REVIEW: The Golf Club Collector’s Edition

The Golf Club is a video game created by Canadian based developer HB Studios and has been out for almost a year now. You might have heard me talk about The Golf Club before and the story of this game is pretty darn amazing.

HB Studious has worked with gaming juggernaut EA Sports on numerous games in the past such as the legendary Madden NFL and Tiger Woods PGA Tour series’. HB was supposed to be helping EA to create the latest Tiger Woods game but after the release of Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 which included the original 1934 design of Augusta National in its “Historic Edition”, EA Sports decided to take a year off to start fresh from scratch.

With this hiatus, this gave HB Studios (At the time, only a team of around 10 developers. Not sure if this increased or not) a chance to shine by putting out their own golf game. And they did.

I remember always emailing them long before the game released asking how the progress was going because as a video game geek, I was freakin’ jubilant on this refreshing new golf experience. Finally, they announced a beta in the February of 2014 and I was lucky enough to be part of it.

What was so cool about the game was the course creator which was simply just….the “Course Creator” (Now, the Greg Norman Course Designer) which allowed you create any course you like. It was like literally being an “armchair architect” unless of course you’re playing on a couch or bed then you’d be a couch architect or bed architect.

Instead of sitting and dreaming of a layout you want to create, The Golf Club gives you the chance to really design it.

Ever since that beta, The Golf Club has really blossomed and exploded onto the sports gaming scene. At first there weren’t even 100 created courses and now there are well over 40,000 (Including a couple of them that I made that sucked).

What’s cool is that not all of the courses are typical 18 hole courses. Some are mini golf courses, some are 9-holers, some are par 3 courses and some are just flat-out out of control insane, nuts and fun at the same time.

I had a chance to play the Collector’s Edition on the PS4 which includes the Tropical theme in the Greg Norman Course Designer, dynamic weather and a season mode for your competitive juices. I actually pre-ordered the Collector’s Edition which gave you a golf towel with the logo on it if you reserved it at GameStop.

The game plays very smooth and looks beautiful on the PS4 thanks to the console’s strong technology. The swing is the smoothest I’ve ever seen in a golf game to date and specifically, the flop shot is the most dead on swing in the game in my opinion.

Thanks to the nine different themes in the Greg “GET OFF MY LAWN!” Norman Course Designer, you can build beautiful courses in a short amount of time. The themes include, the Autumn, Links, Alpine, Delta, Tropical, Harvest, Countryside, Boreal and rural themes and HB Studios will continue to add more down the road.

You can create any course you can possibly imagine. I just finished designing a par-3 course on an isolated island called “New Genesis Golf Links” (When you play the game, just search “New Genesis”. The island is based on Ellidaey Island in Iceland)

There are some spectacular replicas of real world courses in the game, created by the community. Some of those replicas include Augusta (Magnolia National in the game), Pine Valley, Whistling Straits, Royal Troon, and HB Studios themselves re-created the Pebble Beach design (Titled Stone Reach Golf Links in the game).

Some replicas even have different versions of it like Magnolia National (Thursday) and Magnolia National (Sunday) so you get to play a unique challenge each time. There are also many great fantasy courses that could well be real courses because how good they are.

The Collector’s Edition also features a “Season Mode” to keep your competitive juices flowing. You start off playing in the “Beginner Season” and eventually work your way up to the “Pro Season”.

You play on HB’s designed courses and earn trophies for your wins. You can view the trophy case to view your hardware.

From the season mode screen, you can also do things like check stats, edit your golfer, etc.

The devs have been outstanding with answering people’s questions and have deserve a medal for their efforts. And no, I’m not being a “Kiss A$$”. I’m just telling you what I’ve seen from these guys and it’s been simply remarkable so if you have questions about the game, I recommend contacting those guys or going on the forum and asking where they reply most of the time.

The Collector’s Edition also features a terrific eBook that comes with the game (You get a code to download the eBook in the box). The short book is titled “Insights from Links to St. Andrews” which gives some cool insights into the history of St. Andrews Golf Links and features some great hole-by-hole analysis of the ancient course.

