In honor of the recent release of Mario Golf: World Tour on 3DS, I thought I’d list my top 9 favorite golf video games. Why 9? Because there are 9 holes in golf. Well, actually there’s 18, but half that and you get 9. Plus I couldn’t think of 18 golf games I liked. And when my dad used to play golf, if he didn’t have all day he would just play 9 holes, so I think it’s legit. Anyway, golf may sound like a boring sport, but there are some video golf games that I think are pretty fun. Just be warned that all my picks are, not surprisingly, silly and whimsical golf games. So you won’t see any Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, or Lee Trevino on here! So let’s tee off! FORE!
Hole 1: NES Golf
No, we’re not talking about NES Open Tournament Golf; we’re talking about the old school, original Golf game on the NES. You know, the one where Mario looks all fat and dumpy. You can play it on NES Remix on Wii U. Anyway, this golf game isn’t particularly good, but I have special memories associated with it because it’s one of the only NES games I could get my dad to play. Well, that and Rad Racer, he liked that one, too, for some reason. When I bought him NES Golf, it was already pretty old so I got it real cheap. When NES Open Tournament Golf came out, I thought about getting him that, too. But I was just a kid with a limited income and couldn’t afford many new games. But it’s just as well. I think he was happy enough playing the original NES Golf anyway.
Hole 2: Neo Turf Masters
I loved my Neo Geo Pocket Color handheld so much. For a while I even liked it better than Nintendo’s Game Boy! Years later, when companies repackaged NGPC games really cheap, I got Neo Turf Masters for next to nothing. It’s a pretty enjoyable handheld golf game.
Hole 3: Ribbit King
This was originally a Japan-only PSOne game that got an enhanced port on the PS2 and GameCube, and that’s when they brought it to the US. In this game, you actually play ‘frog golf’ and must catapult a frog with a hammer into a hole. There are different hammers and frogs that do different things, kind of like the clubs in golf. This is a very quirky, Japanese game. Your caddy is a walking, talking picnic basket, for instance. It’s not the greatest, but I liked it anyway.
Hole 4: Wii Sports Golf
Before Wii Sports, my favorite sports video game was Super Dodge Ball on NES. So it was a big deal when Wii Sports dethroned it. The learning curve was a little higher on the golf game, but it was still a lot of fun.
Hole 5: Monkey Golf
The first two Super Monkey Ball games were fantastic, and one of the things that made them so good was the mini-games. These mini-games, which included Monkey Bowling and Monkey Target, were good enough as stand-alone games. The bowling game was so good that I never felt the need to buy another bowling game on my GameCube! The golf game in the first Super Monkey Ball was more like mini-golf, but I spent a lot of time with it. Speaking of mini-golf, I actually like playing it in real life (one of the only sports I can actually play fairly well). Also, in many 3-D platformers on the N64 and GameCube that featured licensed characters like Rugrats or Madagascar, they also had a mini-golf game included and some of those were actually pretty fun, too!
Hole 6: Monkey Golf 2
I know this is kind of cheating, but it was hard enough for me to think of 9 golf games I liked. In the Super Monkey Ball sequel on GameCube, the mini-games returned, some of them as sequels. While the first Monkey Ball golf game was more like mini-golf, the sequel’s golf was more like ‘big boy’ golf. But it was just as fun. I probably wouldn’t have gotten another GameCube golf game since this was so good, but there was another that we’ll talk about shortly.
Hole 7: Pangaya
This unusually named game is actually a free-to-play online PC golf game. I’m not sure if it’s still around, but back when it first came out, I got into it a little bit because it featured cute characters, and you know I’m a sucker for those. It also played a lot like Mario Golf, so it was easy to pick up and play. It got popular enough that some console versions were made. One was on the PSP, and I have that one. Tecmo also published a few Pangaya games on the Wii, and renamed them Super Swing Golf. I have those games, too, but haven’t had a chance to try them out yet. The Wii game let you dress up your characters like other Tecmo stars, like Kasumi from DOA, Ryu from Ninja Gaiden, and even Bomb Jack! Capcom also made a similar Wii golf game called We Love Golf, and you could dress up your golfer like classic Capcom characters!
Hole 8: Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour
Aside from Wii Sports and Super Dodge Ball, this is probably one of my favorite sports video games ever. What amazed me most about this GameCube title is how good the control was. If you wanted your ball to land in a specific area, you could. They even made challenges requiring you to send your ball through rings and other targets, and while it sometimes looked impossible, the fantastic play control made it happen. My friends liked the game, too, and some of them even claim that this was their most played GameCube title! That’s why I bought Mario Golf: World Tour on 3DS since the GameCube one was so good. I haven’t played the 3DS game yet, because I’m too busy playing other games like Kirby Triple Deluxe. But I’ll get to it soon. And speaking of Kirby…
Hole 9: Kirby’s Dream Course
Since I just wrote about this game last time on my Kirby blog, I’m just going to cut and paste that paragraph into this blog. Yeah I know it’s lazy, but hey, I write on average about 2 to 3 game reviews a week, so I think I’m allowed to be lazy every now and then. But yeah, Kirby’s Dream Course is my favorite golf game.
Believe it or not, I didn’t get hooked on Kirby games right away. The original Kirby’s Dream Land looked cool, but I was just a kid with a limited income back then, and I didn’t see a reason for me to spend full price on a game that I could probably beat in an hour. Even when the great Kirby’s Adventure came out on NES, I didn’t get it because I was already knee-deep in SNES territory, focusing more on games like Final Fantasy 2 and Secret of Mana. It was actually Kirby’s first outing on the SNES that got me into the series, and no it wasn’t Kirby’s Avalanche. It was the other one: Kirby’s Dream Course. Ever since I got my SNES, I would always see screens on the back of the box and posters advertising a game called Special Tee Shot, which looked like a mini-golf game mixed with Marble Madness. I love mini-golf and Marble Madness is one of my favorite arcade games, so I always kept my eye on it. Years later, when they reworked the game to have Kirby in it, I finally rented it and discovered how cool it was. It was then that I knew that I shouldn’t pass up any more Kirby games, and I’ve been a fan ever since. Kirby’s Dream Course plays like a mix of mini-golf and bumper pool. You have to hit Kirby as the ball into all the enemies on the playfield, and then sink him in the hole. Some enemies give Kirby copy abilities when you hit them, and they’ll help you bypass obstacles. The ice power lets Kirby skate over water hazards, for instance. You can even turn into a UFO and fly and land in the hole if you’re skilled enough! Anyway, I’d love to see a sequel to this. It could either be isometric 3-D like the first one, or they could make it be totally 3-D. But I think it’s a good enough game idea for revisiting.
Country Club Conclusions
And those are my favorite golf games. In the comments section, tell me what you think of my picks, and let me know YOUR favorite golf games! Later! –Cary