Sid Meier Hits Another Hole in One

Tired of just golfing on your PC? Ever wish that you had the ability to design, and golf on your own links? Then, Sid Meier’s Sim Golf is right up your fairway. In Sim Golf, game players design, manage, and compete on their own golf courses. All of these elements are paramount to your success as a golf course entrepreneur.

As you build your golf course from the ground up, you will need money to do so. Customers and competitions bring money in. By creating challenging and entertaining holes you can be sure that your customers will be coming back for more. Designing your golf holes so that they look hard, but play easy is the key. After all, everyone wants to think they are the next Tiger Woods. If a hole is too hard or too easy, players become unhappy and stop visiting your course. Adding buildings (pro shops, resort hotels, snack bars) and scenery (flower beds, decorative trees) to your course also helps in raising the overall happiness of your clientele. To keep everything running smoothly, you will need to hire employees. Groundskeepers, refreshment vendors and security are required to keep everything in tip- top shape.

Another way to make a little extra cash is to sell lots on your course for home sites. You must be careful not to have too many homes on your course as most golfers dislike them. However, golfers love celebrities (and who doesn’t?) and if your course is swanky enough, you may have someone famous like "Britney Aguilera" or "Howard Sterno" build a summer retreat right on the grounds.

Last but not least, the best way to acquire funds is to golf. Players create their own golf pro to use in one-on-one matches and tournaments. Other golf pros will randomly drop by your course and challenge you to a round of golf. These matches are set up as a skins game, where each hole has a cash prize which the loser pays the winner the allotted amount. In time, if you are operating a first class golf resort, the esteemed SGA (Sim Golf Association) will award you the opportunity to host a SGA approved tournament. Playing well in one of these tournaments, your golf pro can win a nice chunk of change.

Did I explain that properly? Let us review. You need to build a golf course. You need money to build and beautify a golf course. Customers and competitions make money for your golf course. You need employees to run golf course and keep customers happy. Got it? Good.

The game is played, including the golfing, from that high-overhead, aerial view that most "sim" games use. In Sim Golf, the golfing is secondary to the building and maintaining of the course. Be forewarned, the golfing on Sim Golf is not as detailed like playing a PGA golf game. When golfing on Sim Golf, you are telling your player what type of swing to use (regular, fade, draw, backspin, or chip) and aiming each shot. There are no wind gauges, power meters, club selection, swing meters or anything else related to most golf games. I do not mean to imply that the golfing is not fun or entertaining. The golfing is just enough for someone who is not a big golf fanatic. Since a lot of people find detailed golf games boring, this approach should do well with the majority of people. Hardcore golf fans might find it a bit lacking however.

The graphics from game start up to game shut down are beautiful. Like most Maxis games, the overall layout and design of Sim Golf is spectacular. All the options are easy to find and operate, and construction is a breeze. The audio is sharp and clear. Everything, from the man complaining that he shot his ball into the water, down to the birds flying by, can be heard with clarity.

My complaints about Sim Golf are relatively minor. When saving a game, you cannot overwrite a previous save. I had Sim Golf crash a few times when trying to play a tournament, even on a higher-end PC. This actually happened on two different systems, so I suspect there might be a problem somewhere in the program. Anyway, save often to avoid major problems and you should be fine. The crashing was infrequent.

I know this has nothing to do with the game itself, but this is the first game that I have received for review with the new smaller packaging. It’s about time they stopped packaging games in boxes the size of dishwashers.

I thoroughly enjoyed Sid Meier’s Sim Golf. I give Sim Golf 4 out of 5 GiN gems. The overall game play is fun and entertaining. There is a "sandbox" mode for those players who want to design a world class country club without the stress of raising the capital to do so. If you are a fan of the other "sim"and "tycoon" type games, you will love Sid Meier’s Sim Golf.

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