Cary’s Favorite Golf Games

With Mario Golf: Super Rush on Switch coming out at the end of this month, I thought I’d make a list of my favorite golf video games in honor of that.  I usually don’t dabble in sports games, but golf games translate pretty well to video games and can be very arcade-y and cartoony, so I tend to gravitate to those.  I’m also doing this list in honor of Father’s Day this month as well, since my dad likes to play golf and has enjoyed at least one of the games on this list.  And the games on this list aren’t in any order of preference or anything, so keep that in mind.  OK, let’s tee off!

NES Golf

I got my NES a couple of years after it had come out, and by then the original “black box” games were already pretty old.  I wanted to get a game my dad would enjoy on the NES, and since I knew he liked to play golf with his brothers when we’d visit family in Alabama, I decided on this one since it was already out for a while and pretty cheap.  Aside from Rad Racer and Arkanoid, NES Golf was one of the few games I could get my dad to play on the NES.  A couple of years later when NES Open Tournament Golf came out, I asked my dad if he wanted me to get him that one.  He said he was happy with the golf game he already had.  Which is just as well since that one was full price and I don’t think he would’ve played it much anyway.

For a while, that’s about all I had to say about NES Golf, but in the past few years I’ve learned a lot of interesting facts about the game.  For instance, did you know the courses in NES Golf were recreated in 3-D for newer games like Wii Sports and Clubhouse Games on the Switch?  Also, Satoru Iwata (R.I.P.), the former president of Nintendo and HAL Laboratory, he programmed NES Golf himself!  No wonder why I like it!  In fact, I read that in honor of Iwata’s passing, Nintendo put NES Golf in each Switch’s hardware code as a good luck charm!  I’m not sure how you can play it, but they say it’s in there somewhere!  There’s a debate whether the character you play as in NES Golf is Mario or “Ossan” which means ‘middle aged man’ in Japanese.  Well, in a Japan-only Wii game called Captain Rainbow, you play as a super hero on an island full of forgotten Nintendo characters like Crazy Tracy from Link’s Awakening and Birdo.  Well one of the characters on the island is “Ossan” from NES Golf!  Anyway, that’s about all I have to say about that.

Kirby’s Dream Course

This is an awesome isometric Kirby game that combines mini-golf with bumper pool.  You must hit Kirby so he runs into all the enemies, and then the last one turns into the hole and you must sink Kirby into that.  You have a lot of control over Kirby and can hook and slice and chip him, as well as give him top and back spin.  And of course you can also use Kirby’s copy abilities to help you get to the hole as well.  There’s an excellent multiplayer mode, too.  Believe it or not, this was the game that got me to be a big Kirby fan!  There were Kirby games before then, and I really wanted to play them as I was a HAL Laboratory fan before Kirby thanks to games like Adventures of Lolo.  But what was out there so far wasn’t enough for me to want to spend money on.  But when the SNES came out, they advertised a game from HAL called Special Tee Shot that looked like a cross between mini-golf and Marble Madness.  I like both of those, so I kept my eye on it.  Eventually it became Kirby’s Dream Course and I rented it and later bought it and I’ve been a Kirby fan ever since!

Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour

There are TONS of Mario Golf games, but the one I think is my favorite is Toadstool Tour on the GameCube.  The thing that impressed me the most about this one is the level of control you have over the ball.  I could almost always get it to go where I wanted it to.  My friends and I were really into this game for a while back in the day.  The next Mario Golf game to come out after that was Mario Golf: World Tour on the 3DS.  I was really excited for this one, knowing how much I liked Toadstool Tour.  But I just couldn’t get into it as much.  Namely because they added touch screen controls that I didn’t like as well.  I’m hoping the upcoming Super Rush on Switch will bring back that level of control that the GameCube game had.


Originally this was a Mario Golf styled game you could play for free online on PCs.  It stars some adorably cute anime characters and you can even pick from some weird caddies, too.  Like a floating paper bag with a face!  I dabbled with it on the PC for a while, but luckily it got some console releases later since it was so popular.  Most notably was on the PSP, but Tecmo also got the rights to release it on the Wii as well under the name Super Swing Golf.  Since Tecmo published that version, one of the things you could do was unlock outfits for the characters based on other Tecmo games.  Typical stuff like Ninja Gaiden and Dead or Alive, but one outfit you could get was from an old arcade game called Bomb Jack!  That was before Tecmo was even called Tecmo!  Speaking of Mario Golf styled games with weird outfits, Capcom published their own on the Wii called We Love Golf.  It was a lot like Mario Golf, too, because it was developed by Camelot, makers of most of the Mario Golf games!  Anyway, in that one you could unlock Capcom related outfits and dress your golfers up like Chun-Li or Apollo Justice and whatnot.  I thought that was interesting.  Anyway I hear Pangya is now a mobile game.  I wonder if I should try it on my iPad?

Ribbit King

Instead of hitting a golf ball into a hole, you catapult a frog into a hole with a see saw and hammer!  It was also called Frog Golf or ‘Frolf.’  Definitely a weird, quirky PS2 Japanese style game, and your caddy was even a talking, walking picnic basket!  It was made by Bandai, so the graphics and characters looked very Tamagotchi-ish.  It was fun and weird and I liked it.

NEO Turf Masters

This is SNK’s signature golf series and most well-known in arcades, but the version I played was on the NEO GEO Pocket Color.  It was a pretty good game of golf for a handheld in the late 1999, early 2000s.  My friends were really into it for a while, too.

Angry Birds at Top Golf

This isn’t necessary a video game, but there is a place near where I live called Top Golf that’s like a high tech driving range, and you can play a version of Angry Birds on it with real golf clubs and balls!  I wrote about it a while back, so click on the link if you haven’t read it yet.

And that’s all the golf video games that I can think of that I liked.  There are some more that I haven’t played yet, but would like to, such as Golf Story and What the Golf.  Anyway, in the comments section, tell me your favorite golf games.  Are you looking forward to Mario Golf: Super Rush, too?  Let me know in the comments section!  Later!  –Cary

One Response to “Cary’s Favorite Golf Games”

  1. I love the Mario Golf versions where you get to slowly upgrade your character. Those are the best. All the others I find more so-so… it’s the semi-RPG elements that keep me coming back..

    Golf Story for the Switch is everything I wanted out of a Mario Golf on the Switch… definitely worth a look…

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