HB Studios’ The Golf Club will put course creation in the players’ hands, allowing them to craft their courses from scratch, build their own tours and tournaments, and share them online, according to lead game designer Jordan Ault.
Demoing the game to Polygon, Ault showed off the depth of The Golf Club’s course creator, which he said is accessible to both new players and those who like getting into the nitty gritty of customizing every part of their course. At a top level, players can choose defining features for their course, and the game will randomly generate one based on those specifications. For example, players can decide they want to play in alpine terrain and up the number of trees in the environment. Through a few button presses, a unique course will be created. Once this course has been generated, players have the option to jump in and edit it.
Players also have the ability to play through the course while they’re editing, so they can try out the features before locking them in. In the demo, Ault pulled up a menu that allowed him to "stamp" bunkers on the course. He could also layer them to create different shapes, place trees, buildings and wildlife, and was able to move the holes, change the amount of water that was present in the level, and even change the theme. Selecting the fall theme recreated the entire course, but kept all the features he’d selected. The ability to edit the courses at a granular level means players can accurately recreate real-world courses and customize their own creations to their liking.
Once players publish their courses, they appear on the game’s server and can be played (but not modified) by others. Players will be able to search for courses, which will be organized by player ratings, difficulty levels and other features like time limits, tours and tournaments. The developers will also surface popular user-generated content and their own maps.
"There are always people who are the creative type who really want to get in there and get their hands dirty on the creation side of things, and then there are others who just want to play as much as they can," Ault told Polygon. "So that kind of ecosystem really evens out because people who are making stuff really want others to play, and people who are playing want to be playing all the time.
"To facilitate that, we curate a mix of official and user-generated courses for players based off rating, what’s new, what’s popular and what fits their skill level."
In addition to creating courses, players can also create their own tours, which are collections of courses. They can open the tours up to everyone, send them to friends and set limits on the tours, and it’s up to the player how realistic or bizarre they want their courses and tours to be. Ault said some players have recreated real-life courses down to the smallest detail, while others have created courses full of deer so players have to try to putt between the deers’ legs.
The Golf Club is in development for PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One. It is currently on Steam Early Access and is slated to launch this summer.