As I understand it, golf in the real world is a nice walk through some well cut grass, and mainly involves vaguely pompous dudes smashing a small white ball around and thinking that makes them special. It's possible I'm a heartless cynic though. Digital golfing, however, is so much my bag that it almost doesn't make sense how much apathy I have for the real thing.

PGA Golf Tour Shootout is a particularly fine example of why I love golf games. It's simple in all the right ways, and, to all intents and purposes, is a bit like a giant 3D version of Yahoo Pool. Choose your club, choose your angle, choose your power, hope for the best.

Thankfully everything built around that simple idea is pretty slick as well. There's always something to do, always new challenges to unlock, and the card-based club system means every time you succeed you're taking a step towards having the sort of golf bat collection that's going to make a caddy swoon.

Fore

The game, as you might imagine, is all about trying to get a small ball in a hole that's very, very far away. There are two main modes to play around with - single and multiplayer. In single player it's you against a challenge the computer has set you.

Sometimes you need to get the ball in the hole in a set number of shots - whether that's above or below par depends on the challenge. Others are more complex - one involves landing your ball in a sand trap and still managing to get it into the hole under par. There's no penalty for failing a challenge, and completing them unlocks more. There are shades of a less zany Virtua Tennis here, and that's alright by me.

Then there's the multiplayer. Here you're taking on other players in single hole tournaments. It adds a real frisson of excitement to proceedings knowing you're thwacking balls against another human being - the challenges are great, don't get me wrong, but the meat of the game is in competition.

PGA Golf Tour Shootout iOS review screenshot - The ball in flight

The deeper you get into the game, the more multiplayer options open up. It's a nice touch, and it means that even when you're doing really well, you know there are tougher challenges waiting on the horizon. It's a bit like if Clash Royale was a golf game - win, get card packs, toughen up, try and win again.

The presentation here is especially good. Aside from the solid graphics, the menus you're swiping around are slick and clear - there's none of the obfuscation that you'll sometimes find in free to play games, and there's an intuitive swipe system that makes the whole game just feel like an extension of your phone.

There are a few niggles here and there, and things you're going to have to work out for yourself, but for the most part this is exactly as slick an experience as you'd expect a game bearing the official branding of the PGA tour. Which I hear is pretty important.

Club night

PGA Golf Tour Shootout walks the line between the arcade and the actual fairway really well. If you love golf, then you're probably going to have a great time with this, but even if you don't there's so much fun to be had smacking balls around that the game is almost certainly going to find a place on your homescreen.

There might not be the depth of a real PGA game here, or the wackyness of the other end of the golf game spectrum, but as a mobile dive-in-and-out experience it's pretty much spot on. Pick it up and you'll see what I mean.

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