Tiger Woods PGA Tour 13: Auto-pilot Golf

Golf, with a checklist.

Joey Davidsonby Joey Davidson


Golf has officially been made way too simple in the new Tiger Woods. Am I complaining? No. But I am attempting to illustrate the difference between gaming, simulation and, well, playing things a little too safe.

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of this weird design stuff, know that this feature can be switched off completely in Tiger Woods 13. It’s an active choice to play Auto-pilot Golf, so don’t let this be a turn off when it comes to buying the game.

Tiger Woods PGA Tour 13 gives users a caddie tips option during play. When you step up to take your shot, you have the chance to ask your caddie for tips. Rather than a quick dialogue box or moment of voice acting that indicates you should pay attention to wind speed or your lie, you’re given exact directions for hitting the perfect ball.

What ensues is what I’m going to dub “checklist gaming.” Pressing a button on the controller brings up a set of caddie tips; they literally appear in a checklist style. You adjust your club choice, stance, loft and distance according to the caddie’s tips. As you meet each qualification, you’re given a confirmation sound.

Then what? Swing away and enjoy your perfect shot.

Want to do it again? Rinse and repeat, it’s that simple.

Let’s have a look at it in motion…

Which brings me to my dad. Seriously.

My dad was huge into Waialae Country Club: True Golf Classics for the Nintendo 64. We picked it up one Christmas a long time ago, and he played it every single day for more than a year. The game had one course in it. One. And my dad knew that course backwards and forwards. In fact, he probably still does.

The thing about Waialae, and perhaps the thing about gaming back then, was that the barrier for entry was extreme. There were no tips, no caddies, no explanations given regarding how and when to shoot. The game, like golf itself, was exceptionally frustrating to learn. While not necessarily a compliment, that does speak to a certain bit of its realism.

Golf should be hard. It’s not a game that you pick up and master within a matter of seconds. It’s tough, it’s frustrating and it’s meant to be damn challenging.

While the caddie tips option in Tiger 13 may eliminate a good portion of the learning curve and barrier for entry, it also eliminates a large division between amateur and veteran players. It makes golf too easy.