PGA2K21: 15 Best Clubs For Your Golf Bag, Ranked
A golfer is only as good as the clubs they use on the course and these ones are the best available in this PGA game.
Golf is a difficult game , and so is PGA Tour 2K21 for that matter. Mastering the links takes practice, perseverance, and above all, patience. Initially, starting as a custom character is very challenging. Nevertheless, there are tools at the player's disposal to make the game a bit easier, namely the clubs.
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Not all clubs, however, are made equally in PGA Tour 2K21 . Clubs are not only broken down into separate brands but different tiers as well. Knowing which clubs to prioritize will give players that extra edge to improve their game. It's also worth noting that putters, although important, are differentiated purely by their aesthetics in this game. As such, they will not be included on this list.
Updated August 13, 2021 by Mark Hospodar: When it comes to a golf game, club selection is undoubtedly important. As a lowly rookie taking their first steps on the PGA Tour, o ne's choice of clubs isn't too impressive. Like anything worthwhile in life, players are going to have to work hard before getting their hands on the best equipment. Not all of the clubs discussed here will be immediately available to a beginner. However, as players become more successful at their game, fancier pieces of equipment are easier to snag. It's a long, but rewarding process that definitely makes players feel like they are improving, and that their hard work actually does pay off in the end.
15 Ben Hogan GS53 Driver
Every club in the golf bag is important, but Drivers should never be neglected. They are absolutely essential for having any hope of reaching the green efficiently. However, they are not always the easiest clubs to control. One wrong move can mean the difference between hitting the fairway or a spectator in the crowd.
The Silver-tier version of the Ben Hogan GS53 Driver strikes a good balance between distance and forgiveness. It's certainly not a bad club to utilize while players are working toward unlocking the more valuable models throughout their PGA Tour career .
14 Bridgestone Tour B JGR 3-Wood
Although not offering as much distance as a Driver, a 3-Wood can still get the job done admirably. On a Par 5 hole, a 3-Wood is often a good choice to close the distance to the green (assuming you're on the fairway). As with Drivers, players still need to hit the ball relatively flush to reap the maximum reward.
Players can't go wrong with the Bridgestone Tour B JGR 3-Wood, specifically the Silver-tier. It offers excellent distance while also maintaining reliable forgiveness and swing plane. Thus, a player can afford to be a bit sloppier with this club without totally wrecking their game.
13 Ben Hogan VKTR 3-Hybrid
Hybrid clubs are the best of both worlds between Irons and Woods. Due to a shorter shaft length, they are easier to wield than a traditional Wood. In addition, Hybrids can strike the ball more reliably when compared to a long Iron.
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The Ben Hogan VKTR Hybrid brand is a worthwhile club, particularly the Gold-tier. It's a much more forgiving club, representing a less risky option when compared to longer Irons and 3-Woods. If playing it safe is the objective, then a Hybrid is the best way to go.
12 Wilson D7 5-Hybrid
An excellent alternative to the previous entry is the Wilson D7 5-Hybrid. In situations where using a 5-Iron may seem too risky, the 5-Hybrid represents a safer alternative. Particularly on the higher difficulty settings, a little extra security can go a long way.
The Purple-tier version of this club is a solid choice. It's capable of delivering respectable distance while also possessing a slightly larger swing plane compared to the 3-Hybrid. Shot shaping is also comparable, so players can still hit a proper fade or draw.
11 Callaway Mavrik Max 8/9-Irons
Irons are a golfer's bread and butter , so to speak. They range in a variety of differing loft angles and shaft lengths. Matches can be won and lost on the approach to the green, but possessing the best Irons makes that goal a less daunting (not to mention frustrating) endeavor.
For closing short distances, the 8 and 9 Irons are essential. The best, Purple-tier version of the Callaway Mavrik Max series is a great choice. Although controlling the ball is trickier than other clubs, this brand still provides strong distance stats the player should find helpful.
10 Mizuno JPX 921 Tour 7-Iron
No golf bag is complete without a proper 7-Iron. It's a highly versatile "middle Iron" that can come in handy in a variety of situations. Whether it's making a chip shot or getting onto the green, a 7-Iron is capable of getting the job done.
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The Purple-tier variant of the Mizuno JPX 921 Tour is a viable option for players wanting to get the most out of their 7-Iron. Although it can potentially be a little unwieldy, players who get the hang of it can capitalize on the extra bit of distance this club achieves.
9 TaylorMade P790 6-Iron
This club is yet another example of a "middle Iron," capable of achieving a respectable level of distance while traversing the fairway. It grants a bit more yardage compared to a traditional 7-Iron, while still being useful for avoiding lone, obstructive trees.
The TaylorMade P790 6-Iron, specifically the Purple-tier, isn't a bad choice by any means. The club's swing plane is above-average and, like the 7-Iron, is versatile enough to be used in a variety of situations, both good and bad.
8 Wilson Staff Model Wedges
Inevitably, things will eventually go wrong in golf. Hazards such as rough and sand can't be avoided forever. In those situations, Wedges are required to extricate the player from his/her newfound dilemma. Having a trusty set of Wedges is paramount for salvaging a bad situation.
The Purple-tier Wilson Staff Model Wedges are excellent choices for less-than-ideal predicaments. Players can't go wrong with any subtype of Wedge in the Wilson brand, whether it's a Sand, Lob, Gap, or Pitching Wedge.
7 Callaway Mavrik Standard 3-Wood
Regarding Woods, the Callaway Mavrik Standard is a suitable alternative to the previously mentioned Bridgestone brand. The stats are broadly similar. However, the Callaway Mavrik Standard offers significantly more distance than the Bridgestone. Reaching the green on a long Par 5 is more likely with this club.
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Conversely, the Bridgestone is more forgiving, making it more useful for beginners . However, the Callaway Mavrik Standard possesses more distance control, which helps keep the ball on target after a swing. Once players become more comfortable in their game, this club is the superior 3-Wood.
6 TaylorMade SIM MAX 3-Hybrid
A 3-Hybrid is an all-around versatile club. The difference between the TaylorMade SIM MAX and the Ben Hogan VKTR lies primarily in their distance output and control numbers. Both brands are broadly similar in their shot shaping, forgiveness, and swing plane stats.
The TaylorMade SIM MAX has the edge in distance, meaning the ball can travel further than the Ben Hogan brand. It comes at the cost of less distance control, but that shortcoming can be offset by focusing on the accuracy and efficiency of the player's swing.
5 Bridgestone GT B JGR HF2 5-Iron
It's already been stated that short Irons like the 8 and 9 varieties are essential. However, for long and mid-range shots, a 5-Iron can't be neglected. When navigating extensive holes like a Par 5, the 5-Iron is typically one of the player's go-to clubs.
The Silver-tier Bridgestone 5-Iron possesses a great blend of stats that easily makes it one of the best clubs in the game. It has a respectably high forgiveness rate for an Iron when compared to other brands. The Bridgestone's other attributes make it a formidable and versatile club.
