What DOS golf games lack in graphical fidelity, they more than compensate for with realistic simulation of things such as terrain and wind. Some of these are more arcade-oriented than others, skirting the laws of physics in the interest of fun and spectacle. No matter which type of golf game you prefer, I’ve got quite a selection for you to choose from.
Here are the 10 best DOS golf games that are worth checking out. Because these games are so old and from a relatively obscure subgenre, finding detailed information on them can be very hard. Fortunately, you can just go to an online DOS games website and give these a try in your browser to decide whether you like them or not.
Links 386 Pro
Back then, most DOS golf games of the simulation variety were made by just one developer- Access Software. Links 386 Pro is part of their Links series, which began in 1990 with “Links: The Challenge of Golf”. This is the sequel to that game and was released just 2 years later with a few extra features.
If you purchased the CD version for your PC, you could enjoy audio commentary by Bobcat Goldthwait. He acted as your caddie, constantly making sarcastic quips and comedic interjections between plays. The CD version also includes an aerial flyby shot of each hole, streamed in real-time from the disc.
It’s not as simulation-focused as Links 386 Pro, but Mean 18 still features 3 famous courses. It has Augusta National, Pebble Beach, and St. Andrews. If you want, you can even create a custom course using the level editor.
Controls are fairly simple; you execute a complete swing with just 3 mouse clicks. With the first click you initiate the swing, power is adjusted by clicking a second time, and the third click lets you decide between draw or fade. There are two difficulty modes- beginner, and expert.
PGA Tour Golf
Despite being one of the oldest golf games on my list, PGA Tour Golf looks and sounds excellent compared to its peers who had the advantage of using newer technology. The game has three courses- PGA West, TPC Avenel, and TPC Sawgrass. These are actual courses, but the developers also included a fictional course called Sterling Shores.
Four game modes are available- Tournament, Driving, Putting, and Practice. What makes this game amazing is that you get a 3D view of each hole before the shot, after which the camera gradually pans over to your character’s location. Wind physics is a thing, and replays are automatically played for good shots (you even get audio tips from PGA golfers).
World Class Leader Board Golf
While it’s a golf game from the legendary developers at Access, few played it even back when it was new. It simply didn’t get as much attention as the much more well-known Links series of golf games from the same developer. Nevertheless, this is a very fun game and simulates complex details such as wind, terrain features, etc.
You must try to dodge all the water holes, rough patches, and bunkers. There are three real courses in this game- St. Andrews, Cypress Creek, and Doral Country Club. There is a fictional fourth course, along with a level editor so you can craft your own course.
Links: The Challenge of Golf
The very first Access Software game in the Links series, it set the benchmark for several years to come in the simulation golfing genre. While the game has just one course- Torrey Pines South, it makes up for this fact with plenty of detail in every aspect. For instance, there’s an overhead map function that lets you see the whole course and place a contoured grid on top.
It even has audio commentary that reacts based on the dynamic nature of your performance. You can watch replays for every single shot, both from where you hit the ball and from where it landed. And finally, this is one of the earliest golf games to have a multiplayer mode.
Harvey’s Zany Golf
A complete departure from the simulation-style golf games that we’ve been reviewing up until now, Zany Golf is an arcade-like recreation of miniature golf. Just like in real-life mini golf courses, you’ve got plenty of obstacles, banked turns, and drops. To shoot your ball, you click on it and pull back in the opposite direction, much like charging a slingshot.
Once you’re satisfied with the power and angle, you let go. Sometimes, there will be fairies on the course that reward you bonus points for striking them. If you complete one hole fast, you can get more time for the next one.
World Tour Golf
Created by the same team that did Mail Order Monsters, World Tour Golf is inspired by Nintendo Golf (which the developers were playing after they finished Mail Order Monsters). This game is a hodgepodge of ideas and code. Its graphics are based on an internal EA bitmap editor, which would later become Deluxe Paint.
While the game didn’t have a bunch of courses, you could create as many as you wanted with the level editor. Some of the more cartoonish fictional courses in this game are a callback to Racing Destruction Set, another EA game that had been released the year before.
With a name like that, you’d imagine this to be a simulation golf game. But it uses the same engine as Sensible Soccer and Cannon Fodder- two of the wackiest games from the early 1990s.
Sensible Golf doesn’t look realistic, it has this cartoonish art design featuring stick-figure caricatures of humans. Controlling your shot’s power is so hard because you have to time it exactly right as a needle moves up and down along a gauge.
Jack Niklaus’ Greatest 18 Holes of Major Championship Golf
If you’re a golf fan, you’ve surely heard of Jack Niklaus who’s widely considered one of the greatest to ever grace the sport, with 117 professional wins. This game contains his favorite 18 holes in one custom-built course. Holes have been taken from Augusta National Golf Club, Muirfield, Pebble Beach Golf Links, and many other courses.
PGA European Tour
A simulation golf game released in 1994 by EA, based on- you guessed it, the PGA European Tour. PGA European Tour is an interactive glossary/ brochure containing information on significant courses and clubs, with a pretty solid golf game bolted on top of it all. You get real photos of golf courses, their history, audio narration, and video clips of pro players.
DOSBox is how you emulate DOS games on your modern PC. While most of these are abandonware or shareware by now, I recommend purchasing a copy if it’s still available for sale on GOG.
Not because some publisher will barge into your house with a team of lawyers, nobody cares about old DOS games now. But it’s the right thing to do because none of these games cost more than a couple of dollars.
If you found this article useful, you may want to save this pin below to your Gaming board.