A fantastic book for armchair architects, aspiring course designers, golfers and golf fans alike.

Overall, with the continuous updates of the game and the deep Greg Norman Course Designer and the rich list of created courses, The Golf Club Collector’s Edition has some solid replay value and the courses keep coming. Just saw an unbelievable course that was shared on the forum for the game. Might have to tee it up on that track yo!

I usually don’t do scores but I will this time since it’s a video game.

Due to replay value thanks to the thousands upon thousands of courses created via the Greg Norman Course Designer, I’m giving this game a 9 out of 10.

You can find out more info about The Golf Club at TheGolfClubGame.com.

Follow me on Twitter @ChiGolfRadio as I’ll be tweeting and retweeting about the U.S. Open, golf video games and about how the BMW Championship needs to stay in “Sweet Home Chicago”!


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PREVIEW: The Golf Club Looks to be the Quiet Storm of Sports Video Games

Taking a practice swing on my newly designed "Windy City Golf Club". If you play the game, look it up!

Taking a practice swing on my newly designed “Windy City Golf Club”. If you play the game, look it up!

The Golf Club, a video game by HB Studios looks to make a name for itself among the sports gaming community and so far it’s been looking great. I had a chance to check out the game thanks to the game being available via Steam’s Early Access.

I will say first hand that the game is fantastic and it hasn’t even released yet. The Greg Norman Course Designer is a major selling point. The gameplay and golf swing mechanics are very smooth and realistic and the sounds are absolutely superb.

The overall quality of the audio made me jump out my seat a bit. It really does sound like you’re out on the golf course with the sounds of wildlife right in your ear while playing on your new beautifully designed golf course.

John, the commentator (Who you can follow on Twitter @NewVoiceofGolf) is great. He sounds realistic and not robotic at all and it feels like he’s right there with you! No joke, I was looking around my room when I first heard him speak.

I was about go all ninja and stuff! He’s great and some of the most realistic sports game commentary I’ve heard. The best thing is? The game will be continuously updated so there will likely be more speech, game modes, etc added.

Yup, that’s right. Not a yearly release! That’s a fantastic way to go with sports games as many fans were wondering why nobody has done this. HB Studios knows what’s up! Now, let me get to the crown jewel of the game that is the Greg Norman Course Designer.

The possibilities are ENDLESS with this amazing mode. You can sculpt the greens, bunkers, or even the land around you and HB’s official course in the game called Knoll Down Golf Club provides an excellent example of this as the surrounding land is very hilly.

You can add everything from the clubhouse to trees and plants to even animals and vehicles and yes you can put them wherever you want….even the fairways and greens (OBSTACLESSSS! Kidding!)!

You can place beautiful clubhouses with an army of golf carts next to it!

You can place beautiful clubhouses with an army of golf carts next to it!

There are four themes to pick from right now (Rural, Alpine, Autumn and Desert) with a Links theme coming during the full release of the game which is my personal favorite theme without a doubt (When you play the game, in the course selection, search “Kings Island” and there will be two courses that are links style)! The course customization is so deep already that you can create your own fairways anyway you like with the power of the “Create Surfaces” tool.

You can add new designs to greens and fairways to give them unique looks and you can even choose what time of day you want your course to be in or even what side of the sky you want the sun to be on. Probably the most powerful thing about the Greg Norman Course Designer, and this is probably the star of the entire game, is the course generator.

I was even able to shape the bunker on the right to look like the Willis Tower (Formerly Sears Tower) in Chicago for my Windy City Golf Club course.

I was even able to shape the bunker on the right to look like the Willis Tower (Formerly Sears Tower) in Chicago for my Windy City Golf Club course.

This feature within the course designer is an absolute gem in gaming. It’s the first thing you’ll notice as soon as you fire up the course designer. All you do is select the theme you want, then there will be a screen with three wheels.

