PGA Tour 96

Developer: EA Sports Publisher: Electronic Arts Genre: Sports/Golf Released: September 23, 1995 Rating: 4.5
Sony Playstation
Developer: EA Sports
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Genre: Sports/Golf
Released: September 23, 1995
Rating: 4.5

Released shortly after the launch of the Playstation, PGA Tour 96 was the first golf game to appear on the system.

For a game that’s 14 years old (as of this writing) the game holds up surprisingly well. The game uses the standard 3-click system common with older golf games. Because the screens are all pre-rendered it is not possible to zoom around the course to see exactly where it is that you are aiming, although some might argue that this actually makes the game more realistic.

You aim your shot using both the target arc which shows the potential path of your ball, and a yellow line overlaid on a small overhead map on one side of the screen. The swing system is pretty unforgiving, as even slight inaccuracies in your clicking can cause a huge difference in the trajectory of your ball, but this is a golf sim and not an arcade-style game so this is to be expected.

The game includes two courses; Spyglass Hill, located on the Monterrey Peninsula and where the Pebble Beach Pro-Am is sometimes played, and TPC at River Highlands located in Cromwell, Connecticut. You can play as any one of 14 included PGA pros, including Tom Kite and Fuzzy Zoeller, or create your own amateur player.

Much like actual golf, the game is amazingly quiet. Aside from the occasional wildlife, there is no sound aside from those made by your club and your ball. For some reason, EA decided to include a television-style announcer, but his only comments come prior to your first putting attempt. This makes the announcer seem out of place, and EA should have either recorded comments to be used throughout the game or eliminated the announcer entirely.

Although the graphics are nothing to write home about, they are a huge improvement over the golf games of the 16-bit generation and look quite realistic for their time. The player animations are digitized video of the actual players, showing them not only swing the club but react to poor shots.

Aside from the part-time commentator, the game has no glaring flaws and should be enjoyed by anyone who is a fan of golf, be it video golf fans like me, or those who follow the PGA and/or play the sport.

Buy PGA Tour 96 on GameGavel or Amazon.