In the early 1990s, EA Sports quickly made a name for themselves as the producers of the most realistic sports videogames. Their PGA Tour Golf (1990) release set the standard for how realistic and additive a golf videogame could be. The question was: could EA Sports produce a sequel to PGA Tour Golf (1990) that maintained the high standard set by the first instalment but have enough differences to make purchasing copy worthwhile?
PGA Tour Golf II is a sports simulation game developed by Polygon Games and published by EA Sports for the Mega Drive in 1992. A version was released on the Game Gear by Time Warner Interactive in 1995. For this review, I played the Sega Mega Drive version.
As with most sport sims, there is no plot per se. The object of the game is to compete in and win six tournaments whilst competing against other professional golfers.
With up to four players, there are several modes to play:
Practice Round – Play 18 holes on any course just for fun. You can also just practice your long game on the driving range and/or short game on the putting green.
Tournament – Compete in any tournament which consists of 4 rounds of 18-hole rounds. However, to qualify for the next round, you must make the cut by ensuring you score low enough on your round. If you successfully compete the final round, you earn money and may even win the tournament if you consistently score the lowest numbers of strokes per round.
Skins Challenge – A nice addition to the game. Two to four players can compete in an 18-hole match where each hole is assigned a monetary value. To win the hole, simply complete the hole in the least strokes. The winner takes the pot for that hole. The value of the holes increase as the match progresses. If a hole is tied, the money rolls over to the next hole. To make it more interesting, you can also opt to have pros join the game controlled by the computer.
The courses you can choose to play include:
TPC at Avenel
TPC at Eagle Trace (New)
TPC at Sawgrass
TPC at Scottsdale (New)
TPC at Southwind (New)
PGA West Stadium
At the beginning of each hole, you are greeted with a rotating 3D view of the green and advice from one of the professional golfers on how to approach the hole. Before each stroke, a bird’s eye view of the hole with a cross hair over the pin will appear. You can move the cursor and it tells you the distance from your golfer to the cursor. You can go back to the overview at any time by pressing ‘A’ button.
As you address the ball, a small window will appear showing you how the ball lies, allowing you to select the most appropriate club. The HUD contains all the information you need. You have the wind speed and direction in a box on the bottom left, the power gauge in the middle, and the hole number, hole par, stroke number, current score, distance to pin and club you are using in a box on the bottom right. On the horizon is the cross hair which shows you were you are aiming your shot. You can move this cursor left or right. Your caddy will automatically select the club they think you should use but you can change clubs yourself by pushing up or down on the D-pad. As you do this, you will notice the number to the left of the power gauge will increase or decrease. This is the maximum number of yards the club will hit the ball if the ball was unaffected by wind or how the ball lies.
When you are ready to hit the ball, press ‘B’ and the power gauge begins to fill from right to left. When you have reached your desired power, press ‘B’ again and the power bar begins to descend having left a mark when you stopped the power gauge rising. You then need to press ‘B’ a third time as the power bar reaches the Stroke Bar. If you are accurate, you will hit the ball without a slice or draw. The earlier or later your stop the power gauge either side of the stroke bar will determine the degree of which you slice or draw the ball. After striking the ball, and when the ball begins to descend, the camera angle changes, and you will see where the ball lands.
When you reach the green, a 3D square grid will appear showing you the lie of the green. This allows you to judge the slopes of the green when attempting to putt. Again, by pressing up and down on the D-pad when you are on the green increases and decreases the maximum power of the putt.
A new feature includes a Draw/Fade option allowing you more control over your ball when evading sand bunkers and water hazards.
There is also the new “Hole Browser” feature which allows you to really inspect the course, scrutinize the hazards, and plan the best approach to the green.
How Does It Handle?
Very little has changed from PGA Tour Golf (1990). The controls are easy to learn. It’s the execution that proves difficult, but that is what makes the game so frustrating yet addictive.
The graphics have improved since PGA Tour Golf (1990). The sprites are more detailed, and the swing animation is smoother and looks more realistic. The courses look better too with more differentiation between the light rough and heavy rough. I also think there are more varieties of trees of which are more detailed. The HUD looks slicker too.
When compare to its 16-bit console contemporaries, I think the sprites and courses look much better than Pebble Beach Golf Links (1992).
Music and SFX
Nice, upbeat pieces of music can be heard over the title screen, at the beginning of each tournament, and at the start of each hole which suits the game. In my mind, it is reminiscent of music that would be heard on Prime Time TV over the intro montages to sports TV programmes. There is no music whilst playing your rounds of golf which I prefer.
SFX are very minimal too. You’ll hear the occasional bird tweeting, the ‘thwack’ as you strike the ball, when ball when it lands, an applause when you putt in the hole, and the frustrating splash as the water lands in a water hazard. You don’t need more than this for a golf game. Less is more in this case.
Like most sports games, this really comes into its own in multiplayer mode. The addition of the Skins Challenge is certainly something that will have you returning time and again. Add to that, the game is tough but strangely addictive. It is also a relaxing game which can be played in a semi-sedate manner.
Did I Complete The Game?
You can’t complete this game as such. I guess “completing” it would be winning all the tournaments. The best I ever did was place third in the TPC at Scottsdale.
I used to own this game as a kid, and my father and I would regularly play the Skins Challenge. I was also better than my father at this game and after a few holes…and a few bogeys on his part…he would make an excuse along the lines of “I better get on with some jobs your mum wants me to do.” and would resign from the game, a little to my annoyance.
What The Critics Said:
MegaTech: “Seven 3D courses based on real-life PGA Tour venues are the setting for this prime golf simulation. Multi-player and skins tournaments, on-screen advice form the pros, battery game save – this cartridge is just loaded with features. Overall 94%“.
“Arguably, one of the best 16-bit golf games of its time. It looks great but don’t be fooled by its serene atmosphere. It is challenging enough so that you won’t get bored easily, and addictive enough to keep you coming back for more, especially in multiplayer mode.”
What are your memories of PGA Tour Golf II? I would love to hear your thoughts, and don’t for get to follow and subscribe so that you don’t miss my latest reviews! You can also find me on Instagram: @nicklovestogame
 ‘Game Index – PGA Tour Golf 2‘. MegaTech. (October 1993). Issue 22:101.