One wheel shows “trees”, one shows “water”, and the other shows “hills”. You rotate the wheel on each of these so the designer can know how many trees, how much water, and how many hills you want on your course. Once you do that, select how many holes you want, your selected difficulty for the course and then give it a name.

Then BOOM! A brand new, beautifully designed, never before seen golf course is created for you. Now it’s up to you if you just want to publish it to the world or tweak it a bit. This powerful feature is unbelievable.

You can literally design a course in seconds! This is great for people who don’t have a whole lot of time for full designing and just want to have a beautiful golf course for other virtual golfers to play. Below is a video I created showcasing a small sample size of gameplay and the power of the Greg Norman Course Designer’s course generator.

You’ll likely be able to grab your copy of The Golf Club on August 25th when the game will feature an even more richer golf experience. In the meantime, you can download the Steam Early Access version here: http://store.steampowered.com/app/269730/

Also, your computer needs to be DirectX 11 compatible for play. I recommend the Lenovo Y510p or Y410p laptops if your computer isn’t DirectX 11 compatible. I use the Y510 and it’s fantastic!

So make sure you leave your comments below because I would LOVE to hear them! Also, be sure to follow me on Twitter @ChiGolfRadio because I have things to say about golf and things and stuff and things….things….


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“The Golf Club” Video Game to Feature Greg Norman Golf Course Design

Dat hat though....

Dat hat though….

Hall of Fame golfer and soon to be golf broadcaster for Fox Sports, Greg Norman is taking his talents to the video game world. Greg, a two-time British Open champion, who has a golf course designing company which has found tons of success since 1987, will team up with upcoming golf game “The Golf Club” which is developed by HB Studios, a developer that has helped EA Sports with numerous games. They were going to develop EA’s latest golf game but EA decided to cancel the game until next year which led to HB creating its own golf game. This was a bold move from the start as HB has a small development team that’s only in the double digits. Now, with this huge partnership with “The Shark”, the game looks to be a true contender in the sports gaming category and a possible threat to EA’s golf game.

Norman’s course designing company has received high praise and is considered the third best course designing company in the world. One of the cool and surprising moves is that Norman and his crew will USE The Golf Club’s course designer themselves to help them build and demo courses for real life use. In other words, any course they design in the game, it will be built in real life. This shows the true power of The Golf Club’s course creator feature, that a legendary company such as the Greg Norman Course Design company would use it to build real life courses. That, my friends, is pretty cool.

This is a screenshot of the main menu of "The Golf Club". Right, smack dab in the middle, the Greg Norman Course Designer.

This is a screenshot of the main menu of “The Golf Club”. Right, smack dab in the middle, the Greg Norman Course Designer.

The course creator was already into effect for HB’s golf game, and was already a brilliant idea but now the course creator is properly titled the “Greg Norman Course Designer”. This feature is the crown jewel of the game which is why the Greg Norman move is huge. There have already been several courses made through The Golf Club’s original course creator in the Steam Early Access version of the game. In golf, the course is the star, and for HB to develop a beautiful golf game with a course creator and to have one of the top course designing companies in the world as an endorsement is a massive step for HB and this game. I am a sports game junkie and I LOVE a good golf game, especially when it has some of the cool features The Golf Club has.

On a more personal note, and I bet some of you guys could relate to this, I was considering attending school to learn landscape design (For golf courses) as well as the media/journalism business but decided to go to the best school that would help me with my love of the media business. Basically, to you high school kids, choosing a college can be tough sometimes! I never really appreciated golf course design much when I first got into golf because all I wanted to do was get the ball in the freaking hole. However, growing up a bit, I started to appreciate design more and now I don’t just look at courses for the beauty of the surroundings (Although that’s still a huge factor for me) but the design of the courses themselves. With the golf course designer and the smooth looking gameplay, The Golf Club looks ready as it gets closer to launch. Look out sports game world! The Golf Club is on the rise!

As mentioned, you can check out the game right now in Steam Early Access.