4 Mizuno T20 Lob Wedge
A Lob Wedge functions exactly as its name suggests. When hazards block a player's path, this particular club really comes in handy by propelling the ball in a steep arc. If successful, players can avoid sand, water, and trees altogether .
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Players can't go wrong with the Mizuno T20 Lob Wedge. All its stats, with the possible exception of distance control, are quite high for a club of its category. Shot shaping and swing plane are excellent, which helps in maintaining a great deal of accuracy.
3 The Golf Club CV Master Pitching Wedge
Pitching Wedges are perfect for making tricky lay-up shots when approaching the green. Bad shots with a Pitching Wedge can lead to much longer putts than anticipated, wrecking even the most carefully laden plans up to that point.
The attributes of The Golf Club CV Master Pitching Wedge are amazing. Forgiveness, swing plane, and distance control are all well above average. Players who consistently struggle with getting the ball near the flag will be well-served by this club.
2 Bridgestone Golf Tour B XW-1 Sand Wedge
Players will undoubtedly bring along a variety of Wedges when tackling a course . Sand Wedges, in addition to extricating oneself from a trap, are also worthwhile contenders when looking to land on the green.
This Bridgestone Sand Wedge delivers more shot-shaping potential as well as more distance compared to the previously-mentioned Pitching Wedge. Although not quite as forgiving, skilled players can still get to where they need to be efficiently and accurately.
1 TaylorMade SIM MAX Driver
Drivers are all about distance, and not too many can compare with the TaylorMade SIM MAX. This Driver can rifle a ball down a fairway with little trouble. The Purple-tier version of the TaylorMade SIM MAX offers one of the highest distance attributes in the game.
The Purple-tier's extra distance, however, comes at the cost of other stats. For a more well-rounded club, try the Silver-tier. Although the distance is reduced, other stats like forgiveness are much higher, making this club choice a less risky proposition.
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Best Clubs to use in PGA Tour 2K21
Do you want to hit more fairways and greens in PGA Tour 2K21? It might be time to revisit your club choices if you’re having some problems. There are lots of options, and each club has its pros and cons. The best choice comes down to what best fits your playstyle. Some clubs have better stats than others, though. Here’s a look at some of the best clubs to use in PGA Tour 2K21.
Let’s open up that Golf Bag and see what the game has to offer. We’ll take a look at the best drivers, woods, irons, hybrids, and wedges. Each of the clubs in PGA Tour 2K21 has five different attributes that affect it:
- Distance : how far the ball travels
- Shot Shaping : effects the fade and draw
- Forgiveness : swing timing bar
- Swing Plane : how straight you can swing within the swing line bar
- Distance Control : transition point of the backswing to downswing
Here are some of the best clubs to use in PGA Tour 2K21:
TaylorMade SIM MAX – Driver
Callaway Mavrik Standard – 3 Wood
TaylorMade SIM MAX – 5 Wood
TaylorMade SIM MAX – 3 Hybrid
TaylorMade SIM MAX – 4 Hybrid
Bridgestone Golf Tour B JGR HF2 – 5 Iron
Bridgestone Golf Tour B JGR HF2 – 6 Iron
- Bridgestone Golf Tour B JGR HF2 – 7 Iron
- Bridgestone Golf Tour B JGR HF2 – 8 Iron
The Golf Club TGC CV Master – Pitching Wedge
The Golf Club TGC CV Master – Gap Wedge
The Golf Club TGC CV Master – Sand Wedge
The Golf Club TGC CV Master – Lob Wedge
These clubs are popular choices by professional golfers like Dustin Johnson, Tiger Woods, and Rory Mcllroy. The stats on these clubs are solid all around. It’s a forgiving club with a very long distance, meaning you can hit the ball a long way. The forgiveness meter is also about halfway, meaning the swing timer bar is sizeable. It’s not an excellent club for Shot Shaping, also known as the fade and draw, but the club makes up for it in other aspects.
The Callaway Mavrik Standard boasts a reasonable distance, high forgiveness for a 3 Wood, and good all-around stats. It has a carry of 223 yards. Overall, it has high forgiveness for a 3 Wood, which helps a lot with timing.
The TaylorMade Sim Max 5 Wood carries 204 yards. This club boasts high forgiveness and solid swing plane, making it a top tier choice to throw in your bag.
Distance and Shot Shaping stats on this club are great for a hybrid. Again, forgiveness is very high with this club, which is why you may want to consider using it in your bag.
Like the 3 Hybrid, the SIM MAX 4 Hybrid offers solid distance and high forgiveness. PGA Tour 2K21 seems to be all about swing timing, so this is an ideal choice.
These clubs are popular picks by professionals like Tiger Woods, Matt Kuchar, and Bryson DeChambeau. Distance, Forgiveness, and Distance Control are all very high with this club. It has one of the highest forgiveness stats out of all the irons.
Like the 5 Iron, the 6 Iron has high forgiveness and a good swing plane. That combination makes it an excellent addition to the bag. We also stick with the same brand and model for the 7 and 8 iron clubs.
It’s one of the earlier pitching wedges you have access to, but it’s also one of the best all-around wedges. If you struggle with timing, the high forgiveness, swing plane, and distance control are phenomenal.
Again, we’re going with The Golf Club brand wedges. The all-around high stats make it a good option that you can use at any point in the game.
Sticking with the same brand and model, we’re going with the TGC CV Master. Again, the Forgiveness, Swing Plane, and Distance control is just what we’re looking for in a wedge.
When it comes to the short game, this club has all the stats you want. Distance is not great, but that doesn’t matter when it comes to the short game.
Finally, when it comes to putters, the choice does not matter all that much. Unlike other clubs like the drivers, irons, woods, hybrids, and wedges, there are no attributes. Pick whatever you think looks good to your eye. Aside from that, there’s no best putter in PGA Tour 2K21.
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Best clubs to use in PGA Tour 2K21
Our picks for the best clubs in PGA Tour 2K21.
- September 6, 2020
- Guides PGA Tour 2K21
Image via EA Sports
In PGA Tour 2K21, mechanics play a pivotal role in whether you will succeed in the game. Making sure that you have fluid movements will go a long way to having success in 2K21. However, mechanics shouldn’t be your sole focus. Finding the right clubs can go a long way in helping you avoid the bunkers and the rough. But which clubs are the best ones for PGA Tour 2K21? Let’s go over our recommendations, starting with the drivers
In PGA Tour 2K21, you can have a maximum of 14 clubs in your bag. One of those clubs will be your driver, the stick that, for the most part, you will use at the beginning of each hole. Here are our recommendations for which drivers you should target:
Bridgestone Golf Tour B JGR (Silver)
This club, in our opinion, is the best option for beginners. While it does have lower-than-average Distance, the forgiveness on this club is among the best. That forgiveness will come in handy if you tend to slice. The JGR also has a decent Shot Shaping Attribute.
