Of all the sports that can be played alone but still aren’t cheap, golf is right there at the top. Between clubs, finding a course, setting a time, and renting equipment… you’re looking at a pretty penny.
So why not stay in and play some virtual golf for free? Sounds a lot better, and you can change up your course whenever you want, no golf cart required.
We put together some of the best games where you can get your golf kicks for free, whether it’s on the links or just a miniature course.
So, pick a club (or console) and settle in no matter the weather to go hit the green.
One of the finest examples of classic arcade golf, Golden Tee has been around since the coin-op arcades of the 90s. Of course, it was known then for having the rotation control, using a ball in the console to control strength, spin, and cut of the swing.
This mobile version keeps the same arcade spirit of Golden Tee, though you don’t quite get the same satisfaction of rolling a giant ball. There is the satisfaction of golf made by a team that knows a green like the back of their hand. The gameplay is smooth, and driving a long shot over sand traps and water features is still satisfying after all these years.
The most fun of Golden Tee Golf, though, is the arcade-style gameplay. Ridiculous powerups, special clubs, and a fun campaign or versus mode round out the experience to keep any golfers entertained. Microtransactions are optional but will mostly be cosmetics only, so there’s no interruption in gameplay.
Play On: Mobile
Want to show your friends just how terrible you are at minigolf but don’t have a course nearby? With a VR headset, you can show off a lack of skills from the comfort of your living room courtesy of Dream Golf VR.
The physics system of the game is actually very accurate, with weighty responsiveness from the ball and various obstacles around the courses. Two eighteen-hole courses are available right off the bat for free, but if you have a few bucks to drop, DLC courses like the Backrooms make for a pretty fun game. Each course gives the options for a ‘lights out’ mode, too, making a glowing course instead.
Dream Golf VR is the place to go for a relaxing game of mini-golf with a few friends. The VR element is easy to play without making a whole workout routine from it. The best part is an adjustable difficulty level that adds even more traps and obstacles to each course.
Play On: VR
A mobile game shouldn’t be better than some of the top-paid console offerings these days, but here we are. PGA Tour Golf Shootout is definitely a free-to-play game in execution, but the fun is that it’s a casual golf game for anyone.
Tee up on either nine or eighteen-hole courses, with new randomly generated challenges every day. The gameplay is simple, with an arcade-style slider for swing speed, adjustments for wind direction, and a huge amount of variety in clubs. Partnering with the PGA also allows you to go up against the pro stats, seeing if you can get a lower score than some of the best.
PGA Tour Golf Shootout is for the casual mobile gamer who enjoys having a little bit of social aspect. Plenty of clubhouses in the game are active online, with competitions happening daily in some cases. Most are pretty friendly and love helping newcomers to the game find the best loadout.
Play On: Mobile
5. Links E6
The Links games are a staple of golf simulators. Links E6, while not at the lofty heights of previous games, is still one of the better golf games with no cost barrier to play.
Five courses are available off the bat, with some of the best graphics you’ll find in a modern golfer. That said, the physics and stat system of Links E6 is going to be a little overwhelming to newcomers. A three-point swing system is typical for these types of games, but the one in Links has a stranger pace to it than others, requiring faster reactions.
Definitely the game for more avid, hardcore golfers. Links E6 is a game that strives for realism above the others here, trying to give the most in-depth simulator for not only on the green but also off. The management sim side of things is the real high point, offering an immersive view of what goes on behind the caddy.
Play On: PC
Something about Pixel Pro Golf brings me back to the childhood simplicity of Mario Golf on SNES. It has that nice, retro graphic aesthetic with smooth, modernized gameplay, and for a free game, it fits in a full AAA title’s worth of content.
Pixel Pro Golf appears as just a top-down arcade golfer, but the in-depth RPG mechanics spin things more. Upgrades for clubs will help your overall scores, and forty unique courses will require you to get a mastery over each. The best part is that the game isn’t grindy at all, with micro-transactions only applying to new expansions released periodically.
Single-player is fine, but the multiplayer is where Pixel Pro Golf comes in absolutely clutch. With everything being so easy to get into for even a casual gamer, the game is optimized for linking up with friends. You can even play over iMessage with other Apple users.
Play On: Mobile
3. WGT Golf
When it comes to variety for a realistic golf game, WGT Golf is going to be the one. Plenty of courses from real life, all created with satellite imaging and an in-depth physics engine that takes into account everything from environment to club weight. It’s also made by Topgolf, a company with driving ranges almost everywhere.
Realistic graphics are a little bit deceiving, as the graphics are taken from satellite scans overlayed on a 3D terrain map. So it’s going to look a little uncanny. That said, the physics make this one of the best when it comes to realism. The only drawback to WGT Golf is that it suffers from the free-to-play curse, with microtransactions pushed hard.
At least you can have fun for free though, especially in the multiplayer Topgolf mode, putting you on one of the driving ranges. It turns into a game of accuracy to see how many targets you can hit, as well as who’s more precise, which can get really competitive.
The level of trash talk in a multiplayer lobby is something I haven’t seen since the original Modern Warfare 2 days, so just be careful.
Play On: Mobile, PC
There is a catch with Mini Golf Aeons that only the prehistoric level is available for free, with others locked behind DLC. That said, if you’ve ever wanted to play mini golf amidst the dinos, this is definitely the game to get. The other courses are nice too, and usually on sale pretty cheap.
For a game that sends you through ancient wilderness and lofty mountains, the physics are some of the most accurate I’ve seen. You’ll improve your IRL putting game no problem with this one, with gravity, wind, and terrain all realistically utilized for or against your putts. It’s a blast with friends online, too, more than once becoming a game of “Can we hit that dinosaur?” where the answer, more often than not, is yes.
The only disappointing aspect is that this is a VR-only title, but the good news is that it works with almost any headset. A DIY headset made from a toaster and an old cell phone will run Mini Golf Aeons with little issue.
Play On: VR
1. Bogey Brian
Sometimes a sports game is just so silly and charming you can ignore all the goofy unrealistic aspects. That’s what Bogey Brian is, following a sentient ball of slime who dreams of being a golf pro. Except he can’t pick up a club, so instead decides to become the ball.
You’ll control the determined blob by forcefully propelling him along a golf course toward the hole. It takes on the look of an arcade side scroller, and some of the courses will get pretty long, requiring you to use various power-ups. It’s a fun arcade experience, and the best part is that it’s totally free, with no plans for upping the price after early access.
Bogey Brian is definitely a labor of love from the creator, and it’s a one-man job. In the Early Access description, they say that they’re going to continue working on it and, if successful, may eventually add paid DLC.
Play On: PC
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