Golf 5 eClub transports you into a world where you can play golf day or night, right from the comfort of your living room! Welcome to a realm of perfect swings, challenging gameplay, and the thrill of a masterful round of golf – all within the boundaries of your virtual reality headset. Let’s get stuck into this review of Golf 5 eClub and find out if it’s the VR Golf game you’ve been waiting for.
Golf 5 eClub offers a well-crafted and authentic VR golf experience with various game modes, well-designed courses, and realistic gameplay, although there are significant areas that need improvement. It faces stiff competition from similar games like Golf Plus, but it’s a genuine contender for the crown of best VR golf game.
Golf 5 eClub Review
I’ve spent many hours playing Golf 5 eClub, exploring all of the courses and game modes. I’ve played it on Quest 2, Pico 4, and I’ve also played the new Steam VR release of Golf 5 eClub on HP Reverb G2. I’ve also played pretty much every other VR golf game you can play today, so have a good impression of how it stacks up to the competition. I’ve been playing real-life golf for more than 25 years which has helped me to get a feel for how realistic Golf 5 eClub is to the real thing. I purchased the game myself and this is a completely independent review of my experience.
Overall, this is a promising VR golf game that does a lot of things right but has plenty of room for improvement. Golf 5 eClub is my top choice for anyone with a Steam VR or Pico headset, but if you have a Meta headset such as Quest 2 or Quest Pro, you have a difficult decision ahead choosing between Golf 5 eClub and Golf Plus.
Golf 5 eClub Courses And Game Modes
Golf 5 eClub offers players a good range of options to practice their game, including three 18-hole courses, a practice range, a putting practice area, Mini-Golf, and a WIPP mode. It has a range of single-player and multiplayer game modes, ensuring that most players are well-catered for.
18-Hole Courses In Golf 5 eClub
All three courses are thoughtfully designed to offer a good variety between individual holes and between the courses themselves. Although not based on any real-life courses, they feel authentic and I could imagine playing on any one of these in real life.
- Dunes: The Dunes course is a challenging course that features plenty of sand traps, water hazards, and undulating greens. Designed to test your golfing skills, this course demands precision and strategic planning to navigate its obstacles successfully.
- Forest: The Forest course offers a more forgiving yet enjoyable experience, set amidst rolling hills and lush greens. The serene environment and picturesque views make it a pleasure to play while still providing a worthy challenge.
- Tropical: The Tropical course transports players to an idyllic setting, complete with palm trees, waterfalls, and vibrant greens. This visually impressive course provides a challenging test, with tricky greens and plenty of hazards.
My only criticism of the courses is that some of the slopes on the fairways and greens are more extreme than you will find on most real-world courses, which can result in your ball rolling a long way after landing. It can be a bit frustrating to see your ball roll back down the fairway, or right off the green after hitting a shot that doesn’t quite hit the target.
Additional Practice Modes
In addition to the three main courses, Golf 5 eClub features several practice modes to help you refine your skills:
- Practice Range: Hone your swing and perfect your technique at the driving range, where you can hit an unlimited number of balls with various clubs. This is a great place to hit a lot of shots in a short space of time, experimenting with different clubs and shot types.
- Putting Green: Improve your putting skills and get a feel for the greens in this dedicated practice mode. The greens tend to be quicker than the majority of real-world courses I play on. I’d love the developers to adjust this a little if possible.
- WIPP Version: A special mode to give you practice at driving, hitting irons, pitching, and putting, with a focus on helping you improve shot precision.
- Mini Golf: Enjoy a fun and casual game of mini golf, perfect for relaxing and unwinding after tackling the challenging courses. I’d love to see this mode expanded a little, as it feels a little basic at present.
Physics And Gameplay
Golf 5 eClub strives to offer an authentic golfing experience, complete with realistic physics and engaging gameplay. While it succeeds in many aspects, some areas still need improvement to fully capture the essence of a true golf experience.
Swing Mechanics: Room For Improvement
Golf 5 eClub has solid swing mechanics but could benefit from some fine-tuning. Swinging the club feels satisfying and you can hit some great shots by swinging just as you would in real life. I generally prefer to use two hands on the controller when swinging a virtual golf club, and while I’ve had good success using this technique in other VR golf games, I found my shots to be quite inconsistent in Golf 5 eClub.