TaylorMade Sim Max (Silver)
If you feel that the JGR is a little too basic, try the TaylorMade Sim Max might be up your alley. The key when upgrading your driver is that you want to improve your Distance attribute, while at the same time, not losing too much in the Forgiveness category. The Sim Max offers you that, and you will also receive a boost in the Swing Plane and Distance Control attributes.
Ben Hogan ES53 (Silver)
Much like the Sim Max, the Ben Hogan ES53 offers a bit more distance than the JGR and slightly less forgiveness. It also provides just about the same power as the TaylorMade Sim Max, so choosing between the two will be a decision that you will have to make.
Keep in mind that there are different editions of each club that is listed above. The other editions of these clubs are of higher class, and thus, will have higher Distance attributes. However, each club’s Forgiveness category is also much lower, so keep this in mind when building your bag.
As far as wood clubs go, it’s probably best to go for accuracy instead of distance. Wood clubs will be your go-to for the tee on par-3 holes and on the fairway for longer par-5 plays. Here are our recommended wood clubs:
Bridgestone Tour B JGR (Silver)
Much like with the JGR driver mode, this club offers a decent amount of Distance to go along with a high amount of Forgiveness. For some holes, it’s probably best to be a bit shorter than longer, as long as the shot is accurate.
Ben Hogan GS53 (Silver)
We look at another Ben Hogan club model, as this time, we focus our attention on the GS53 wood model. This wood will give you a bit more Distance than the JGR, and doesn’t sacrifice that much Forgiveness. The JGR and the GS53 are excellent picks for newcomers to The Golf Club/PGA Tour franchise.
Callaway Mavrik Sub Zero (Gold)
Our last wedge that we will take a look at is the Gold Callaway Mavrik Sub Zero. The Sub Zero offers a good amount of Distance and Forgiveness and a high amount of distance control. To unlock this club, you’ll need to be sponsored by Callaway in MyPlayer mode, which might take some time. However, the time will be well spent, since this club offers a lot to both new and experienced players.
When looking for an iron, there are two attributes you want to focus on, Distance and Distance Control. Since irons will be primarily used to get the ball on the green, the key is to get an iron that will have the ability to get your there but with accuracy. With that said, let’s go over our picks:
Ben Hogan PTx Pro (Gold)
The Ben Hogan PTx Pro has a solid amount of Distance and Forgiveness. However, the PTx’s best attribute might be its fantastic ability to control the distance. The PTx Pro can be a great option for newcomers, especially those who have trouble controlling their shots on the fairway or rough.
Wilson D7 (Gold)
The Wilson D7 is essentially the same kind of club as the PTx Pro. Both clubs have the same Distance, Forgiveness, and Distance Control attributes, so which one you decide to pick is up to you. However, keep in mind that both are sponsorship rewards, meaning that you will have to earn either a Ben Hogan or Wilson club to receive one of these two clubs.
Callaway Mavrik Max (Purple)
If you don’t want to grind in MyPlayer, perhaps the Callaway Mavrik Max will help you. The Mavrik Max has a better Distance attribute than the PTx Pro and D7 models. However, its weaknesses come in the Forgiveness and Distance Control attributes. The Mavrik Max’s Distance Control attribute is lower than both the PTx Pro and the D7, but if you’re all about hitting the ball as far as you can, it’s doesn’t get much better than with this Callaway model.
Now we move to the wedges, which will be the go-to club for you in bunkers and heavy rough that’s close to the green. Let’s go over our recommended wedges for PGA Tour 2K21:
Ben Hogan Equalizer (Purple)
For wedges, the focus will be less on Distance and more on Shot Shaping and Swing Plane. The Ben Hogan Equalizer will do you just fine when it comes to Shot Shaping, without sacrificing Distance, Forgiveness, and Distance Control. The Equalizer could be better with its Swing Plane, but it’s a fine club regardless of the fact.
Bridgestone Tour B XW-1 (Purple)
When it comes to Shot Shaping, you can’t do much better than the Bridgestone Tour B XW-1. The B XW-1 has a fully maxed out Shot Shaping attribute and a high Swing Plane attribute. If you’re looking for a good wedge that will help you with Shot Shaping and Swing Plane, we recommend going with this club over the Equalizer. Or, you could go with our third choice: the Wilson Staff Model.
Wilson Staff Model (Purple)
The Wilson Staff Model has essentially the same attributes that the Bridgestone Tour B XW-1 does. Both have the same Shot Shaping and Swing Plane attributes, putting right on par (pun intended) with the XW-1. And considering that both clubs have the same cost (500 coins), which one you choose will be up to you.
Considering that there are different club attributes for drivers, woods, irons, and wedges, and you would probably assume that each putter is also unique. In this regard, you would be wrong. While there are several different putter models in PGA Tour 2K21, none of them have actual attributes. Because of this, no putter has an advantage over the other.
You can upgrade the default putter currently in your bag at any time, but that should be the absolute last thing you should focus on. Rather, your mind should be on what other clubs you plan on choosing.
About the author
Chris is a staff writer for Gamepur who lives on the East Coast of the U.S. Chris has covered sports games, including the Madden, FIFA, NHL, NBA 2K, and MLB The Show franchises, for Gamepur since 2020.
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Make 2024 your best golf year ever with:
Winner’s bag: The clubs Nick Dunlap used to seal a historic victory at the AmEx
Nick Dunlap plays a Taylormade Qi10 LS driver.
After shooting a record-tying 60 on Saturday at the American Express, in La Quinta California, Nick Dunlap backed it up on Sunday with a final round 2-under par 70, to become the first amateur to win on the PGA Tour since Phil Mickelson at the 1991 Northern Telecom Open.
Take a closer look at the gear Dunlap used to get the job done.
Driver: TaylorMade Qi10 LS , 9 degrees (ProjectX HZRDUS Smoke Green)
TaylorMade Qi10 LS Custom Driver
3-wood: Ping G425 LST, 14.5 degrees
PING G425 LST Fairway Wood
Utility: Srixon ZX , 3-iron ( Project X HZRDUS Black hybrid shaft)
Srixon ZX MK II Custom Utility Iron
Irons: TaylorMade P7MC , 4-PW, ( True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour issue X100 shafts)
TaylorMade 2023 P7MC Custom Irons
Wedges: TaylorMade MG3 (48), TaylorMade MG4 (52, 56, & 60), ( True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400 shafts)
TaylorMade Milled Grind 4 Custom Wedge
Putter: Odyssey O-Works #7
Ball: Titleist Pro V1
Grips: Golf Pride – Tour Velvet BTC cord
Want to overhaul your bag for 2024? Find a True Spec fitting location near you .
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Ryan Barath is GOLF Magazine and GOLF.com’s senior editor for equipment. He has an extensive club-fitting and -building background with more than 20 years of experience working with golfers of all skill levels, including PGA Tour players. Before joining the staff, he was the lead content strategist for Tour Experience Golf, in Toronto, Canada.
