We don’t know what it is about golf that makes it such a ripe target for videogame creation, but there’s a surprisingly large range of creative and unusual golfing games to be found on the App Store. And plenty of them are really good!
The basic conceit of golf – get ball in hole – has been expanded in so many different directions that no two games on this list are much alike.
If you’re looking for realistic golfing simulation and familiar courses, you won’t find it here. (But WGT Golf has you covered). Instead we’ve selected games that combine golf with other influences to create weird and wonderful genre-defying hits.
Without further ado, here’s our top nine. FORE!
What the Golf? (Apple Arcade)
This title strips golf back to its very simplest form – get object to flag – and toys with the formula endlessly.Less than a minute in, you’ll be firing the golfer himself towards the green rather than the ball, perfectly setting the tone for what’s to come: gravity puzzles, archery games, car chases, and lots of cats – all part of this madcap golfing world. It’s sublimely silly, consistently creative, and worth Apple Arcade’s $5/£5 subscription fee almost by itself.
Desert Golfing ($2/£2)
An artillery game stripped back to an almost absurd degree, Desert Golfing finds you in a minimalist landscape boasting a ball and a hole. Drag to aim, let go to swing and (with a little luck) pot and then move on to the next challenge. It seems endless and there’s no restarting, but it’s ridiculously moreish. See also: low-grav sequel Golf on Mars.
Super Stickman Golf 3 (free)
This is physics-based two-dimensional golf, with the dull parts of golf stripped away in favor of lighter, quicker gameplay. Instead of the rolling hills of St Andrews, imagine a mazy course of sticky walls, super-powered balls and magic portals. Possibly in space. It’s crazy golf on a grand scale, unfettered by the restraint of real-world rules – and it’s a lot of fun. See also: frenzied multiplayer spin-off Golf Blitz.
OK Golf ($3/£3)
OK Golf uses a low-poly, high-color approach reminiscent of paper dioramas, to create a beautiful and relaxing experience that strips away the complexities of the sport to leave a pleasant, peaceful game that’s just fun. Mark Twain once described golf as “a good walk, spoiled” – we think he’d approve of the tranquil approach seen here. OK Golf is like a good walk. Period.
Golf Club: Wasteland ($3/£3)
Your average golf game doesn’t concern itself with the dark state of modern political discourse or impending ecological disaster. But then, Golf Club: Wasteland isn’t your average golf game. Your lonely spaceman plays golf across an ecologically ruined future-Earth, with humanity having ditched its home in favor of a future on Mars. Abandoned factories and office buildings form the basis for the courses you play on, while puddles of toxic waste bring new meaning to hitting into the rough.
Rather than avoiding obstacles, in Drolf you spend much of your time creating them, in order to find the path to the hole – which is far from clear. Here, you use your finger to draw lines and barriers that guide the ball towards the goal. Hence the name: draw golf. Each level gives you a limited pool of virtual ink, which you can use to draw whatever walls, barriers, and guides that you think will help you.
Wonderputt delivers 18 holes of mini-golf with a big helping of surrealist whimsy. Finding the best route through each hole is like a charming little puzzle, and perfectionists will find a whole lot of replay value here. The unique, imaginative level design sees you abducting cows and riding pondside ripples as you aim for a new best score, attempting inch-perfect trick shots and making the most of various moving parts as you go. The whole experience is simply a joy to behold. Wonderputt is now a part of GameClub, meaning you’ll need to subscribe for access to it along with 100+ other games.
Golf Peaks ($3/£3)
Judging angles and distances largely goes out of the window here, and you don’t even need to worry about making clean contact with the ball. Instead, each shot you play is determined by the limited number of playing cards you’re dealt at the start of each round. You might have a shot card that rolls the ball forward three spaces on the grid-like level, or one that chips it forward two and then rolls it another two. It’s an unexpected abstraction of golf, but it really works.
Golf Zero (free)
This is a platform game, but with, like, golf, yeah? Players run and jump around the levels, dodging obstacles and crushing enemies on their way to the flag. When the time is right, you can pop off a volley of golf balls in the direction of the hole and hope one of them sinks. What makes things interesting is that taking a swing slows time, and you can shoot from anywhere. Meaning it’s possible – and often necessary – to sink a mid-air bullet-time chip on your way through a series of deadly obstacles. Pretty cool.