I never used to like golf.
The pants always made me laugh. Commentators usually put me to sleep. And having the lowest score went against every sport I had ever played in my life, to be honest. I defiantly turned my attention away – even though a part of me longed to hit the greens and whack the hell out of a tiny ball just to feel something on a crisp Sunday morning.
Truth is, I was never allowed to play golf.
When I was younger, many men around me would joke, “Women don’t belong on the green.” I had watched plenty of Masters alongside my dad and uncle, admiring Tiger Woods’ sheer dominance and yet, I also noticed there weren’t any ladies in the big tournaments. In fact, it wasn’t until 2012 that the first female golfer was admitted to Augusta in the form of two trailblazers: Former US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, and financier, Darla Moore.
The same year, I was dating someone who adamantly suggested that golf was strictly for the boys.
He’d venture out to Queen Elizabeth Park Pitch & Putt multiple times each week, only to leave me behind. I’d ask to play with him and his friends, and he’d always chuckle.
You’re crazy to think you can play with us.
Enter Turbo Golf Racing, a fantastically fun and futuristic online pitch and putt with a twist. Now, this may sound a little dramatic, but playing TGR has given me back my sense of belonging in a sport where I never felt welcome. Pair that with my love for racing (in real life and in video game form), and this arcade-style game has won over my heart for many reasons.
The game itself is fairly simple: up to eight players compete in a variety of space-age courses (three per match), and similar to fan-favourite Rocket League, you’re tasked with hitting a ball off the front splitter of your epically customizable vehicle. That’s where the resemblances stop, though, and I’d like to note that Turbo Golf Racing is totally out of Rocket Leagues’…league. Pun intended.
“Where does the racing bit come in?” you ask.
This is where the typical game of golf takes on a new genre. Let’s call it Golf Kart, because like Mario Kart, users must race against their opponents while utilizing boost features and pick-up items, such as rockets and shields. You win the race if you’re the first to successfully launch your ball into the hole, located at the end of the course.
Each position accumulates a set number of points, and by the end of the three-game match, you’re crowned champion if you have the highest score.
Little ironic, since you technically aim for the lowest score in the real-life sport.
Playing TGR is a complete vibe, too. The music reminds me of the SEGA classic, Combat Cars. With an electronic retro-dance feel, it’s easy to lose track of time while jamming to the harmonious beats.
Overall, the game itself is absolutely addicting. Especially when there’s a four-way tie for pole position with just one race to go. Adrenaline is pumping; rocket deployment is crucial. And since each match win translates to more XP points (which are gained by collecting badges), you’ll climb the ranks in levels quicker by notching more championships under your belt.
With each new level, you earn different Cores that will aid you during a race. I prefer Sand Master and Rough Rider, as both keep your car from slowing down in bunkers and long grass, respectively. There are also Seasons of levels. So, as you level up, you’re gifted different types of balls, wedges, and add-ons for your car that will enhance its performance during a race.
You can totally pimp your ride to be painted in whatever colours your heart desires, too. I’m a big San Francisco 49ers fan and have definitely taken advantage of this option by coating my Boom Buggy body in ravishing red and gold.
If you click on the Shop tab, you’ll access Featured Items that are available to purchase for a limited time. Those items constantly refresh, giving you seemingly endless options to personalize your profile avatar and vehicle to your preferred aesthetic.
By the way…the range of balls is everything.
I get it. It’s just a ball, right? Wrongo. Being afforded the customization of something so modest is, in fact, a very nice touch. Aside from earning different balls while levelling up, you can also spend your championship coins on exclusive spheres, such as a Crystal ball, a fancy Chrono ball (I opted for this beauty) and so much more.
The game is technically a Beta version, or ‘Early Access’, so a plethora of content will continue to be added as suggestions find their way to the Hugecalf Studios developers.
Daily Quests keep me coming back and honestly, I have a newfound love for the actual sport of golf now, too.
Video games have always been my escape from reality. Whether it be after a long day at work or reading a rude comment online, real-world issues weigh heavily on my mental health at times. So, diving headfirst into the online realm can be incredibly healing, especially when the choice of games expands to a sport I’ve always wanted to be a part of.
Thanks to games like Turbo Golf Racing, the “golf is only for the boys” narrative has been eliminated from my mind.
Inclusivity in video games continues to grow and the fact that so many gamers all over this planet are accepting of whoever is on the other end of the screen—regardless of gender, race or religion—is something that I believe game developers like Hugecalf Studios should be very proud of.
For that reason, Turbo Golf Racing wins the Green Jacket when it comes to golf games, fore sure.
The Game Preview is currently available as part of an active Xbox Game Pass subscription on console and PC, or through an Early Access Purchase via Steam – be sure to take a swing at it and let me know in the comments below what you think, too!
Full disclosure: A code for the game was provided by the publisher for review purposes. Here is our review policy.