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Inside rory mcilroy's dubai trip — and competing visions for pro golf's future, rory's position, dunlap's decision, 5 crucial golf reminders | monday finish, mystery hybrid plus new wedges, irons and drivers at amex | wall-to-wall, in stunning win, nick dunlap showed his best asset might be between his ears, you have to see nick dunlap's alabama teammates lose it after his pga tour win, the surprising reason nick dunlap's historic victory nearly came undone, 2024 american express money: here’s how much every player (except nick dunlap) made, nick dunlap becomes first amateur to win on pga tour in 33 years.
PGA Tour 2K21 Review – For Purists And Newcomers Alike
- First Released Aug 20, 2020 released
PGA Tour 2K21 builds off of the solid foundation of The Golf Club series, delivering a wonderful golf sim that's getting closer to the real thing.
By Steven Petite on August 24, 2020 at 11:00AM PDT
Sports games generally tend to be more arcadey than simulation, with easy-to-learn basic mechanics that make the experience breezy off the bat while also having enough depth to appeal to competitive players. HB Studios' The Golf Club series has consistently defied that mantra by embracing the exacting challenges and unpredictability of golf since its debut title in 2014. With the 2K Games rebrand, I thought PGA Tour 2K21 might aim to be more like EA's defunct golf series. Instead, what's here is a refinement of The Golf Club 2019, with welcome new features and mechanical tweaks that make for a smoother experience on the course.
For those unfamiliar with the franchise, PGA Tour 2K21 is technically the fourth entry in The Golf Club series that was originally self-published by HB Studios. It's the second title to be published by 2K Games following The Golf Club 2019 Featuring PGA Tour, which 2K helped polish ahead of its release in 2018. The transition to the 2K Sports naming convention will likely garner more eyeballs, but for dedicated fans of The Golf Club like myself, you don't have to worry about HB Studios messing with the formula too much.
PGA Tour 2K21's major gameplay change comes with the motion you repeat over and over: your swing. HB Studios removed backswing tempo, which in turn promotes consistent, crisp ball-striking. Every golfer at all levels of play--including Tour pros--has different backswing timing, making this change quite welcome. Overall, I found it much easier to get "perfect" tempo swings. That's not to say the analog stick swing mechanics are too easy now. You still have to make the transition to your downswing in one smooth turn to hit the golf ball on target; the removal of backswing timing merely tosses one unnecessary variable out of the equation, freeing you up to get into a nice groove. Solid swings have a cleaner and fluid look in PGA Tour 2K21, with speed feeling more in-step with real life.
Unlike the extremely forgiving Tiger Woods games with the same control scheme, PGA Tour 2K21's swing mechanics rely on dialed-in precision, at least when you play on Pro settings and up--a requirement for online matches. Get lackadaisical in your downswing and you'll push the ball. Turn over too quickly and you'll pull it. Nailing the timing just right is quite satisfying and is key to posting low scores.
PGA Tour 2K21 has six swing difficulty levels--double the number from The Golf Club 2019--that can be further customized to fit your skill level. Beginners can turn swing timing off and enjoy a far more forgiving experience on one of the three amateur settings--though these are still more challenging than the EA Sports golf games. On the opposite side of the coin, enthusiasts who plan on competing online can play on Pro, Master, or Legend--a difficulty level that requires extremely consistent and precise swings to excel. It's nice that HB Studios added a larger range of difficulty settings without hindering the core experience. Golf is an incredibly challenging game, and PGA Tour 2K21 showcases this while also being more inviting to newcomers.
PGA Tour 2K21 certainly improves on the overall quality of the golf gameplay, but it's not without its misses. If you hit a wayward tee shot, the rough will be there to punish you. The thick grass is as unforgiving as previous games in the series, a fact that makes me feel conflicted. Tour venues tend to have nasty rough that penalizes golfers for missing the fairway, but PGA Tour 2K21's rough can quickly become relentless. On short approach shots where you have a wedge in your hand, the ball tends to come out cleanly with good timing if you club up. Outside of wedge territory and definitely when you start approaching 200 yards, the rough starts to get a bit wonky. Shots tend to come out low and can fall upwards of 50 yards short of where they would land out of the fairway. This fact, for anyone who plays golf, is a head-scratcher at best, especially when you consider that coming out of the rough sometimes makes your ball go further if you catch a "flyer." Even hybrids, which are designed to work well in the rough, perform poorly in "heavy rough" and sometimes even "light rough" lies. Incentivizing hitting the fairway is good, but the penalty for missing the rough doesn't exactly feel in-tune with real golf.
Other than the rough woes, PGA Tour 2K21 is the most impressive golf sim to date from tee to green. It gives you an arsenal of shot types to utilize from full swings to chips and everything in between, including complete control over the trajectory of your shot. The flight path of your ball can be shown in the air, much like television broadcasts of real events. There's also plenty of customization to be found for the HUD. From playing with a clean interface to seeing everything on screen from swing feedback to lie angle, PGA Tour 2K21 has all of the necessary bells and whistles, which should be helpful for those learning the ropes. You can adjust green speeds, tee position, wind, and fairway firmness, setting up each course even further to match your skill level. Spin on wedge shots, even with soft greens, still isn't as pronounced as an avid golfer would expect, but it allows you to flag hunt knowing that the ball will stop on a dime after one hop. And above all else, PGA Tour 2K21 has a fulfilling loop that managed to give me a jolt of excitement almost every time I hit a perfect shot.
Once you get on the green, putting remains the most tricky aspect of the series. Estimating breaks and the correct speed takes time to learn regardless of whether you have the grid-based slope on or off. A new putt preview system, which shows you the proper line, does help with the learning curve. By default, you get three previews per round on Pro difficulty (more on lower difficulties, and none on Master/Legend), but you can adjust that number as you see fit. As they say, though, "Drive for show, putt for dough." And PGA Tour 2K21 makes you work for birdies outside of tap-in range. One aspect of putting that can get frustrating are the cups, which routinely reject balls that hit the edges with perfect speed. Lip-outs are a part of golf, but I can't count the number of times I hit a putt that caught the edge and curled out, only to stop inches from the hole.
The solid on the course experience is bolstered by the incentive-filled overarching systems and deep game modes available in PGA Tour 2K21. The 2K rebranding brings MyPlayer to PGA Tour 2K21. From the outset, you create your own golfer using a robust set of creation tools and then head off on the race to the FedEx Cup on the PGA Tour. You have the option to jump straight to the Tour or participate in Q-School and a shortened Korn Ferry Tour season to earn your Tour card. The Golf Club 2019 had the FedEx Cup already, so the basic progression is the same. That said, expanded use of the official license and better customization features make the career mode more compelling this time around.
