I’m going to be completely honest – Golf, as a sport, doesn’t do much for me.
Mini Golf doesn’t count, of course, because that’s just wild good fun with family and friends. But let’s just say you won’t catch me watching the general sport or talking about it with friends.
Which is why playing PGA Tour 2K21 was a bit of a risk. I know the rules and am familiar with some players, but unlike FIFA which I play annually, it’s been a long time since I’ve taken to the range.
Here’s the thing. This might be the most fun I’ve had with any sport game in years. I have been dipping in and out of the career mode for the past week, admiring the courses, building up a ranking, learning how to curve shots and when to switch clubs.
And I cannot get enough. I am absolutely, well and truly hooked. The thing about PGA Tour 2K21 is just how smooth the playing process is. The game can be as simple or as technical as you want to make it. It’s as simple as moving the D-Pad to change clubs and moving the left stick to hit your shots.
You can also simulate your putting based on how close to the hole you are and how much you have to hit it uphill. You can also see where the ball will land from the initial drive. And then there’s curve shots, different shot types, and distance control that let you hone and refine your play.
What’s more, it’s a game that I learned from. When I first started, I was just getting bogeys and scraping pars. But after a while I was hitting Birdies and Eagles, though I’m still waiting for my first hole in one.
I am just so impressed at how well presented the whole package is, and how easy it is for both Golf vets and novices to get in and have a good time. That is a rare feat and not necessarily something achieved by most sports titles.
Seriously, try playing Madden if you’ve never watched an American Football game before and feel your heart sink.
I’m also reminded at just how good 2K can be at building up a sporting franchise. True, their work with WWE has been a bit hit and miss, but the NBA franchise thrives year on year. PGA is great, well polished, full to the brim with modes, and plays a treat.
Built by the developers of The Golf Club, PGA Tour 2K21 is also the first PGA Tour game in years, following EA losing the license and 2K now acquiring it. The good news this time around is that there is a lot of love between developer and publisher. Both combined have plenty of love for the sport and it shows.
Along with real players and likenesses, there’s world-renowned courses, recognisable commentary, and global licenses for the biggest brands.
Right at the heart of it, a full PGA Tour Career Mode where you work your way up to being FedExCup Champion. You can start from the very bottom, working your way up to being a pro, earning XP and rewards along the way, and eventually take on the world’s biggest tournaments and best players.
That immediately adds authenticity to a golf game which hasn’t been completely present for a few years now and also gives you the opportunity to personalise your own player to go head to head with these legends of the sport.
And if the career mode isn’t enough, there’s the option of building your own courses / sharing them, playing to your own rules, and even having some unique multiplayer action with scramble modes and alt-shots.
It’s an interesting subject, because this obviously isn’t the first PGA game but this certainly is a new beginning for the IP with PGA 2K. And frankly, this might just be the best ‘first’ game I’ve played for any sporting license.
2K have taken the fledging, diminishing work EA did with PGA and completely rejuvenated video game golf. Not just that, they’ve made a great video game that I am having so much fun with. More than I ever expected to.
I can’t speak for someone who advocates for and regularly watches golf, but what I can say is PGA Tour 2K21 has done more to get me interested in the sport than I ever have been. I cannot wait to see how HB Studios and 2K keep building and growing PGA 2K for the next generation and years ahead.
PGA Tour 2K21 is now available on PC, PS4, XO, and Switch
Tested on XO
Code kindly provided by 2K