clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Rory McIlroy PGA Tour's first gameplay video brings us to one of only eight real-life courses (update)

Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

Rory McIlroy PGA Tour publisher EA Sports offered a look at raw gameplay from the upcoming golf title for the first time today, in a lengthy clip of footage from the career mode.

The seven-minute video of the Arnold Palmer Invitational highlights Rory McIlroy PGA Tour's new Quick Rounds. The feature fits a four-round tournament into the time it takes to play a single round by having you play only the most important holes from a course. Thanks to a multiplier, you won't earn any less experience for using Quick Rounds.

The Arnold Palmer Invitational takes place at the Bay Hill Club and Lodge in Orlando, Florida, and Bay Hill is one of just eight real-life golf courses available in Rory McIlroy PGA Tour. Here are the others:

  • Chambers Bay (University Place, Washington)
  • Royal Troon (Troon, Scotland, U.K.)
  • St Andrews (St Andrews, Scotland, U.K.)
  • TPC Boston (Boston, Massachusetts)
  • TPC Sawgrass (Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida)
  • Whistling Straits (Kohler, Wisconsin)
  • Wolf Creek (Mesquite, Nevada)

Pre-order customers will receive a ninth course, TPC Scottsdale, which is located in Scottsdale, Arizona. The other four courses in Rory McIlroy PGA Tour are fantasy playgrounds created by the game's developers at EA Tiburon: Coyote Falls, Lighthouse Pointe, Paracel Storm (inspired by the Battlefield series) and Wetlands.

In golf, your opponent is the course. With only eight real ones, Rory McIlroy PGA Tour offers far fewer courses than the previous games in EA Sports' PGA Tour franchise. Almost all of the Tiger Woods PGA Tour titles on the last generation of consoles shipped with 16 real courses on the disc; EA upped the figure to 20 for the final one, 2013's Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14, following an Xbox 360 update that increased the available storage on game discs.

Rory McIlroy PGA Tour's truncated list means that players will have to do without some renowned, fan-favorite golf courses such as Pebble Beach, Torrey Pines, Bethpage Black and, of course, Augusta National. EA Tiburon told Polygon last month that the team "started from scratch" in building Rory McIlroy PGA Tour, the series' first entry on new-generation consoles. Although PS4 and Xbox One titles can be much larger than Xbox 360 games, it's possible that the courses take up more storage this time around.

In addition, EA is billing Rory McIlroy PGA Tour as offering "golf without limits," since Tiburon eliminated loading between holes on the same course. That improvement also has a meaningful gameplay impact. You'll continue playing from wherever your shot ends up, even if it's on the territory of another hole; no longer is there an "out of bounds" area with a simple two-stroke penalty.

Even so, there's no denying that cutting the number of courses in half for Rory McIlroy PGA Tour is disappointing, especially since the change greatly reduces the variety in the career mode. EA has yet to announce any plans for downloadable courses, though the series has a long history of offering additional ones after launch. We've reached out to EA for comment, and will update this article with any information we receive.

Rory McIlroy PGA Tour launches July 14 on PS4 and Xbox One.

Update: EA said in a tweet from the series' official account that it will be delivering "free content updates post-launch."

It's unclear at this point if the phrase "content updates" means additional free courses; we've asked EA for more details.