Social golf games on Facebook don’t get much better than World Golf Tour

World Golf Tour is the brightest title in a recent proliferation of beautiful and satisfying golf games on Facebook, and it follows and improves upon the exciting developmental trends established by its competition. From its breathtakingly realistic courses to its surgically precise swings and putting motions, this is a true golfer’s social game, complete with real-time multiplayer options and a wide range of recognizable gear. Rookie players might be a little overwhelmed by the wide range of choices here, but it’s safe to say that no other social game on Facebook comes so close to the experience of a real tournament.

The basic gameplay manages to walk the fine line between accessibility and complexity. While it’s quite possible for beginners to simply use the game’s bare-bones suggestions for each shot, you’ll easily fall behind your competition if you don’t manually account for external factors like wind speed, topography, and the type of driver you use. You usually start each match by laying out your basic drive by using the map to place the direction of your ball, and you can zoom in for additional precision. To swing, you slide your mouse along a “swing meter” at the bottom of the screen, and let it loose once it reaches the “excellent” mark. Putting is a little more complicated as it involves judging the subtle variations in the roll of the land to make your put. A grid showing the high points and the low points of the surrounding terrain helps a little, but it’ll take a couple of attempts and a look at the training video to perfect your moves.

World Golf Tour

World Golf Tour features a refreshing number of modes, with the added benefit that most of these can be played in real-time multiplayer matches against other players throughout the world. Some of the most popular options for quick play are the “Closest to the Hole” and “Blitz” modes, in which you have one shot to make it as close to the hole as possible. Other options include Stroke Play—basically a regular game of golf—and Alternate Shot, which allows you to play a 4-player game with two teams. Once your level increases enough, you can even create or join a “country club,” which allows you to host private tournaments with your Facebook friends or other friends you make along the way.

Visually, World Golf Tour often looks like a high-end PC or console game, complete with courses created with a stunning range of high-definition photographs from 12 real-world courses such as Edgewood Tahoe, Pebble Beach, and the venerable course at St. Andrews in Scotland—the oldest course in the world. In addition, it’s possible to spend hours at a time here since there’s no real energy bar to limit your playtime, and the music and sound effects are perfectly appropriate for the subject matter.

World Golf Tour

All of this means an exciting experience for golf enthusiasts. But players whose knowledge of the sport is based only on viewings of Happy Gilmore might find the nuts and bolts of World Golf Tour more than a little overwhelming. Likewise, players who dislike advertisements or constant reminders about how they can buy better clubs or other gimmicks will likely be annoyed before they reach the end of their second match. In the end, however, this is a social game for true golf enthusiasts, and it provides all of the excitement of a real match if played correctly. If you’ve been looking for the perfect social golf game, this is your hole in one.