The Golf Club 2019 Featuring the PGA Tour

Game review by
Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
The Golf Club 2019 Featuring the PGA Tour Game Poster Image
Authentic golf sim with course designer promotes creativity.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Multiplayer events promote friendly competition, and the course designer mode fosters digital creativity. The realistic depiction of golf could encourage kids to take an interest in becoming involved with the real-world sport.

Positive Role Models & Representations

No real-life golfers are featured, and none of the players speak or even show emotion beyond slumped shoulders after bad shots or a clenched fist after sinking a putt. A couple of upbeat presenters provide commentary and the occasional joke, sometimes at the player's expense.

Ease of Play

This is a surprisingly difficult golf simulation that forces players to rely on "feel" rather than on-screen meters to strike the ball the appropriate distance and direction. Expect to play a dozen or more rounds before mastering the timing and movement required for consistent play, regardless of which difficulty you select or the type of clubs you choose to use.

Violence & Scariness
Language
Consumerism

This game features the PGA Tour logo, recreations of several real-world courses, and the emblems of a handful of real-world corporations that sponsor tournaments, such as FedEx and Waste Management.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Golf Club 2019 Featuring the PGA Tour is a golf simulation for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows PCs. It's a sports game without any inappropriate content; instead, it promotes friendly competitive play while encouraging kids to use their imaginations to design courses. Its authentic depiction of golf could foster an interest in the real-world sport. But the authenticity also makes the game considerably harder than other golf simulations, which could result in players getting frustrated over their inability to play well and win tournaments. While the PGA Tour logo appears frequently in the game -- along with several popular real-world golf courses and tournament sponsors (such as FedEx and Waste Management) -- no real PGA players are shown.

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What's it about?

THE GOLF CLUB 2019 FEATURING THE PGA TOUR provides players with a virtually endless array of courses to play, plus the power to design and publish their own tracks for others to try. Like its predecessors, a key part of the experience is a course design module. It randomly generates 18 holes in a chosen theme and then gives players tools to modify every element of each hole, from its elevation and rough thickness to tree placement and cart paths. Once finished, you can publish your golf masterpiece so other players can give it a whirl. If enough people play your course, it'll receive a course handicap rating and be inserted into official events to be added to the constantly growing selection of courses that players experience. If you'd rather play than design, you can choose between courses created by other players and several famous real-world tracks, including TPC Sawgrass and TPC Boston. Modes include a simulation of Qualifying School, the Web.com Tour, and the PGA Tour, including the FedEx Cup, as well as online multiplayer. The swing simulation is authentic, forcing players to go by feel rather than watch an onscreen meter. No special aids -- such as taking mulligans or controlling spin while the ball is in flight, as is possible in other games -- are available. In other words, this is meant to be a fairly serious recreation of the real-world sport.

Is it any good?

Unlike most modern golf games, this one doesn't coddle players with gimmicky meters, but does constantly promote your creativity with its course creator. The Golf Club 2019 Featuring the PGA Tour is extremely realistic, especially with its swing mechanics. Figuring out the proper tempo to draw back and then push the analog stick forward to strike the ball requires great precision. Chipping, pitching, and putting are even more challenging, adding weight -- how far back to take the club based on distance and loft -- to each shot. Serious golfers ought to appreciate the delicacy of this system, which shares a surprising amount in common with a real-world golf swing, though there's a good chance it could irk casual players used to breaking a score of 70 within their first couple of rounds in most golf games. Even players craving more of a challenge could find this game's finicky controls for applying spin to the ball -- even a small fade or draw can greatly reduce your chances of hitting a good shot -- a bit too much to handle. But once everything comes together and you win your first PGA event purely out of ability and determination, the satisfaction is real.

But there are some players who'll hardly spare a moment to play a round. They'll simply come for series' renowned and powerful course editor, which remains as inspiring as ever. You can create, sculpt, and alter virtually every detail of a course, spending hours, days, or weeks perfecting an authentic track that feels just as realistic as those modeled after real-world courses. Or you can stretch your imagination, creating a regulation-length mini golf course where your tee shots roll thousands of feet downhill to funneled greens, making it possible to sink a 700-yard putt. These courses and loads more can be found in the game's lightly curated user-creation gallery, where players can play and rate their favorites. The Golf Club 2019 Featuring the PGA Tour isn't quite as polished or glitzy as other golf games. In fact, some character models are downright ugly, and the commentators offer a very limited and often inaccurate collection of lines. But it's evident that it was designed by people who love the sport, and that it's intended for people who share their passion.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about screen time. It's easy to keep playing one quick round after another in The Golf Club 2019, so how do you decide the right time to stop?

  • Does golf qualify as physical exercise? Do you feel like you've had a workout by the time you're finished walking an entire golf course?

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