I had much more success using a one-handed swing, and over the space of a few hours, I was able to fine-tune my shots so that I could hit decent shots with all my clubs and fairly reliably fade or draw the ball as needed.
Unfortunately, I found that the most successful technique was quite different from a natural golf swing, as I used a much shorter swing, with exaggerated wrist flexion and extension to produce much more distance and control than I could be using a more natural swing technique.
I would love to see the developers adjust the swing mechanics to reward a more authentic swing action, and I’m sure this can be achieved with some updates to the game. Improving the swing mechanics to better reward natural, real-world swing motions would undoubtedly elevate the gameplay and make Golf 5 eClub a more accurate representation of the sport.
The ball physics in Golf 5 eClub is generally impressive, with the ball behaving as you would expect it to in most situations. The game succeeds in replicating the way a golf ball interacts with different surfaces and how it responds to various types of shots. However, there is one area where the ball physics could use some refinement: the roll on slopes.
On both greens and fairways, the ball tends to roll too freely on slopes, often traveling further than it would in real-life situations. This can be particularly frustrating when the ball comes to land on an upslope and then comes rolling right back down, sometimes almost back to where you hit it from. Addressing this issue would go a long way in enhancing the realism and overall enjoyment of the game.
Gameplay: Smooth And Entertaining
Despite some room for improvement, the overall gameplay in Golf 5 eClub remains solid, smooth, and enjoyable. Playing on the full courses is a satisfying experience, and the variety of game modes keeps the entertainment value high. Each game mode offers its own unique challenges, ensuring players remain engaged and entertained throughout their virtual golfing adventures.
Graphics And Sound
The visuals in Golf 5 eClub are impressively detailed considering it runs on standalone headsets. I love that the developers have chosen to opt for a realistic aesthetic, as I find it much more immersive than the more stylized graphics in Golf Plus.
The game features detailed courses with vibrant colors, natural lighting, and fairly good textures considering the hardware it runs on. The graphics create an immersive environment, transporting players to picturesque golf courses that look and feel like the real deal. The graphics are some of the best I’ve seen in a standalone VR golf game, although they pale in comparison to the graphics of most modern non-VR golf games. The game runs smoothly, and I enjoyed a seamless experience on Quest 2, Pico 4, and the HP Reverb G2 without any noticeable lag or stuttering.
In addition to the visual appeal, Golf 5 eClub’s sound design adds to the overall experience. The sound effects and ambient noises effectively create the atmosphere of a peaceful, sunny day on a golf course. The sound of the club striking the ball, the rustling of leaves, and the chirping of birds all contribute to a relaxing and enjoyable golfing experience.
Golf 5 eClub Multiplayer
You can create a match and invite your friends to join, or you can join a match that someone else has created. When you are in a match, you will be able to see your friends’ shots and chat with them. You can also compete against each other to see who can get the best score.
Golf 5 eClub has a number of different multiplayer features. You can play in a variety of different modes, including match play, stroke play, and scramble play. You can also choose to play in a private match or a public match. Private matches are only open to invited players, while public matches are open to anyone who wants to join.
Pros Of Golf 5 eClub
One of the most significant advantages of Golf 5 eClub is the focus on creating a realistic VR golf game. The developers have gone the extra mile to ensure that the virtual courses are authentic representations of real-life golf courses, complete with realistic textures, terrain, and weather conditions. The physics of the game is also fairly good, although there is plenty of room for improvement.
Golf 5 eClub’s realistic gameplay and aesthetics made me feel completely immersed in the game and it really felt like a substitute for real-life golf. The graphics are impressive for a standalone VR golf game, offering a realistic visual experience that sets it apart from more stylized VR golf games.
Golf 5 eClub’s courses are well crafted, capturing the essence of real golf courses without being based on any specific real-life locations. Each course offers a unique challenge, ensuring that players stay engaged throughout their gameplay.
The game’s physics are commendable, with the ball behaving as you would expect in real-life golf. Although there are some issues with ground friction and swing mechanics, overall, the physics provides a satisfying experience.
Challenging Gameplay and Learning Curve
Golf 5 eClub offers a challenging gameplay experience, with a gradual learning curve that allows players to see steady improvements in their skills and scores over time. This aspect makes the game highly engaging and rewarding.
