My brother is currently enrolled in a Golf Pro College down in
Arizona; my step-father is hard at work on his PGA card; and my grandfather, in his
mid-eighties, still finds the strength to get out on the greens at least once or twice a
week. Ive always wanted to like golf, so that I could have more opportunities to
bond with other members of my family. I remember spending a week with my grandparents in
Sun City and desperately wishing that I had the same interest in putting and slicing so
that I could have more quality time with my grandfather. He liked golf and I liked video
games. Needless to say, we didnt have too much to talk about. I have tried to foster
a love of the sport by taking various classes for beginners, but Ive always lost
interest by the 9th or 10th hole. Ive only played eighteen
holes once in my life and I found it tedious, embarrassing, and frustrating. Golf is too
expensive, it takes too long, and it starts too early in the day. I have never understood
the countrys fascination with the sport until now. Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2001 has
given me a glimpse of what golf can be for those who can really play it.
Its nice to play a game free from pulsating soundtracks and
excessive explosions. Most games I play add tension to my life. Tiger Woods replaces that
tension with the soothing sounds of ocean waves and birds in the sky. Its better
than one of those nature CDs. When you add the beautiful scenery to the serene sounds you
have the perfect recipe for relaxation. The courses look fantastic. Everything has been
rendered to scale in incredible detail. Sometimes I would just stop and take in the view.
about serenity and relaxation, I dont want to suggest that this game is boring. In
fact, Tiger Woods PGA takes all of the boring elements of golf out and streamlines the
game. Playing through 18 holes of golf goes remarkably fast. If you want to be aggressive
with your play, there is a lot room for that here. This is one of the few games that
Ive played that can be different things for different people. You could take a Happy
Gilmore approach sans the Bob Barker confrontation, if thats what youd prefer.
I personally enjoyed taking my time.
I really liked the controls for this game. There are a few
comprehensive tutorials that will help get you started. The learning curve for basic moves
is pretty low, so youll be up and playing in no time. Your swing centers around the
analog stick. Not only do you have to time your swing for the right amount of power, but
you also have to hit your ball square on by pushing the stick straightforward. If the
stick goes a little to the right or left you could slice the ball. The other controls for
positioning your club and choosing the right swing are also simple and straightforward.
The on-screen menus combined with the tutorials and instruction
manual give you enough background that you can play this game knowing absolutely nothing
about the sport. Some of the finer points may be missed by the rank amateurs, but this is
golf for dummies in the best sense of the word.
The hardest part of any golf game Ive ever played has been
reading the green when you need to put. TW solves this by exaggerating the lie of the
ground and superimposing a grip with the press of a button. I was impressed by how
accurately the ball reacts to the little hills and valleys of the putting green. When you
make that 25 foot put, you really feel like youve accomplished something.
You can choose from six golf pros, but I dont understand
why anyone would want to settle for anything less than Tiger. I guess some people do have
a thing for underdogs. The character animations are incredible. Every now and again I
forgot that I wasnt watching a video game. When he would crouch down to read a green
or pump his arm in triumph after a really long putt, I really believed that it was Tiger
on my screen. The only real criticism that anyone could offer against this game is the
lack of courses that you get to play. TW for the PS2 only offers three courses to choose
from: Pebble Beach, Spyglass Hill, and Poppy Hills. The courses are so meticulously
realized that you can overlook this omission of additional courses, but it does cut down a
little on the replay value of the game.
The game gives you the option of playing your standard 18 holes, tournaments, and
skins. Theres also a nice "play now" option that drops you right into the
middle of a game with some very specific obstacles to overcome.
I doubt that you will find a more engrossing golf game out there. The only real
criticism I have of Tiger Woods PGA 2001 is the lack of courses (on-line play would have
been nice too, but thats a long way off). Also, with everything that the PS2 can do,
I found the amount of animation lacking. I know that eye candy doesnt make a game,
but it can be nice every now and again. A few spectators on the green, or even a caddy,
would have been welcome touches. I also wouldnt have minded having a birds eye
view of the entire course. These are little criticisms that shouldnt keep you from
buying the game if you are interested in experiencing the strangely addictive serenity of
golf on the PS2. Im not going to go out and buy my own set of clubs because of this
game, but I have to admit that after a few rounds I was quite tempted.