While the game of golf is considered a rich man’s sport and with good reason, numerous games have been released on multiple consoles.
Taking into account all the money that must be spent before one even sets foot on a golf course is a frightening prospect indeed.
Fortunately, video games have evolved sufficiently where at a fraction of the cost, we can now experience the game of golf without so much as purchasing a pair of golf shoes.
In our quest to discover the best SNES golf game, we’ve compiled this list to transport you back to the golden age of video gaming.
5. Mecarobot Golf
Developer: Advance Communication Company
Release Date: 4 December 1992
Endorsed by a professional Japanese golfer named Nobuo Serizawa, Mecarobot Golf is set in the near-future where humanoid robots are deemed to be second-class citizens.
Eagle is a robot that can play golf better than any human can, but due to discrimination is not allowed onto the course. A rich benefactor purchases Eagle and designs a golf course for him to play on. This is where the player comes into the story.
The plot comes straight out of a science fiction film and we shouldn’t be too surprised if someone already has an entire trilogy in the works.
If we look a little deeper, the game reflects the very real discrimination that takes place in sports like golf and the developer can certainly be complimented for taking on this heavy subject matter.
The game is extremely slow paced and having to watch your robot competitor also complete his round is pure torture.
The control system is pretty basic for a golf game and nothing stands out apart from the story. Definitely one of the worst golf games on the console.
4. PGA Tour 96
Release Date: January 1996
Platforms: SNES, PC, Game Gear, Genesis, Game Boy, PlayStation, 3DO
An official golf game released by EA Sports makes it onto our list. It came out on multiple consoles with various developers at the head, but for our purposes we will only be reviewing the SNES version.
The game was designed to be played by novices as well as veteran golfers, which made it easy to pick up and play. The various gameplay modes were also welcomed at the time, giving the game a little more longevity.
The ability to control shots gives the player a greater range to work with. The selection of players on offer, the varied terrain and smoothly animated sprites are also pros to consider.
The graphics fall short and are just not as polished when compared to similar games that were released at the time.
The game does slow down at times and it appears as if the developers tried to fit in too much features.
While the precise controls are to be praised, ball physics can be a nightmare, with something like putting proving next to impossible at times.
PGA Tour 96 is easy enough for anyone to jump in, but may prove too easy for a more advanced fan of the game.
3. Kirby’s Dream Course
Developer: HAL Laboratory/Nintendo EAD
Release Date: 21 September 1994
Produced by the legendary Shigeru Miyamoto (creator of Mario and The Legend of Zelda) and developed in a rare collaboration between HAL Laboratory and Nintendo EAD, Kirby’s Dream Course is a little different to most standard golf games, where Kirby himself takes on the role of the ball and has to defeat his evil nemesis King Dedede.
Despite doing away with the conventional golf club, the game has a reliable physics engine with enemies scattered throughout the course.
Kirby also has the ability to unlock special powers which gives the player additional gameplay advantages. The game also rewards players who do well with medals that unlock extra features, such as course alternatives.
The cartoony feel may not appeal to the more serious players and turning the standard golf setting on its head might be considered blasphemous by some.
The controls can be a little problematic and the difficulty setting might prove infuriating. The game has weathered the test of time and digital copies are still available for purchase.
2. The Irem Skins Game
Release Date: October 1992
Platforms: Arcade, SNES
Major Title was a golf game that proved so successful at the arcades that it received a SNES release in the form of The Irem Skins Game.
The player can choose between four golfers, each with their own unique skills and abilities. The usual modes are included, with the addition of a skins game.
One of the easiest golf games to pick up and play, as one only has to time the bar to get a decent shot off. We have the traditional third-person view with the camera treating us to a top-down perspective as we track the ball’s trajectory.
The game has also been rated as the best golf game by many sources.
Ports are hardly ever as successful as their arcade counterparts and the game did suffer a slight graphics downgrade.
The play style works for what one would expect from a golf game, but may be a little too simplistic for those looking for a more technical challenge.
The game offers a great gameplay experience and came close to being our top pick.
1: Hal’s Hole in One Golf
Developer: HAL Laboratory
Release Date: 23 February 1991
The golf game that most golf gamers swear by and with good reason, when one considers the pedigree the developer has in producing quality golf games.
Hal’s Hole in One Golf is a traditional golf simulator with the standard three-click control system that one finds in most golf games of the time with a top-down perspective.
Hal’s Hole in One Golf handles pacing well and the lag is almost indistinguishable, which can’t be said for most games in the genre.
The graphics are what one can expect on a 16-bit console and the music fits in well with the general theme of the game. The terrain also handles pretty well for the most part.
This being a golf game, one cannot expect too much in terms of innovation and the gameplay can get quite repetitive.
Landing on the rough or the bunker also incurs undue wrath from the game itself and this aspect can prove to be quite infuriating.
Putting also comes with its own unique challenges and sometimes it comes down to dumb luck.
Even with its shortfalls, Hal’s Hole in One Golf is our top pick for the best SNES golf game and is well worth trying out for any fan of the genre.
Writer by profession, gamer by passion. Born in the 8-bit era of the 80s and reveled in the appearance of the 16-bit consoles. Lived through the unexpected fall of the Sega Dreamcast and meteoric rise of the Sony PlayStation. Avid RPG gamer and Final Fantasy VII is still the best game I’ve ever experienced. My days are spent wondering how the 2P side-scrolling beat-em-up genre died out and saving up to finally book that trip to Japan.