Home Golf Practice
While Golf 5 eClub isn’t anywhere close to being as realistic as a dedicated home golf simulator, it is an excellent way for you to practice your golf skills at home. The game can help you improve various aspects of your golf technique, such as shaping shots and honing your short game, leading to tangible improvements on the real golf course. After playing Golf 5 eClub for a few weeks, I went out to the real course and played some of the best golf I’ve played in a long time.
Active Gaming Experience
As a VR game, Golf 5 eClub encourages physical activity, providing a more engaging and healthy gaming experience compared to seated games. Although not quite as active as some other VR sports games, players can enjoy a gentle workout while having fun with the game.
Accessible Introduction to Golf
For newcomers to the sport, Golf 5 eClub provides a convenient way to learn about golf without the need to invest in equipment or leave the comfort of your home. The game offers a fun and informative introduction to golf, potentially inspiring players to take their skills to the real course.
Cons Of Golf 5 eClub
While Golf 5 eClub does an impressive job, it’s not without its shortcomings. Let’s look at some of the main areas for improvement.
Limited Course Selection
With only three 18-hole courses available, Golf 5 eClub can feel repetitive at times. Expanding the number of courses would be greatly welcomed, providing more variety and preventing boredom from setting in.
Cumbersome Club Selection
The manual club selection process using VR controllers can feel cumbersome and imprecise. Streamlining this process or incorporating an automatic club selection feature would make life a lot easier.
Difficulty Reading Greens
I have generally found it very difficult to read the greens in Golf 5 eClub, even with the aid of grid lines and arrows. Putting is normally a strength of my real golf game, but I found it much more difficult than in real life, and much more difficult than in other VR golf games, such as Golf Plus. Improving the visual representation of the greens and providing clearer guidance on slopes would help greatly.
Unrealistic Green Speeds and Ball Behavior
The speed of the greens in Golf 5 eClub is faster than in real life, and the ball rolls too freely on greens and slopes on fairways. This unrealistic behavior can be frustrating, particularly when an approach shot rolls back down a hill, or your ball rolls right off the green after a slightly misjudged putt. Adjusting the physics to better simulate real-world golf conditions would significantly enhance gameplay.
Inconsistent Ball Behavior in Rough And In Bunkers
Hitting shots from the rough, and particularly from bunkers seems to be extremely inconsistent. Whilst I expect shot distance to be impacted by the rough or when hitting out of a bunker, I have found the variability of shot outcomes to be really annoying. In particular, bunker shots either end up being far too short, or sailing past their intended target, and I’m left scratching my head wondering what happened. I would be delighted if the developer could look at this issue and make some adjustments to better reflect real-world golf.
Suboptimal Swing Mechanics
Golf 5 eClub doesn’t always reward a natural golf swing and you can often hit better shots using a shorter swing with exaggerated wrist movement. Improving the swing mechanics to encourage more realistic motions would elevate the gameplay experience and provide a more accurate golf simulation.
Golf 5 eClub Vs Golf Plus
When it comes to comparing Golf 5 eClub with its primary competitor, Golf Plus, there are a few key differences. Golf Plus is more polished and full-featured, with a growing number of licensed PGA tour courses to play on. However, it often provides a less realistic, and more arcade-like experience compared to Golf 5 eClub.
Golf 5 eClub provides a great experience, but it does need quite a lot of improvement to calibrate the realism and consistency of shots, but in many ways, it feels closer to real golf than Golf Plus.
It is worth bearing in mind that the officially licensed PGA tour courses in Golf Plus are paid DLC and the cost to purchase all of them will make Golf Plus a much more expensive product than Golf 5 eClub. Both games currently come with three fictional courses with the base purchase.
If you own a Meta headset such as the Quest 2 or Quest Pro, Golf Plus is probably the better game right now due to the greater level of polish, official courses, the larger community, and more frequent updates. However, I’ve been really impressed with what I’ve seen from Golf 5 eClub so far and I am confident it will improve, and close the gap with Golf Plus over time.
If you have a non-Meta Headset that is compatible with Steam VR, or a Pico headset, Golf 5 eClub provides a really enjoyable experience and I would definitely recommend trying it over any of the other VR golf games available.
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