Golf is one of the most popular sports worldwide, but playing it is expensive and time-consuming. There has always been an alternative, though. We’re talking about the best golf games of all time for consoles and PC.
The sports’ roots go back to Scotland in the 1400s. Centuries later, it became part of the 1900’s Olympíc games. Similarly, the first gold game, Computer Golf!, debuted in 1978 for Magnavox.
Years later, we’ve seen countless golf games, as it’s a popular genre for playing at home. Let’s find the most iconic titles in the category.
Selecting the Best Golf Games of All Time
The best golf games of all time tend to offer the most realistic experiences. Because they intend to allow you to play the sports without leaving home, they live within the simulator genre.
Gold icons like Tiger Woods have become the headline of some of these top games. Whenever this is the case, it means the title is offering an experience as close to real-life as possible.
Others, though, offer whimsical, fun, and creative gameplay. These options are better for casual golf fans or people who don’t play the sport at all.
So, the games we chose are or were incredibly popular and relevant for consoles or PC. Some of the options are not available anymore, but we’ll try to keep games you can play right now as part of the list.
Best Golf Games Of All Time
- Developer: Camelot Software Planning
- Publisher: Nintendo
- Release Date: June 1999
- Platform: Nintendo 64, Game Boy Color, Switch Online(2022)
The 1999 Mario Golf is the first in the Mario Golf series and one of the genre’s most notable titles. It offers a variety of Mario characters and Mario-themed courses to play around with. Moreover, it thrives on over-the-top mechanics like super shots, combos, and power gauges.
You choose from a roster of Mario characters, like Luigi, Peach, Wario, Yoshi, or Mario. There’re also original characters, like Maple, Sonny, Plum, and Harry. Then, you select a course across the Nintendo World, pick your game mode, and enter a simplified experience.
The game is easy to play, but the engine includes many variables that may affect the shot. These include wind direction and strength (a Boo indicates it), character stats, ball spin, rain, land, elevation, and more. Then, gameplay modes allow you to tweak the match’s speed or select from a series of mini-golf and ring shot courses.
This title represents a height for the N64 console. It features bright colors, goofy characters, and fun animations. Even so, it’s also realistic enough for veteran golf players. That said, other titles in the series you can try include Mario Gold: World Your (3DS), Advance Tour (GBA), or Super Rush (Nintendo Switch).
The Golf Club 2019 Features PGA Tour
- Developer: HB Studios
- Publisher: 2K Sports
- Release Date: August 2018
- Platform: PS4, Xbox One, Windows
HB Studios has a massive reputation in cricket, rugby, and golf games. Their 2019 The Gold Club takes the PGA Tour series as part of their formula. As a result, you get both fun gameplay mechanics and a realistic sim experience.
This is the third and final entry of the homonymous series. Afterward, 2K would transform it into the TYour 2K series, a more mainstream version of the luxurious sports.
Its main offer is a career mode, and it’s pretty solid. You can create a character and grow from zero to professional through matches, courses, and tournaments. Then, as you improve, you’ll earn sponsors and rewards to customize your gear.
Lastly, the gameplay is as usual. You play in a third-person perspective and take your time to shoot. You can view each hole from an aerial perspective and check the distance between you and the objective at any time. Then, you select the gear, curvature, and strength of your shoot on each turn.
PGA Golf Tour 2K21
- Developer: HB Studios
- Publisher: 2K Sports
- Release Date: August 2020
- Platform: Windows, PS5, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Google Stadia
The PGA Golf series represents the origins of golf video games. The first in the saga came out in 1980, and it’s one of the first games in the genre. It’s a realistic sim simulator with no gameplay gimmicks.
The title was released in 2020, and it’s the latest Golf game by 2K, experts in sports games. In particular, the game revamps the series by following 2018’s The Golf Club formula. In comparison to the 2019 game, it uses realistic gameplay and graphics.
Then, the title adds tons of real-life PGA Tour professionals into the game. Players can use any pro player to complete a golf tournament or course. You’d play in the third person, choose your gear, aim your shots, and put strength into the shots to play.
Still, its simple but realistic mechanics turned PGA Tour 2k21 into a successful game. Thanks to its AA production, it’s one of the most successful golf games ever. Other titles in the series you can try include Mario Golf: World Tour (3DS), Advance Tour (GBA), or Super Rush (Nintendo Switch).
What the Golf?
- Developer: Triband
- Publisher: Triband
- Release Date: September 2019
- Platform: Nintendo Switch, Windows, Apple Arcade (iOS and macOS)
“What the Golf?” is another creative and cartoon-style golf game. It’s still a golf game, so the experience revolves on pushing the ball to the hole. However, a series of crazy alternatives make this game unique.
In essence, it’s an arcade-style golf game. It’s also colorful, has vibrant settings, easy to play with, and is fun to experience. Moreover, it features an in-game editor, where you can customize a course with any level of insane features.
The game happens through a long campaign, but it’s not exactly a golf course. The title mixes other sports, such as football or bowling, to craft its levels. Then, you play in the third person, and the goal is to complete a challenge on each part.
Challenges vary greatly, such as launching a huge ball uphill towards a golf hole; or jumping a golf ball from one place to another to create musical notes. There’re no explanations, so you have to experiment to discover what you need.