PGA Tour 2K21 has 15 real championship courses and events. The Golf Club 2019's six TPC courses--Sawgrass, Scottsdale, Boston, Deere Run, Southwind, and Summerlin--return and are joined by four more TPC courses as well as popular tracks like Riviera, Quail Hollow, Copperhead, Atlantic Beach, and East Lake, the site of the Tour Championship. The remaining courses that fill out the 32-event race to the FedEx Cup are designed by HB Studios. At this point, the only complaint I have about the schedule is that golf's four Major championships aren't present, but hopefully that will change in future iterations.
Every course you step onto across the lengthy season--which you can play as one, two, three, or full four-round events--is a delight, especially the courses that the pros tee it up at each year. HB Studios has replicated these famous layouts to an authentic degree of accuracy. And this time around, you'll see real pros on the leaderboards, including Official World Golf Rankings number one player Justin Thomas, Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Reed, Tony Finau, Jim Furyk, and seven others.
Throughout the season, you'll establish rivalries with the pros, giving you the opportunity to best their performance over a short stretch and unlock new items. CPU performance varies based on your settings, so you can adjust their skill levels if you feel like things are getting too tough or too easy. Sponsorships come with various on-course objectives, which can then be renewed or switched after the contract ends. "Rank up" with a sponsor like TaylorMade, and you'll unlock new SIM Max equipment. This is a stark change from previous entries which only had generic clubs attached to skill level--now you can customize your 14-club set how you see fit with popular brands like TaylorMade, Callaway, and Bridgestone.
Critically, the new club sets mean that those playing with easier settings aren't losing out on distance, as more forgiving clubs--even the starting set--have close to Pro-level distances attached to them. The change is perhaps most profound in the wedge game, as you can now choose between more lofts to fill in the gaps between clubs to your liking. Each club has different attributes for distance, forgiveness, shot shaping, swing plane, and distance control, allowing you to further tweak what's in your bag. Golfers tend to be tinkerers--at least I am--so having more control over your gear adds to the overall strategy and preparation you can do ahead of rounds at various styles of courses.
Though PGA Tour 2K21 has 2K's Virtual Currency, it's lightly implemented in the career mode, even when it comes to brand-name clubs. There's no need to spend real cash on in-game currency to get new gear. You earn VC by playing rounds of golf and leveling up in any mode, which can then be used to purchase new equipment and outfits from brands like Adidas, Under Armour, and Ralph Lauren. But as mentioned, sponsorships also unlock new stuff you can equip without spending any VC. I have a full set of TaylorMade SIM Max clubs that I earned entirely through my sponsorship. It's a much friendlier approach to MyPlayer, especially since you cannot use VC to make your golfer better.
Overall, PGA Tour 2K21's approach to career mode is a welcome change of pace for sports games, but there's one glaring feature that might prove to be confusing for those who look at the cover art. Justin Thomas is the cover athlete, but you cannot play as him or any of the other pros in any game mode.You are locked to your created player. In fact, you will likely only see pictures of the Tour pros and their names on the leaderboards. I say likely because by default each tournament broadcast--your round of golf--is frequently interrupted by highlights from the pros on other holes. This is your only chance to watch them play in the game. The problem is that these interruptions are quite annoying and weirdly frequent. Thankfully, you can turn off the broadcast cutaways and just play your own game. I imagine the non-playable pros have something to do with the licensing agreements, but it's slightly frustrating to not be able to play a casual round as one of the best golfers in the world.
Speaking of presentation, while it won't come as a surprise to anyone who regularly plays sports games, the commentating in PGA Tour 2K21 is pretty bad. Luke Elvy and Rich Beem give solid performances, but after a few rounds, you'll start to notice a ton of repetition as well as repeated inaccuracies with regards to your strokes and position on the leaderboard. I wound up turning the commentary off halfway through my first season and listened to music while playing instead. It's admittedly better than the announcing from previous entries in the series, but it still gets old quite fast.
Outside of the official courses, PGA Tour 2K21 has a course designer and database that will soon be filled with user-created tracks. The course designer is fairly similar to The Golf Club 2019's, though it's more straightforward and generally easier to use. You pick from a set of themes, modify the terrain, and choose the layout, including the number of Par 3s, 4s, and 5s as well as green and fairway sizes. PGA Tour 2K21 auto-generates a course for you based on your selections, which you can then tweak to your liking, including removing and adding entirely new holes. You can add everything from specific plant and tree species to buildings and gates and much more, going as far as designing the scenery in the backdrop. It's a drag-and-drop system that's approachable while providing enough tools to make your own local course or a famous existing course to a tee. Courses made in The Golf Club 2019 can be imported into PGA Tour 2K21 as well.
At the moment, at least on PS4, the course designer certainly chugs, taking more than a few seconds at times to implement each change. I went back to compare the designer with The Golf Club 2019 and found that performance is about the same. While the designer certainly isn't as smooth as the rest of PGA Tour 2K21 experience, it's still an impressive design suite that's bound to bring tons of cool courses to life. And even if you don't feel like spending the time to design your own course, auto-generating new courses is a neat way to play on different layouts with the press of a button. Each time you generate a course, the layout changes, even if all of the settings you have selected are the same.
Online Societies also return in PGA Tour 2K21. You and your friends can set up a society--essentially a social hub where you coordinate tournaments and create your own seasons--and compete for the long haul. Ahead of launch, I wasn't able to test out the online features, but Online Societies was one of the cooler sports game modes in recent memory in The Golf Club 2019, and PGA Tour 2K21 has an official society to join right out of the gate to compete against the whole community. The use of VC in Online Societies seems a tad more questionable, with tournament entry fees, membership fees, and even donations to the society. Solo Societies, which had let you play custom seasons against the CPU, is sadly missing in PGA Tour 2K21, leaving players who prefer to play solo left with the PGA Tour season as their main game mode.
PGA Tour 2K21 improves on the mostly stellar foundation of The Golf Club series, offering the most realistic and pure golf experience in a game to date. There are still some minor annoyances that can temporarily take you out of the experience, but it offers a closer approximation of the actual PGA Tour schedule and a relaxing, streamlined approach to MyPlayer. For the most part, PGA Tour 2K21 admirably captures the peculiar magic of the game of golf.
- Leave Blank
- 15 real PGA Tour courses/tournaments make the FedEx Cup closer to the actual thing
- Branded clubs, including TaylorMade and Callaway, give you more control over your golf bag
- Swing mechanics are much improved, with more difficulty levels available to customize to your skill level
- Course designer is easy to use, and auto-generating new courses is a breeze
- Sponsorship and rivalry systems make career mode progression more compelling
- Hitting from the rough still feels unrealistic
- Cups are a bit too prone to lip-outs
- Not being able to play as Tour pros in any mode is a bummer
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PGA2K21: 15 Best Clubs For Your Golf Bag, Ranked
Golf is a difficult game , and so is PGA Tour 2K21 for that matter. Mastering the hyperlinks takes follow, perseverance, and above all, persistence. Initially, beginning as a customized character may be very difficult. However, there are instruments on the participant’s disposal to make the sport a bit simpler, particularly the golf equipment.
