Par for the course.
To the uninitiated, golf seems like a primitive, maybe even brutish sport with its clubs, balls, and lest we forget, holes. It was, after all, invented in Scotland, a country whose main contributions to world culture are the head-butt and the man skirt. Yet, if you’ve ever tried a game of golf yourself, you know satisfactorily smacking a golf ball is anything but easy.
Indeed, between the seemingly simple steps of swinging and hitting, a kind of voodoo takes place, wherein you might either miss the ball completely, or knock it skipping in an unforeseen direction. The Wii version of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07 captures this element of golf for the first time. Hooray?
With the Wiimote held tightly in your grip, you will expectantly swing, only to see your golfer execute a short chop, knocking the ball sideways and not at all far. Brilliant! Now you can suck at two
types of golf.
I’m mostly kidding. In fact, learning to swing the Wiimote in a way that will lead to a perfect shot is easy once you stop trying to swing it like a golf club. Here’s how it works: you hold the B button to step up to the ball. Then you simply move the Wiimote. You can mimic a golf back swing, you can do a karate chop - it doesn’t matter - as long as you move. This begins an onscreen backswing animation that is actually
a power meter. When your on-screen golfer is good and charged, any motion will cause them to swing. Even a schwing
The only one that seems to not work consistently is a normal golf swing. If your real-life back swing is too long, your golfer will just go ahead and take a terrible shot rather than wait for you. That might seem like a deal-breaker, but it depends on the kind of person you are. Think about it, - do you want to stand in an awkward stance for a couple hours, pretending to golf, or do you want to sit on your couch and lackadaisically swat at the ball with one hand while eating chips with the other?
Ergo (nomically), it’s much more important that the game work from the couch potato position. And using a tennis service-like motion, you can pull back then swipe forward for a perfect golf shot every single time, from the comfort of your own lazy buttocks.
The only divot in this system is that you have to hold the Wiimote on its side, because the game expects
you to be doing the whole golf swing thing. If you hold the Wiimote normally, like a channel changer, you’ll hook the ball. So you have to tilt it, which makes pressing the B button a little awkward. It’s nothing to break a putter over.
Putting, though, is just broken. Unlike the normal backswing, putting happens in stages. For example, you’ll shake the Wiimote, and your golfer will wind up a little, then stop. So, you shake a little more, and they will either pull back farther, or swing - it’s nearly impossible to predict which. You have to switch to practice mode and find a motion that seems to, more often than not, result in a put of a proper distance. What you’ll discover is that the game, to compensate for its broken system, fixates on a few specific distances: way too short, way too far, and right in the hole. As a result, you’ll make incredible putts, yet miss really easy ones when your golfer jumps the gun.
Everything else about the game should make you feel right at home, since most of the content is straight out of last year’s PS2 version, including the PGA Season and Tiger Challenge mode. New are bloodsome and greensome matches, which involve swapping balls as you play a hole (Golf sounds so dirty). Also new are one-ball matches, where you and your opponent play the same ball, and the one to knock it in the hole wins (And painful). They’re fine additions to an already full country club.
And they’re in good company, because PGA Tour 07
includes several real life golfers, and many famous courses. But what, you ask, could possibly be more exciting than hitting the links as Retief Goosen? How about making your very own customized, aging white superstar?! You can even give him or her liver spots, acne scarring, and facial marring! No urine stains or diaper lines yet
, but there’s always next year.
Speaking of unsightly blemishes, PGA Tour 07’s graphics are predictably bad. The grass looks okay. I mean, it’s green, but other textures are just murky hodgepodges of browns and oranges. I’m not even sure what some of them are trying to represent. Probably dirt. So, the graphics are crusty and dated, but hey, this is golf, right?
Damn straight. It’s golf you can play on your couch with one hand. Your other hand can be engaged in smoking, drinking, eating, one-handed clapping, or all of the above. The world’s laziest sport just got a whole lot lazier. Aside from the one-handed approach and a lack of online play, this game isn’t any better or worse than last year’s Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07 for the PS2. If you have a Wii and no golf games, pay the green fee. Otherwise, wait for a prettier course to open up.