Tiger Woods PGA Tour 09

EA’s latest version of ball-o-stick-o can be compared to the much underrated Xbox 360 shooter Shadowrun. No, Shadowrun doesn’t feature a hidden golf mini-game (although Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise does – try knocking sweets into holes with the spade). But like Shadowrun, if you don’t have your console connected to Xbox Live then you’re going to miss out on the best bits.

Having ESPN Sports Radio pumped through your TV speakers as you play is just the tip of the iceberg. For a start, it’s possible to take on and set challenges for other gamers to beat – like getting the ball near the hole or an impressive drive off the tee. Not only can you pick and choose challenges from a list, but they also pop up while playing in single player. New ones are being set all the time, and as they only last for 24 hours there’s always something new to have a crack at.

Then there’s the multiplayer mode, in which up to four players can play at the same time. You all tee off together, so you don’t have to sit around watching your rivals fiddle with clubs and stuff. Everybody’s ball leaves a coloured trail, so you can see who has hit what ball where and such. It makes playing online a lot faster and more fluid.

This year’s big new feature is the ability to tinker with golf clubs to adjust the drive, speed, pitch and so forth. To beat some of the challenges you’ll definitely need to spend some time here, but it is a little bit dull – you just have to adjust percentages and then test out the clubs on a driving range, though Tiger’s coach Hank Haney is on hand to give tips and pointers. Funnily enough, dressing up in a pink bunny suit – which you can actually purchase – isn’t one of his recommendations for improving your game.

Speaking of purchases, it’s a bit of a cheek that it costs real money to buy some of the better clubs and equipment. But if you’re stupid enough to do that then it’s your fault.

Matt Gander

Matt is Games Asylum's most prolific writer, having produced a non-stop stream of articles since 2001. A retro collector and bargain hunter, his knowledge has been found in the pages of tree-based publication Retro Gamer.

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