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Not all golf equipment, nonetheless, are made equally in PGA Tour 2K21 . Golf equipment are usually not solely damaged down into separate manufacturers however completely different tiers as nicely. Figuring out which golf equipment to prioritize will give gamers that additional edge to enhance their recreation. It is also price noting that putters, though necessary, are differentiated purely by their aesthetics on this recreation. As such, they won’t be included on this record.
Up to date August 13, 2021 by Mark Hospodar: In the case of a golf recreation, membership choice is undoubtedly necessary. As a lowly rookie taking their first steps on the PGA Tour, o ne’s selection of golf equipment is not too spectacular. Like something worthwhile in life, gamers are going to need to work exhausting earlier than getting their fingers on one of the best gear. Not all the golf equipment mentioned right here will probably be instantly obtainable to a newbie. Nonetheless, as gamers change into extra profitable at their recreation, fancier items of kit are simpler to snag. It is a lengthy, however rewarding course of that positively makes gamers really feel like they’re enhancing, and that their exhausting work truly does repay in the long run.
15 Ben Hogan GS53 Driver
Each membership within the golf bag is necessary, however Drivers ought to by no means be uncared for. They’re completely important for having any hope of reaching the inexperienced effectively. Nonetheless, they aren’t all the time the best golf equipment to manage. One unsuitable transfer can imply the distinction between hitting the golf green or a spectator within the crowd.
The Silver-tier model of the Ben Hogan GS53 Driver strikes a very good stability between distance and forgiveness. It is definitely not a nasty membership to make the most of whereas gamers are working towards unlocking the extra priceless fashions throughout their PGA Tour career .
14 Bridgestone Tour B JGR 3-Wooden
Though not providing as a lot distance as a Driver, a 3-Wooden can nonetheless get the job accomplished admirably. On a Par 5 gap, a 3-Wooden is commonly a good selection to shut the space to the inexperienced (assuming you are on the golf green). As with Drivers, gamers nonetheless must hit the ball comparatively flush to reap the utmost reward.
Gamers cannot go unsuitable with the Bridgestone Tour B JGR 3-Wooden, particularly the Silver-tier. It affords glorious distance whereas additionally sustaining dependable forgiveness and swing airplane. Thus, a participant can afford to be a bit sloppier with this membership with out completely wrecking their recreation.
13 Ben Hogan VKTR 3-Hybrid
Hybrid golf equipment are one of the best of each worlds between Irons and Woods. Resulting from a shorter shaft size, they’re simpler to wield than a standard Wooden. As well as, Hybrids can strike the ball extra reliably when in comparison with an extended Iron.
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The Ben Hogan VKTR Hybrid model is a worthwhile membership, notably the Gold-tier. It is a way more forgiving membership, representing a much less dangerous possibility when in comparison with longer Irons and 3-Woods. If taking part in it secure is the target, then a Hybrid is one of the best ways to go.
12 Wilson D7 5-Hybrid
A wonderful different to the earlier entry is the Wilson D7 5-Hybrid. In conditions the place utilizing a 5-Iron could seem too dangerous, the 5-Hybrid represents a safer different. Significantly on the upper issue settings, a bit of additional safety can go a good distance.
The Purple-tier model of this membership is a strong selection. It is able to delivering respectable distance whereas additionally possessing a barely bigger swing airplane in comparison with the 3-Hybrid. Shot shaping can also be comparable, so gamers can nonetheless hit a correct fade or draw.
11 Callaway Mavrik Max 8/9-Irons
Irons are a golfer’s bread and butter , so to talk. They vary in quite a lot of differing loft angles and shaft lengths. Matches will be received and misplaced on the strategy to the inexperienced, however possessing one of the best Irons makes that objective a much less daunting (to not point out irritating) endeavor.
For closing quick distances, the 8 and 9 Irons are important. The most effective, Purple-tier model of the Callaway Mavrik Max sequence is a superb selection. Though controlling the ball is trickier than different golf equipment, this model nonetheless offers robust distance stats the participant ought to discover useful.
10 Mizuno JPX 921 Tour 7-Iron
No golf bag is full and not using a correct 7-Iron. It is a extremely versatile “center Iron” that may come in useful in quite a lot of conditions. Whether or not it is making a chip shot or getting onto the inexperienced, a 7-Iron is able to getting the job accomplished.
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The Purple-tier variant of the Mizuno JPX 921 Tour is a viable possibility for gamers desirous to get probably the most out of their 7-Iron. Though it may possibly doubtlessly be a bit of unwieldy, gamers who get the dangle of it may possibly capitalize on the additional little bit of distance this membership achieves.
9 TaylorMade P790 6-Iron
This membership is yet one more instance of a “center Iron,” able to attaining a decent stage of distance whereas traversing the golf green. It grants a bit extra yardage in comparison with a standard 7-Iron, whereas nonetheless being helpful for avoiding lone, obstructive bushes.
The TaylorMade P790 6-Iron, particularly the Purple-tier, is not a nasty selection by any means. The membership’s swing airplane is above-average and, just like the 7-Iron, is flexible sufficient for use in quite a lot of conditions, each good and unhealthy.
8 Wilson Workers Mannequin Wedges
Inevitably, issues will ultimately go unsuitable in golf. Hazards comparable to tough and sand cannot be averted endlessly. In these conditions, Wedges are required to extricate the participant from his/her newfound dilemma. Having a trusty set of Wedges is paramount for salvaging a nasty scenario.
The Purple-tier Wilson Workers Mannequin Wedges are glorious selections for less-than-ideal predicaments. Gamers cannot go unsuitable with any subtype of Wedge within the Wilson model, whether or not it is a Sand, Lob, Hole, or Pitching Wedge.
7 Callaway Mavrik Commonplace 3-Wooden
Relating to Woods, the Callaway Mavrik Commonplace is an appropriate different to the beforehand talked about Bridgestone model. The stats are broadly comparable. Nonetheless, the Callaway Mavrik Commonplace affords considerably extra distance than the Bridgestone. Reaching the inexperienced on an extended Par 5 is extra seemingly with this membership.
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Conversely, the Bridgestone is extra forgiving, making it more useful for beginners . Nonetheless, the Callaway Mavrik Commonplace possesses extra distance management, which helps hold the ball on the right track after a swing. As soon as gamers change into extra snug of their recreation, this membership is the superior 3-Wooden.
6 TaylorMade SIM MAX 3-Hybrid
A 3-Hybrid is an all-around versatile membership. The distinction between the TaylorMade SIM MAX and the Ben Hogan VKTR lies primarily of their distance output and management numbers. Each manufacturers are broadly comparable of their shot shaping, forgiveness, and swing airplane stats.
The TaylorMade SIM MAX has the sting in distance, that means the ball can journey additional than the Ben Hogan model. It comes at the price of much less distance management, however that shortcoming will be offset by specializing in the accuracy and effectivity of the participant’s swing.