Hit me up on Twitter because it’s a priority in your life: @ChiGolfRadio


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WATCH: HB Studios Does Hilarious Spinoff of EA Sports’ PGA Trailer

This is TOO funny! Remember the epic EA Sports PGA Tour trailer I showed you? Well, HB Studios who is in the middle of completing The Golf Club, decided to poke fun at EA’s golf title. This has become their official trailer at major video game convention, E3 and it is brilliant and hysterical. If you don’t laugh at the video then I have to question your humor (Hmmm?). First, for those of you who haven’t seen the EA Sports PGA Tour trailer, here it is.

Looks pretty cool right?

Well, HB fired back with authority and came up with a very memorable sports video game trailer in terms of its humor, simplicity and then they show off the beauty of the game as well. Hold on to your spleens! I’m not cleaning for you!

This is going to be a TERRIFIC 2014/2015 for golf gamers everywhere. Get ready!

Hit me up on Twitter because I have things to post and say and stuff: @ChiGolfRadio

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New Golf Video Game Which Doesn’t Include Tiger Woods or Other Pros, Receives Impressive Hype Score

Actual screenshot from HB Studios' The Golf Club video game which will release for the PS4, Xbox One and PC in the spring.

Actual screenshot from HB Studios’ The Golf Club video game.

The Golf Club, the new video game from Canadian game developer HB Studios has already received and impressive score although it hasn’t been released yet and no, Tiger Woods isn’t in the game nor is any other PGA or LPGA Tour golfer but that doesn’t stop golf game fans from giving it a terrific hype score of 9 out of 10. Yup, that’s right, a near perfect score. Although the Tiger Woods PGA Tour series has had an impressive run of scores at 9 out of 10 over the past few years but what makes this score particularly remarkable is for one, it doesn’t bear Tiger Woods’ name on it, secondly, it’s being developed by a company that isn’t EA or 2K Sports but HB Studios and from what I heard, there are only 10 to 15 people working on this game and they already managed to create the holy grail of golf video game features in a course designer feature where players can create any course to their heart’s desire whether it’s Augusta National, Cypress Point or Pine Valley, gamers everywhere can create any course they want, including their home course (Randall Oaks Golf Club in the Chi, what up!). The amazing thing is, it took HB only a month to put this game changing feature in there according to their developer diary.

I mentioned in a recent article about the game that with a huge feature like that and smooth gameplay, The Golf Club in my eyes, will be a Sports Game of the Year nominee. Probably won’t win considering the fact that it would be going up against the likes of NBA 2K and Fifa but a nomination at least by one or two publications would be a major accomplishment. The only thing that may be a little weird for virtual golfers who tee it up in this game is that there is no broadcast presentation. The focus of the game is supposed to basically be in the shoes a golfer who’s playing a round with his or buddies. Just a typical round of golf…only with super mega awesome epic core creating abilities! Regardless of not having a broadcast presentation, the game still looks spectacular. Probably the best thing about The Golf Club and I mentioned this before, is the fact that HB Studios will do continuous updates on the game instead of having yearly releases and this is something that many sports fans have asked for is to have updates on games and just have bi annual releases instead of yearly ones due to some of the many bugs some sports games carry especially Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14, although it’s a fun game, it’s filled with bugs and was only updated once.

Not to mention, these updates that HB Studios is talking about are not just going to be run of the mill updates from what I’ve heard. These updates could include new on course visuals, new tools for the course creator or even new game modes (Wouldn’t that be something?). I was so impressed with what I’ve seen so far from the game, that I have The Golf Club logo featured as the cover photo on the GP Golf Report Facebook page as some of you might have seen already. There’s no specifics on a release date yet but we do know that it’s during the spring so it very well could be an April or May release. There’s also a nice interview Operation Sports did The Golf Club’s Executive Producer, Peter Garcian. How good could this game be? Or will it fall? It’s all in HB’s hands after EA’s golf series took the year off, they just have to deliver a great golf experience for all. As always, leave your thoughts in the comments below! Would love to hear from you!

WARNING: Course creator may make you feel like a God amongst men so please use with CAUTION! Colin, out!

