broke the camels back for me. After years of repeated disappointment and horrible products. I will never purchase another EA game. Their only interest is satisfying the microtransaction crowd. Their games are below average at best.
    I feel like all RMPGAT needs is a new name (preferable not named after any pro) and some expansion of its career mode, the recreation of TW's Country Clubs, and as many additional courses as they could muster.
    The game looks amazing, and the gameplay is solid to great. Seriously, someone could take that code and finish the game and it would do well.
    Ah man give me TW 2006 with Augusta and I would be a happy gamer. I played all the TW series, and RM just didnt cut it.
    Why is sports gaming dying?
    I just bought one last week. Great club. Tried it for 18 holes. I like the way it feels and sounds, but I am thinking to have it re-shafted though. But I am a bit too picky, so have a go at it.
    see more: Best Golf Drivers In 2018 – Top Picks And Reviews
    Rory is a phenomenal game for H2H play, even w/ its limits. Yes, it's absolutely crippled compared to what it could have been w/ a whole slew more courses and a few players as DLC, and they clearly left it in some ways very unfinished. It was as if they ran out of funds and decided to just plain stop there and not look back. And some things required very minimal tweaking to really get right. Career mode I enjoyed mainly to built my character attributes, but our H2H play is where the game shines if you're a skilled real world golfer. Me and my playing partner have been near scratch players at times in our golfing lives, and one was a successful college player. Subtle control is there for a video simulation, and with swing diff at Hard it can be tenuous and as tenuous as RLG is when set up properly for your skill level. We have settled on Swing Diff at Hard, Advanced mechanics, and we use the putt line but have rules of how it's used. We do not allow the player to move the cursor any closer to the player than its actual putt length. Spin is left off so one does not have to do the impossible diagonal swing to work the ball it was just to hard to do consistently enough. Our scores are ultra-close to what the best of the PGA tour does with this setup which is what we are after. When we changed how the putt line is used this was the game changer that made for realistic scores. I used a method to line up putts that was virtually automatic--not so now. You can have real hot putting rounds, and real cold putting rounds depending in part of course upon the course you're at.
    When that article made this comment, "Arcade-Style Mini Games Are a Must" that was the end of it for me. I want a player's game only--the goofy arcade stuff is for I can't imagine who, presumably someone who goes to play miniature golf.
    @ncp10: Do you guys find you tire of the limited course list ever?

    More is better, but there are plenty to enjoy the game for the price it is now. Chambers Bay is worth the price of admission. Never had a golf course feel so claustrophobic.
    It's a flawed title, and it failed because of those flaws. But it's also got some fantastic gameplay. I think it gots some of the best holes featuring elevation. And while fantasy courses are generally dumb, Treasure Island is actually pretty great. It's not realistic, but it is a challenging fun course to play as you have to choose when to go over or around obstacles, playing on a Pacific Rim island with volcanic mountain.
    If you get it on the cheap, its fantastic. I don't thin EA realizes just how many more copies they wood have sold if it had Country clubs like the TW games, so that we could set up tourneys with friends and such. It would have created more buzz around the game.
    Instead, it mostly feels like a lonely experience. And that's fine, as it is how most golf games really are. It was just disappointing since TW had done a decent job introducing CCs, and I assumed on next gen they would really improve upon it. Instead it just wasn't in the game.
    Is there any chance of the ability to do Head to Head on Rory going away soon?
    Or should we expect that since it's back in the Vault that it's likely to be kept alive and able to do online stuff sort of indefinitely right now (especially as EA has no replacement in the genre)?
    @NCP - I see your point. I've been playing Rory every day again and it really does play a great game of golf when set up correctly. I personally enjoy it most with grids on and zoom off. The camera angles one can rotate through, in conjunction with the overhead map, make for a rewarding and realistic aiming and thought process.
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