5 Bridgestone GT B JGR HF2 5-Iron
It is already been acknowledged that quick Irons just like the 8 and 9 varieties are important. Nonetheless, for lengthy and mid-range photographs, a 5-Iron cannot be uncared for. When navigating in depth holes like a Par 5, the 5-Iron is often one of many participant’s go-to golf equipment.
The Silver-tier Bridgestone 5-Iron possesses an important mix of stats that simply makes it top-of-the-line golf equipment within the recreation. It has a respectably excessive forgiveness fee for an Iron when in comparison with different manufacturers. The Bridgestone’s different attributes make it a formidable and versatile membership.
4 Mizuno T20 Lob Wedge
A Lob Wedge capabilities precisely as its title suggests. When hazards block a participant’s path, this specific membership actually turns out to be useful by propelling the ball in a steep arc. If profitable, gamers can avoid sand, water, and trees altogether .
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Gamers cannot go unsuitable with the Mizuno T20 Lob Wedge. All its stats, with the doable exception of distance management, are fairly excessive for a membership of its class. Shot shaping and swing airplane are glorious, which helps in sustaining quite a lot of accuracy.
3 The Golf Membership CV Grasp Pitching Wedge
Pitching Wedges are excellent for making tough lay-up photographs when approaching the inexperienced. Unhealthy photographs with a Pitching Wedge can result in for much longer putts than anticipated, wrecking even probably the most rigorously laden plans as much as that time.
The attributes of The Golf Membership CV Grasp Pitching Wedge are wonderful. Forgiveness, swing airplane, and distance management are all nicely above common. Gamers who constantly wrestle with getting the ball close to the flag will probably be well-served by this membership.
2 Bridgestone Golf Tour B XW-1 Sand Wedge
Gamers will undoubtedly convey alongside quite a lot of Wedges when tackling a course . Sand Wedges, along with extricating oneself from a lure, are additionally worthwhile contenders when seeking to land on the inexperienced.
This Bridgestone Sand Wedge delivers extra shot-shaping potential in addition to extra distance in comparison with the previously-mentioned Pitching Wedge. Though not fairly as forgiving, expert gamers can nonetheless get to the place they must be effectively and precisely.
1 TaylorMade SIM MAX Driver
Drivers are all about distance, and never too many can examine with the TaylorMade SIM MAX. This Driver can rifle a ball down a fairway with little bother. The Purple-tier model of the TaylorMade SIM MAX affords one of many highest distance attributes within the recreation.
The Purple-tier’s additional distance, nonetheless, comes at the price of different stats. For a extra well-rounded membership, strive the Silver-tier. Though the space is decreased, different stats like forgiveness are a lot increased, making this membership selection a much less dangerous proposition.
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About The Writer
Mark Hospodar has been an avid gamer ever since he fired up the unique Medal of Honor on his PS1. A historical past instructor by coaching, Mark has branched out into the fields of fiction and non-fiction writing. He has co-authored a number of printed works, together with Future Imperfect and Tales from the Grimacing Goblin. Nonetheless, his love of gaming has by no means dissipated through the years. An excellent, old style RTS title will all the time convey him again into the fold. His different pursuits embrace horror motion pictures, toy soldier gathering, and something Batman-related.
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https://gamerant.com/pga2k21-best-clubs-guide/ | PGA2K21: 15 Finest Golf equipment For Your Golf Bag, Ranked
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PGA Tour 2K21 Review
PGA Tour 2K is the new name for The Golf Club series, which could have just as easily been rebranded as Dark Holes for its uncompromisingly hardcore simulation of the sport. In its previous incarnation, it showed its players all the forgiveness of a FromSoftware game. But with its latest evolution under the 2K sports banner, PGA Tour 2K21 has layered a raft of more traditional videogame guides and aids on top of that focus on realism in order to make it more approachable to a wider audience. As a result, PGA Tour 2K21 facilitates a members club that anyone can join, yet like all good golf courses there’s still some rough around its edges.
What is the force of your golf swing? May I suggest "Feather Touch"?
Screens - pga tour 2k21.
Both the sponsorships and the Rivals systems just exist in the background while you focus on racking up birdies, so they certainly don’t do any harm to the career mode overall. But I wish they did a better job of rewarding my achievements in more meaningful ways, or accentuating the drama of each tournament. Speaking of which, while the commentary from Rich Beem and Luke Elvy is generally of a high standard, there’s a real lack of pageantry surrounding the events out on the greens. If you manage to take home the main prize there aren’t any presentations or press conferences that follow, just a splash screen with a picture of your trophy to blink at for a few moments before you move on to the next course. You know the dinky little pop-up overlay you get for earning in-game achievements? It’s like getting one of those after winning one of the most prestigious tournaments in world sport.
Gentlemen Only, Ladies Forbidden
PGA Tour 2K21 is the most flexible and enjoyable golf game since EA’s Tiger Woods series was at its peak. While its career mode could have done with some spit and polish to its presentation and featured more meaningful rewards, it nonetheless serves as a solid 20-hour straightaway to what could prove to be the most thriving part of PGA Tour 2K21’s dance floor in the long term; the online societies. As far as establishing a new sports franchise goes (on the shoulders of the three Golf Club games that came before) this might not be the strongest shot off the tee, but it’s ended up in a very playable lie.
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The best us courses in pga tour 2k21.
PGA TOUR 2K21
The overwhelming number of courses available to play in PGA Tour 2K21 , especially considering all of the ones created by talented members of the community, can make it hard to decide which virtual links you should hit up next. I’ve recently tried to help out by highlighting some of the better fantasy courses and mini-putt designs if you’re seeking something a little different. But PGA Tour 2K21 also has plenty of real courses that have been meticulously recreated. As always, you would be wise to check out the course list curated by the fine folks over at the premier online competitive PGA Tour 2K21 website, TGC Tours , where they are always dedicated to listing only the best courses. With that in mind, I’m also putting together my own list of the best US courses in PGA Tour 2K21 right here.
From running my own online society in PGA Tour 2K21 (shameless plug: join Legacy Leagues Golf if you haven’t already), I’ve tried to get creative in how I schedule different seasons within the society based around certain themes. Aside from the enjoyment of getting to assign names to events according to my own whims, which often involves using my favorite restaurants or fictional companies from movies and TV, this can also translate to some intricate planning. In all my years of presiding over the same society, I’ve organized everything from journeys to fictional tropical courses with events all named after legendary hip-hop albums to elaborate tours of real-life Australian courses perfectly arranged from east to west.
For the purposes of this article, I thought I would put together a short virtual tour of US courses that you can play if you’re looking for a selection of some of the better realistic representations of the top courses around the US. I’ve tried to be as precise as possible in the spelling of the names so as to make it as easy as possible for anyone to find them when searching through the thousands of courses that have been added to the game by the community. You’ll probably notice that some of these have “Lidar” (Light Detection and Ranging) or “L” in their name, which is a technology that uses lasers to help better represent the layout of terrains.
