Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 can be a very challenging game, especially for those who aren’t familiar with its mechanics or the intricacies of golf. Every detail counts, and below we’ve listed some of these to give you a hand. Who knows? Maybe you’ll improve your real-life golf game while you’re at it.
Perfect your swing
Although you can set your distance and direction before a swing, it’s your swing path that will dictate where the ball goes. Pay attention to the details shown in the bottom left following your swing to see where you can improve. On the harder difficulties (but not simulation difficulty), especially pay attention to the white guiding line; if your backswing is off, it will turn red, in which case it's best to reset the swing and try again. It can be difficult to get the fade and draw perfectly every time, but practice makes perfect.
There are two things to take into consideration: swing and speed. Swing is how accurately and how long you pull the joystick back, while speed is how quickly and accurately you push it forward. If you can learn to consistently hit perfect shots it’ll improve not only your drives, but your chip-ins and putts as well.
Strike before you swing
Strike is where you will hit the ball at the point of contact. You can define where you want to strike whenever you address the ball by moving the right analog stick (you can see the strike meter on the bottom right). Depending on where you hit the ball, it will react differently. Hitting it low will apply backspin, while hitting it to the side will give it sidespin and hitting it to the top will apply topspin. Combined with the draw and fade, you can take advantage of these mechanics to customize your ball’s trajectory and get around obstacles.
Too hard is better than too soft
When putting, it’s always better to put a little extra power into the swing than too little. Even if it goes too fast, if it hits the hole it’ll have a chance of going in. Shots that are too soft will always stop short of the hole. If you need a better angle of the meter, temporarily change the camera to the sideview.
Surface is everything
When the ball lies on a surface that isn’t flat, its flight path will be greatly affected. For example, if you’re on a hill that is going down to the right and you hit the ball dead-center it will immediately shoot rightward. This applies for shots from any surface, but tends to affect shots in the rough and sand the most since they rarely provide a flat platform.
Pressing down on the left analog stick will allow you to examine the upslope/downslope and sideslope. Upslope will apply backspin and downslope will apply topspin. Always pay attention to this, as it can be as much of a determining factor of the ball's path as the wind.
Furthermore, if the ball is on a slope you can choose to either hit it in the center and take into account the new trajectory it will follow, or hit it off-center to make it fly straight. If you choose to hit it off-center, keep in mind that it will lose power since you aren’t connecting fully with the ball.
Upgrade your weaknesses, especially Power, Accuracy, and Putting
Skills are very influential in Career mode. One way or another you’ll find a part of your game can use improvement, whether it be putting, driving, or consistency on your swing. The best way to remedy that is to put your unlocked skill points (which you receive as you progess in levels) into your weaknesses. That way you won’t be crippled, and having an easier time succeeding will help you perform better and level faster. Work on improving Power, Accuracy, and Putting first before Workability and Spin which are minor in the grand scheme of things.
Predict the future
Even on a Par 3, setting up for your next-shot is crucial. Nothing is worse than having your ball stuck behind a tree or 80 feet from the hole. Always angle your shots to set-up subsequent shots. Sometimes this will mean aiming for a workable section of the green as opposed to going for a hole-in-one, or hitting it softer to avoid the potential of landing in water.
Specifically, take note where the flagstick is positioned on the putting surface. Depending on where it's placed, you may want to hit the lefthand or righthand side of the fairway to get a better or flatter angle.
The height of the location where your ball will land relative to where your golfer is standing can have a profound impact on where the ball actually travels. Although it might look like your ball is going to hit the green at a specific location, once you swing you might notice your ball fall short or going flying out of bounds. Furthermore, before swinging you should always pay attention to the height difference and take it into consideration. Swing harder for shots going up a slope and hit softer for shots going downhill. Always consider how the ball will roll after it lands, not just how far you're hitting it.
Spin to win
Spin is a critical part of golf, and the same applies for Tiger Woods PGA Tour. You essentially have four ways of spinning the ball: hook, fade, back spin, top spin. Here’s how they affect the shot:
Hook: Ball flies to the right before returning left.
Fade: Ball flies to the left before returning right.
Back spin: Ball flies higher and travels a shorter distance upon landing. It is more affected by wind.
Top Spin: Ball flies lower and travels a longer distance upon landing. It is less affected by wind.
Learning how to take advantage of these can improve your game tremendously. One application is avoiding obstacles, but it can also be used to take advantage of landing surface angles and wind.
[Hook and fade can also help mitigate the effects of wind, since it can be used to counterbalance it. Backspin also makes the distance of the ball roll shorter and can even make the ball roll backward once it lands on the putting surface. Topspin increases the distance of the ball roll, which is good if there is a lot of green to work with and/or the flagstick is placed at the back of the putting surface. This is especially true if you just need a little extra distance to reach the putting green in two on a Par 5. ~Ed. Nick Tan]
Putt preview is your friend
Before you putt, you can press your left shoulder button to see a preview of where your shot would go if you were to hit it perfectly with your current power and angle. Although it can sometimes be off by an inch or two, it gives you a great read of the green. However, you only get to use this feature once per hole, so make sure you set your shot to the best of your ability before seeing what putt preview thinks of it. It's free knowledge!
Customize your swing style
New to Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 is the ability to customize the swing style of your golfer (only in Career mode). You’re able to choose between power or control, hook or fade, and even whether you excel at hitting low, medium, or high shots. Each of these greatly impact your game. Let’s look at how these affect your shots.
Power or Control: Power will provide longer-distance shots but will make them less accurate. Control will provide great accuracy but will reduce shot distance.
Hook or Fade: Increases the distance and control (only if you’re a Control golfer) for a specific side spin. The other side spin type will have reduced distance and should only be used if necessary.
Low, Medium, or High: Low makes it so your shots are more affected by ground angles, but less affected by wind. High make sit so your shots travel higher and are more affected by wind, but tend to stop quickly upon landing. Medium provides a balance of both.
Special Tips for Simulation Difficulty
If you thought Tournament difficulty is tough, Simulation difficulty will knock your socks off. Only play on this difficulty if you're absolutely secure in your swing, or else you'll just want to throw your innocent controller. Since the ability to zoom in is disabled, you'll either need to memorize how each golf hole looks or use the Flyby feature in the menu to get a quick refresher. Also take note of the size of the arrow for wind direction as that will show you the strength of the wind speed (looking at how much the trees sway in the wind will also help).
You still have access to the angle of the lie, so abuse this information as much as you can. Reading the greens is tougher since there is no grid whatsoever, so you'll need to judge for yourself by looking down at the angle of the lie. ~Ed. Nick Tan