This game is a stroke of genius. Welcome to the club. By the way, why is the default top score 100?

Review Date: February 13, 2021

Release Date: October 18, 1985

Platform: NES

Publisher: Nintendo

Genre: Sports

Anecdotes: Mario works hard. One can only fight giant gorillas and rescue Princess Toadstool so many times. He might as well get in a round of golf. For my brothers and me, this game actually taught us some golf terminology, especially the word Bogey. As kids, getting a bogey in this game was a regular occurrence. Double bogeys were common, too. We always got high scores in this game, often over 100. Then one day, by some miracle of God, I got a hole in one on hole 14, then never did it again. We also learned the words hook and slice, which were used in the manual, but were never really explained. By testing the manual’s instructions, we figured it out. The manual also used “grain of the turf,” a phrase that became a running joke in our house. We also made fun of the lame sound effects a ton.

This is the 14th hole. Because of it being only 174 yards, I got my only hole in one here. The top half of the hole looks like a Malboro to me.

Description: At its core, obviously it’s simple golf. Players play as Mario and there are three things to control. First is the direction Mario shoots in, controlled by the left and right arrows. While players can only choose directions outside the greens in 22.5 degree increments, they can freely putt in any direction on the green. Second is the choice of clubs, which are rotated by hitting up or down. Third and most difficult is the shot itself. Press A once to start the backswing, press it again to go to the downswing, and press it a third time to hit the ball. The further players are from the white line when they hit the third A determines how far the ball will curve in the opposite direction.

Positives: The game is simple and easy to understand, once players get how to operate the club down. Skilled players should have no problem hitting par; they’ll easily understand the hook and slice effects and can use them to their advantage. The game does a nice job of making the holes varied so players can’t use the same strategy on every hole.

No good golf course is complete without an isthmus in the middle of it.

Negatives: Easily, the worst things about this game are the sound effects. While they made the wise choice of skipping any background music, the effects are laughably bad. Sinking a putt makes a high pitched click. Three beeps happen when a hole ends or there’s a penalty. Shots in the air make a weird, unexplainable sound. Only the club hitting the ball strikes the right kind of tone.

More Screenshots:

This is the putting green. The L’s are actually arrows pointing out which way the ball will curve.
Ok, seriously? How is Mario supposed to get to the pin? By swimming?
It’s hole #18. Can Mario beat the top score of 100?
Yes. Yes, he can.

Grade: B

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