After its first effort with the PGA Tour licensing with The Golf Club 2019, HB Studios and 2K Sports are back with the freshly rebranded PGA Tour 2K21. The game will feature 15 officially licensed PGA Tour courses as well as 12 professionals, and Sports Gamers Online was able to go hands-on to bring you a preview of what to expect from PGA Tour 2K21.
A smooth swing
When getting on the course in PGA Tour 2K21, the first thing you notice is that the game feels familiar if you have played any of The Golf Club games before. The game has six base difficulties to choose from with a number of different assist options from putting lines to green grids. The swing mechanics are the exact same as the past, but there’s more there to make it more accessible for newer players while being challenging for even the most experienced players.
As was the case with past games in the franchise, PGA Tour 2K21 does a nice job of making each course feel different to one another. You are forced to learn how the greens play, how the hills roll, and more. It’ll ensure that no two rounds will ever play out the same.
To also help make sure no round plays the same, you’ll be able to set your own rules for each round you play. From tee and pin placement to the type of scoring system, nearly everything is up for customization. There’s also a new four-player scramble which is a mode I plan to play a lot with friends.
Lastly, if you find yourself struggling in any area of your game, there is a training and tutorial offering that goes over, in detail, all you need to know in order to have the best success on the course.
Join the PGA Tour
The PGA Tour Career Mode is where many will spend a bulk of their time when playing the game. Off the course there are limitations in what you do. You can improve your clubs, change your look, check rivals, and sign sponsorship contracts. It’s on the course where the career mode really feels special.
Each event gets its own presentation as the commentary team of Luke Elvy and Rich Beem handle the play-by-play and main analyst duties while the familiar voice of John McCarthy takes to the course and follows the action. In a rivalry, you and your rival are compared in tournaments you both enter. Performing better than him will earn you more rewards as well as rivalry points, once you reach a certain threshold in rivalry points, the rivalry comes to an end and your player moves on to the next challenge. There’s no real interaction between your player and your rivals, which would’ve been nice. Instead, it’s just a “rivalry” on paper that gives you a bit of a challenge on the course, but not much more than that.
As mentioned, the game features the likenesses of just 12 PGA Tour pros like Justin Thomas and Sergio Garcia, but you will see other familiar names throughout your career. Names like Rickie Fowler, Webb Simpson and more will show up on tournament leaderboards, you just won’t see cutaways or highlights for those names.
Speaking of the highlights. The presentation during events in the career mode give a great broadcast feel to the game. You’ll hear the crowd cheer from off in the distance, and immediately hear the broadcast mention something happening before cutting away to a replay of that moment. The broadcast team will also talk about what makes each course and hole unique, giving you some nice insight into the event you’re playing in.
There are some hiccups where the replay doesn’t match what’s being the commentary team says. One example saw Gary Woodland missing a long putt, but the commentary team acted as though he sunk it. That’s something I expect to see addressed prior to the game’s August launch, however.
Creating in style
The course designer is back in full force in PGA Tour 2K21, and this time there’s more freedom for the creative ones to really build their dream golf course. You aren’t restricted to the base theme you select for a custom course. Players now have access to all of the elements in the mode to build how they want.
Sticking with creating, the well-known MyPLAYER system is in PGA Tour 2K21. Right at the start of the game, you create your player with a creation system that’s deep for an early offering from the series. There’s no image importing or facial capture, but the in-game sliders allow you to get a unique look for your player.
Overall, PGA Tour 2K21 feels a lot like The Golf Club 2019, but with more refinement and accessibility. The course designer will be the crown jewel mode once again while the Career Mode is certain to give players plenty of value. No matter what type of golf you’re into, there’s plenty to enjoy with PGA Tour 2K21, and there’s more to come with online multiplayer and societies that we couldn’t get to with our preview build. PGA Tour 2K21 releases August 21 on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC, Nintendo Switch, and Google Stadia.
What are you looking forward to the most with PGA Tour 2K21? Let us know in the comment section below, and stick with Sports Gamers Online for more, including our full review of the game.