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No Tiger Woods Video Game? No Problem as HB Studios Announces “The Golf Club” and it Looks Like an Early Sports Game of the Year Candidate

Yes, this is an actual screenshot from the game. Look at it! LOOK AT IT!

Yes, this is an actual screenshot from the game. Look at it! LOOK AT IT!

Remember the article I wrote a while back regarding EA Sports parting ways with Tiger Woods while mentioning a new golf game that was supposed to be on the way? Well, virtual golfers can rejoice as the new game is officially a reality now after long weeks of questions, rumors and hype within the golf video game community. HB Studios officially announced their new golf game called “The Golf Club” which will be released this spring so it’s right around the corner. The game is going to be available on the PS4, Xbox One and PC and having a golf game on the PC is HUGE as many PC golfers have been begging for a new title for them to hit the links on their laptops and desktops. This is also an excellent move for HB Studios to have a PC version of the game as it will be easily accessible for gamers who don’t have PS4’s and Xbox One’s since they’ve all been selling out like crazy (Or at least the PS4’s have). The game will have some solid features including one feature that will define sports gaming. A golf course creator. You can create an unlimited amount of courses in the game for you and your friends to play.

The best thing about this feature obviously is the fact that you can create any course in the world from Augusta National to Pine Valley, the tools are all there for you and thanks to the PC’s incredible technology, creation gurus and “mod masters” (modification masters) can really make a course like Augusta look exactly like Augusta which is one reason why I’m really excited for the PC release. This feature is the heart and soul of the game so far along with no loading times. That’s right, no waiting for long load times between holes. As soon as you complete a hole, you move on to the next hole right away. There are only “minimal load times” on certain parts of the game according to HB. The graphics and gameplay look absolutely phenomenal and the swing animations are spot on.

Probably the most amazing thing is that the game is still finishing up development and looks great even right now so imagine how it’ll look when the finished product is complete? From what I’ve seen in the video, there’s no type of broadcast presentation (Not yet anyway) but you can hear what I assume is your caddy talking in the background. Probably the best thing about this game is that it will evolve over time meaning that they’re probably won’t be a sequel to the game but continuous updates over time adding new features, courses, (Yes, there are pre-made courses also but they are fiction courses), etc. This is a huge thing for sports gaming because many people have always wondered why developers never keep one game and just continue to update it over time for at least a couple of years and then release a new title.

Well, this looks like it will actually happen for the first time in sports video game history for a major developer thanks to The Golf Club. The developers are even taking ideas from fans in the forums so they can try the best in their ability to implement the community’s ideas into the game and that is just absolutely outstanding. The reason why HB can do this is because they’re their own company. They aren’t developing a game for another company like EA or 2K so they have all the freedom in the world to do whatever they want with this game and it’s really exciting to see that they treat the community like family because that’s what golf and video games do is bring people together and HB is doing an excellent job of showing this. You feel welcomed when you’re on the forums with the other golf gaming fans as HB developers take the time out to answer your questions.

Unfortunately, for PlayStation Move and Xbox Kinect users, the game will not be compatible with these devices. However, they did say that they will eventually try to get them in but right now they’re just getting the base of the game in. It’s good that they’ll get the Move and Kinect in eventually because golf games are arguably the best sports games when it comes to the Move and Kinect and adds a more immerse experience. There will also be online rounds where you can play with TONS of other players and there will also be tours as well but no word on a career mode yet but again, the base of the game is going to be releasing which already looks good so once they implement all of the updates and features over time, this game will no doubt be a monster in sports gaming. No word on the release of a demo just yet but stay tuned and keep it locked here as I’ll be sure to let you know as soon as they announce it. So, overall, this game looks spectacular and in my eyes is an early Sports Game of the Year candidate if it lives up to the hype.

You can visit the official website here and you can check out the video below but be careful not to drop your jaw on the floor! Probably the funniest thing about the video is that the last thing they show is a guy missing a putt. Most sports game trailers show something epic like an insane slam dunk or a game winning touchdown, home run or a massive drive off the tee so I couldn’t help but giggle a little bit at the end!

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