PGA Tour 2K21 is a sure shot, hitting the green with the precision and finesse of a pro. Whether you’re swinging with heavy wood off the tee to win a championship or stepping out of a bunker to save par, stroke play is beautifully designed. It’s also fully malleable, allowing players to achieve a realistic game where they fight against hooks and slices, or an arcade experience where every approach is a whisper of the pin. PGA Tour 2K21 may be a new video game series under the 2K Sports banner, but the nuts and bolts behind it are well worn, tested and refined for years in The Golf Club series. The same development team behind these successful games creates PGA Tour 2K21, and they have further improved their craftsmanship in this new version without sacrificing much. This series’ wonderful bond between the game and the Course Creator is back and better than ever. The rebranding might not have been necessary, but the connection to the PGA plays to a great extent, especially in terms of content, like being able to play 15 championship courses against a number of PGA pros who end up becoming your rivals. The whole experience is supported by a perfectly crafted analog swing that demands timing and fluidity. You see how your movement plays out in real time with a handy indicator. You can feel that you hit the ball perfectly, but the meter knows it better and you see how far you were. The meter goes into your head and you can guess which move you should use. When you factor in the wind and hard-to-read terrain, snapping the perfect shot can be tricky. I struggled for a few laps and hooked the ball more than I want to admit until I found a rhythm and a way to hold the controller to reduce the curve. You can get better clubs, but success and failure depend directly on your swing and putt, which it should be; you won’t see any game-changing stat bonuses here. Every shot counts and demands precision. Pro courses (and a few that HB Studios has created) put on some good fights and are loyal to their real-life counterparts. I haven’t played golf on any of the real courses, but just knowing it’s a precise recreation is a fun experience to have, and you take on the same challenges as the pros. Many courses are built with risk and reward in mind, like sand traps surrounding a beautiful stretch of fairway 300 yards away. If you go for the big shot and miss your goal, hitting the ball rough can lead to a bit of frustration. Getting out of tall grass gives mixed results, as some shots come in well short of where they should, even on perfect swings. It becomes a bit of a guessing game which can lead to an extra hit on an approach, which never does well in tight tournaments. If you’re struggling with any aspect of your game, HB Studios has loaded up with varying options, including six difficulty levels for the swing – the lowest giving each shot the perfect trajectory (although the wind pushes it). always). Facilitating the swing mechanics can lead to much faster matches, providing an arcade-like experience similar to Hot Shots or Mario Golf games. You can use these settings for the entire PGA Tour career, but you can’t compete with them online, an area where professional-level skills are required. The career mode takes you on a guided tour of some of the big events of the PGA Tour (including the FedEx Cup), without much pageantry. The presentation, the celebrations, the post-tournament analysis, the statistical depth and the commentary (which is very repetitive) are all insufficient. I like cutaways that show you close-ups made by other players, but they take too long to load and can make you forget a shot as you get ready. Wins in any avenue of gambling lead to currency which can be used to purchase new clothes and clubs. The clothing options aren’t varied enough, and a lot of it looks, well, a bit junky. The character creator also doesn’t offer much depth, especially in the hair types. I wasn’t able to precisely create myself in the game, but I had a great time creating my own lessons. The authoring tools work well and give you surprising flexibility. One of my holes provoked a new golfing challenge: ten alligators on a green. At the next hole, the airspace over the spindle was blocked by a giant hovering plane. I basically did a PGA mini golf course. You can also automatically generate courses which can then be edited or played in full, so there’s a lot of depth here. If you want to play with friends, you can dive into some great social community options, letting you search and join existing spaces, or create your own where you can invite your friends to take part in tours and tournaments. Some companies require virtual currency donations to join, but luckily you can choose from a lot of free donations as well. PGA Tour 2K21 certainly has areas that could be improved upon, but golf – the heart and soul of the experience – is exceptional and can make you feel like a pro when hitting perfect shots. HB Studios’ expertise in the sport shines and helps this new series get off to a good start.