PUBLISHER: Electronic Arts
DEVELOPER: Sterling Silver Software
RELEASE DATE: 04/1991 (US), 05/1991 (EU)
PGA Tour Golf is a vibe as much as it is a golf game. One could spend hours in the pro shop alone, staring at the shirts and books; maybe talk to the manager Gary after he’s done on the phone. All the while, you dream of a past that never was, while soft muzak encourages you to the golf course.
Getting to the green is a process, which includes navigating menus and politely nodding while golf legends give you advice for the hole. Eventually your eyes behold your avatar golfer. His ensemble is a striking neon yellow shirt and salmon-colored pants, and if I had to guess, his name is Chet. He is not a pro golfer, but he is perfect. His visage is a beautiful sight, and his naivety and innocence the perfect guide into the world of golf. Let all the waves wash over me, and I will attempt to hit the golf ball in the direction of the hole.
Chet is focused. He will look at the ball for as long as you let him. Thankfully, the day is silent, save for some birds chirping softly in the nearby trees. Still, you feel Chet’s growing restlessness. It’s time to hit the ball. As with most golf games of this era, you account for the wind, direct your cursor towards the hole, and figure out how the power meter works.
PGA Tour Golf contains a power meter that ascends from 0 to 100 percent. You press ‘B’ once for your backswing and watch the power meter rise. When you’re satisfied, hit ‘B’ to halt your backswing, then wait until the meter touches the accuracy point at the end and hit ‘B’ again. The golf ball should then fly towards the heavens, and hopefully, the hole.
For all my time on the green, I could not get my ball to stop hooking left. At first I thought the wind was the problem, but it didn’t seem to matter which direction the wind was blowing. My ball always hooked left, usually into the rough. Chet deserves none of the blame for my poor performance. Indeed, PGA Tour Golf is so meticulous in its detail and construction that I’m sure I’m the problem.
A golf ball that hooks left when you want it to go any direction other than left seems like it would ruin one’s game. Thankfully, I adjusted the cursor as best as I could, and that seemed to… not fix the problem, but alleviate it. Enough that I could move forward and whittle my golf score down to something acceptable.
Perhaps Chet’s freshly-pressed salmon slacks affected my faculties, but despite my lack of skill, I got lost in PGA Tour Golf. Chet and I had a grand time exploring the three real courses (PGA West, TPC Avenel, and TPC Sawgrass) and the made-for-the-game course (Sterling Shores), which looked as real as the others. Ball hooks aside, the mechanics are fluid and engaging, as good as, or better than the previous Genesis golf champ, Arnold Palmer Tournament Golf.
PGA Tour Golf‘s world is more immersive than any game I’ve played on Sega Does thus far. Hole after hole, course after course, I didn’t want to set my clubs down. Trees, rough, sand, the green. Driver, five iron, sand wedge, my faithful putter. A glass of pink lemonade, birds chirping, a cool breeze, and perpetually sunny skies. Chet, Gary, my beloved pro shop. Sterling Silver Software didn’t just create an excellent golf game. They perfected a golfing experience. Well done, lads.