By Johan Keyter 11 May 2011


Virtual golfers pay attention, because the annual iteration of EA Sports' Tiger Woods PGA Tour series is back, bringing you new mechanics, updated graphics and all the golfing enjoyment fans have come to expect over the years.

This year's title somewhat removes the focus from series namesake Tiger Woods, instead focusing on the highly exclusive Masters Tournament, held at the beautiful Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia in the United States. This is the first time in many years that the legendary course has been recreated in the virtual realm, and given its exclusive, invitation-only nature, it's one of the most sought after prizes in a Tiger Woods game yet.


Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12 sticks with the controls and gameplay mechanic's of last year's PGA Tour 11 for the most part, with Nintendo Wii and PlayStation 3 players now both able to make use of motion controlled remote swinging.

The game does include one major gameplay addition however, a brand new in-game caddy, by your side at all times to advise you on shots, wind direction, risk factor and of course lugging your stuff around. If you're not a veteran of golfing titles the caddy is a wonderful addition, helping newcomers come to grips with the game by not simply providing an initial tutorial, but actually handing down suggestions on each and every hole you play.

The caddie will provide you with what he thinks are the ideal shots at every hole, and unlike some of the more random aiming guides we've seen in the past, the ball actually ends up landing where he shows. Of course players still need to supply the precise amount of power to their swing, as well as controlling the direction of the ball, although this is much more important when you're on the green.

During our time on the course our caddy relayed generally useful information, although he's by no means perfect. Players can actually “level up” their caddy by completing specific challenges on each course, earning Bronze, Silver or Gold mastery, and in turn enabling your caddy to give more solid advice.

With his help we were able to reach the green in one or two shots on most courses, although when it came to actual putting his usefulness decreases somewhat. Putting is much more focused on the player providing the exact amount of power and direction needed to nudge the ball into the hole, with sloping playing an especially important role. The putting system did cause us some headaches (though it may just be because we're terrible golfers), with the sensitive aim on the analog sticks sometimes causing the ball to go off course very easily.

The fully voice acted caddy really adds a lot to the experience and immersion one gets from the game, although we would've appreciated it if he explained some mechanics a bit better, instead of just giving us new advice each time.

The Masters

Players are once again able to create their own custom golfer, with an impressive amount of customisation options available, allowing you to edit anything from brow height to their eye colour.

As one would expect, players once again start off as an up-and-coming amateur golfer, invited to a number of rookie tournaments and tasked with passing the Q school, a tournament golfers complete before going pro. Once this is done you're tasked with honing your skills in a variety of professional tournaments until the day comes that you finally receive that sought after invitation to The Masters.

The infamous course at Augusta has been recreated in exquisite detail, sporting the best environments and landscapes we've seen from a PGA title yet. Mighty trees and colourful vegetation surrounds the course, with its wonderfully recreated rolling green hills, and of course the odd sand and water trap. Players can even witness individual blades of grass when zooming in to check on their ball, and the character models also look highly realistic.

The Masters license isn't merely restricted to its classic branding and earning of the renowned green jacket though, players are also able to recreate nine “Masters moments” which puts gamers in the shoes of some of the legends in golfing history. Here you're tasked with recreating some of the choice shots over the tournament's prestigious history, dating back all the way to 1934.

Players also have the ability to play online against the scores of past Master's tournaments, to see if they really have the skills to go toe to toe with golfing's greats (at least in a virtual arena). Gamers can also play as Tiger Woods through his four past Masters Tournament wins, needing to match or beat his scores on each round.

Once again the game is set to attract a niche following of competitive online golfers, with online play including player-versus-player games as well as daily, weekly, and special online tournaments being held.

One thing which put a bit of a sour taste in our mouth though was the fact that the game features a large number of DLC options. This is fine for extra content like buying special equipment, but it actually carried over to the career mode as well, with several events being unplayable because we hadn't yet purchased the course it was on. The Xbox 360 and PS3 versions features 16 courses, with a large number of additional courses available for purchase (but being unplayable beforehand). Conversely, the Nintendo Wii version features no DLC and comes with 25 courses.


Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12: The Masters marks a solid but by no means ground breaking entry in the veteran series. Virtual golfers will find much to enjoy about the new game, with updated graphics, new gameplay systems and of course the prestigious Masters tournament adding a ton of new golfing stories to your collection.

New caddy system allows even rookies to land superb shots.
A few control niggles still crop up, and a costly DLC investment needs to be made if you want to experience all the courses.

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