A Little Golf Journey
- Developer: Okidokico
- Publisher: Playtonic Friends
- Release Date: June 2020
- Platform: Windows, Nintendo Switch
Little Golf Journey is a gorgeous, relaxing, and easy-to-grasp golf experience. Like most sports games for the Switch, it invites players of all ages to enjoy it on the TV.
It’s a single-player adventure, though, and it has a plot. You have to bring color back into the world, and you do it by completing golf challenges. These challenges take you to vibrant, diorama-style settings with varied mechanics.
Overall, the campaign has 10 courses and over 100 holes. You’ll discover secrets, treasures, and additional challenges and paths. Moreover, a nice story will unfold as you discover each stunning location – you even play on the Moon!
Lastly, the mechanics are as easy as it gets. You’re alone, with the ball, a nice soundtrack, and gorgeous graphics. You can play quick rounds or join the camping for a more immersive experience.
Golf With Your Friends
- Developer: Blacklight Interactive
- Publisher: Team17
- Release Date: January 2016
- Platform: Windows, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PS4, Google Stadia
Golf with Your Friends is a friendly, fun, but chaotic “mini-golf” game. Its intention is to play online, as each course supports 12 players. It offers arcade-style gaming as well.
The 12-player courses test your skills. You play against 11 golfers in simultaneous online matches. These happen in a series through a series of challenges, vibrant settings, and innovative mechanics.
Particularly, the courses have a theme. Each one features its own rules, holes, and obstacles. There’re pirate courses, ancient settings, ruins, “Worm warfare,” and more.
Lastly, there’re power-ups you can pick as you play. These enable all kinds of skills and buffs, like honey, to trap your friend’s golf balls, freezing beams, or super shots.
Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10
- Developer: EA Tiburon
- Publisher: EA Sports
- Release Date: June 2009
- Platform: PS2, PS3, PS Portable, Nintendo Wii, Xbox 360, Xbox Series (retro-compatible)
Since 1999, the PGA Tour series has released various major hits. Moreover, it’s no secret that Tiger Woods is one of the most important names in the golf industry. His name has been part of the saga for many years.
PGA Tour 14 was the last title to feature Tiger’s name. Years before the “finale,” the 2010’s version was the best it had ever been. There’re other top-tier games with Tiger Wood, but the second-best goes to PGA Tour 2004.
The title allows you to play with Tiger Woods in various real-life tournaments. These include the USGA or the US Open. Tournaments feature the real-life USGA’s Rules of Golf.
Lastly, the gameplay is slow-paced, realistic, and slow. You play in third-person, select your gear, aim, and shoot. Many variables alter your shots’ results, so getting accurate destinies is quite difficult.
Hot Shots 3 (Everybody’s Golf 3)
- Developer: Clap Hanz
- Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
- Release Date: July 2001
- Platform: PS2
Everybody’s Golf 3, also known as “Hot Shot Golf 3,” is the third entry in the saga and the first for PlayStation 2. The title successfully blended a third-person sports game with arcade-like mechanics.
The game debuted in Japan first (2001) and reached American audiences. It was the alternative to the Tiger Woods PGA Tour saga, which was quite popular in the 2000s. In comparison, though, Hot Shots 3 is decidedly more arcade.
Like in Mario Gold, you select a character, and each character has stats. Then, you select gear and go through tournaments, challenges, and courses.
You select a position, aim your shot, and take your turn. Multiple mechanics and variables alter the effects and the result. Namely, there’s a scoring system, super shots, wind systems, terrain elevation, obstacles, and more.
- Developer: Microsoft Corporation
- Publisher: Xbox Game Studios
- Release Date: September 2002
- Platform: Windows, Xbox
Links 2003 is a classic golf game by Microsoft. It’s the third part of the Links series, and it includes six courses, four pro golfers, and an in-game editor to create your courses.
The title became unique because of its simulated swing mechanics. The swinging happens in real-time as players take the shot. In other words, rather than selecting strength and curvature from gauge bars, you do it on a single swing.
Similarly, the game’s physics system takes into consideration multiple variables. It includes wind, weather, terrain, gear, and more. Additional game options make the game harder or easier, such as enabling real-time swing.
Lastly, you can create and customize your own golfer. Alternatively, you can play as one of the many professional golfers available to pick. Each feature perk, but overall, the playability was incredible.
Sid Meier’s SimGolf
- Developer: Firaxis Games
- Publisher: EA Games
- Release Date: January 2002
- Platform: Windows
SimGolf comes from two industry giants. On the one hand, it’s Sid Meier’s product, the creator of the Civilization saga. On the other hand, it comes from sim experts Firaxis and Maxis, creators of The Sims and Spore.
Here, you can design a golf course instead of just playing golf. The editor is robust: it allows you to manipulate the terrain, add obstacles, natural elements, holes, flags, and much more. Other golfers will travel to your course, play it, and give you money.
Moreover, you can test it with a default golfer. The gameplay for either playing or creating happens with a bird-eye isometric perspective. The controller scheme is easy, but the game has many layers of complexity.
Also, you have to make money as you play to keep expanding the course. Additionally, you select a country to build your park. Once you start, you can begin by placing Hole One. Lastly, everything you do in the park affects its efficiency and the amount of money it can earn.