Grab your suitcase and your golf bag, but no need to book any tickets because this Canadian is taking you on a road trip all across the United States of America!
The Best US Courses In PGA Tour 2K21
Cypress Point Club – Monterey, CA
California has been well represented in the game thanks to designers throughout the community doing their best to recreate the state’s many standout courses. Rather than teeing off our cross-country trip with anything too difficult though, let’s begin at Cypress Point Golf Club, a relatively short and scenic course that should help build our confidence here at the outset. Take in some great views of the Pacific, drain some birdies, and relish a great warmup for our US tour.
Hobble Creek G.C. – Springville, UT
One of the great things about community courses is that they don’t always have to be the most famous ones for them to have found their way into the game. Case in point is this lesser-known Utah course that designer Brandon Pugh originally attempted to bring to life for The Golf Club 19 after having played on it almost nearly every day as a kid. It’s another fairly simple and straightforward layout that should keep your score low, but you can also feel the care that has gone into every detail.
Sand Hills GC Lidar – Mullen, NE
Consistently ranked as one of the best courses in the US, this emulation of Sand Hill Golf Club captures its spare and natural feel. Just as its name would suggest, the biggest challenge here will be contending with the bunkers that have been strategically strewn about the rolling hills. If you happen to be wondering about the absence of a clubhouse or parking lot, you’ll be happy to know that the designer considered adding these but decided against it because, in reality, these are all located at least 750 yards from the actual course.
Austin Country Club (L) – Austin, TX
As someone who has always wanted to visit Austin but never had the chance in real life, I’ll have to settle for the next best option of visiting its local golf course within PGA Tour 2K21 until I can make it happen. Situated on the shores of Lake Austin, there are some pretty sights to be seen as you work your way through the holes, and you likely won’t have to suffer too many frustrations throughout considering it’s not the most difficult of layouts. Enjoy yourself and work on your game here before we ramp up to some greater challenges on the tour.
Alotian Club LiDAR (t) – Roland, AR
An upscale, ultra-exclusive course like the Alotian Club is the kind that most people will never be lucky enough to access or even glimpse in the real world, so it’s incredibly fortunate when someone in the design community takes the initiative to have it added to PGA Tour 2K21 . The fairly new course that was dreamed up by a billionaire investment banker showcases some creativity in its elevation changes right from the first tee, but it still shouldn’t be tricky enough to have your score ballooning too high.
Valhalla Golf Club (L) – Louisville, KY
This is the kind of generically named course that can present some issues when trying the find the best one to play since there are pages of search results returned when looking for “Valhalla.” Fortunately, there’s a good rule of thumb to keep in mind whenever looking through similarly branded courses. The one that has the most number of plays (while maintaining a high community rating) is generally the one you want to pick. That’s the case with this private one designed by Jack Nicklaus that will make birdies harder to come by thanks to its long par 3s and 4s that don’t leave a lot of room for error.
Black Lake GC Michigan – Onaway, MI
This tour isn’t only about hitting up the most exclusive golf clubs, and to help illustrate that let’s head to this course in Michigan that’s typically regarded as one of the best public courses in the country. With its wide fairways and limited hazards throughout, your biggest worry here will likely be avoiding the kind of shank on a drive that can see your ball find the trees usually lining the fairways.
Winged Foot West (Open) – Mamaroneck, NY
As we get later into this golf trip, it’s only fair that we start to put the skills to the test that have no doubt been developed from playing all of these courses so far. This New York course that’s hosted the US Open a number of times (last in 2020) should fit the bill because perhaps the most accurate way to describe its layout is unforgiving. Thin strips of fairway force you to be accurate, and even if you do manage to hit the greens on your approaches, you must be careful of your ball placement on the greens because many of them have some wicked slopes that can give fits to even the strongest of putters.
Pinehurst No. 2 TGC19 – Pinehurst, NC
Not only are there a lot of different versions of this particular course among the community, but there are plenty of recreations of other courses at Pinehurst as well to make it even harder to find the one being highlighted here. Look for the “TGC2019” at the end (and the large number of plays) to find an effort that does an admirable job of making you experience the various ways this course can leave you scrambling. This is especially true in the stretch run, where some longer holes can make it imperative to find the fairway (or green on lengthy par 3s) if you want a shot at scoring under par.
A Course Has No Name – Augusta, GA
Because PGA Tour 2K21 went so far as to censor any courses with any terms even related to the trademarked Augusta National course in Georgia that hosts The Masters tournament every year, it can be tricky to find the best community recreations of it. There’s one that’s been dubbed “A Course Has No Name” that presents a formidable enough challenge to have you struggling to stay above par just like the real pros, but sadly that one has also been removed from search results. Your best bet is to search for one of the many TGC Tours societies in the game, find in their schedule where they have played a Masters event in the past (usually it will be around the same time of year as the PGA one), and then favorite the course once you manage to find it so you can play on it later.
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Here's every putter used by a winner on the PGA Tour in the 2024 season
Putting is normally a key component to success on the PGA Tour. Given that, it seems logical to take a look at every putter used to win a tour event over the course of the season. As the 2024 season kicked off in Janaury with 38 regular-season and FedEx Cup Playoff events, we're taking a look at what's been in the bag for this year's winners so far. After four events, Ping grabbed its first victory with Matthieu Pavon at the Farmers Insurance Open. Odyssey has two victories while L.A.B. has the other. Come back each week to see who else will be added to the list of winners.
Matthieu Pavon, Farmers Insurance Open
Putter: Ping Cadence TR Tomcat
Key putting stat: Using a center-shafted mid-mallet that Ping introduced in 2015, Pavon ranked fifth in strokes gained/putting, bettering the field average by more than five strokes. He made seven putts in his three rounds at Torrey Pines from longer than 20 feet, including a clutch 23-foot par save on the 16th in Saturday's final round.
Here's all the clubs Pavon used to win at Torrey Pines
Nick Dunlap (a), The American Express
Putter: Odyssey O-Works Tank 7
Key putting stat: The 20-year-old sophomore at Alabama rolled in more than 200 feet of putts during the week, ranking seventh in the field, including a nerve 5 feet, 9 inches, on the 72nd hole for the closing par that alllowed him to become the first amateur to win on the PGA Tour since Phil Mickelson did it 33 years earlier at the 1991 Northern Telecom Open in Tucson.
Here's all the clubs Dunlap used to win at PGA West
Grayson Murray, Sony Open in Hawaii
Kevin C. Cox
Putter: L.A.B. Golf Link.1
Key putting stat: Murray saved his best for last on the putting green, rolling in a 38-footer for a birdie that clinched the playoff victory at Waialae Country Club. For the week he was 23rd in putts per GIR and 29th in strokes gained/putting.
Here's all the clubs Murray used to win at Waialae
Chris Kirk, The Sentry
Putter: Odyssey Ai One 6T CH
Key putting stat: Kirk ranked third in the field in putts per GIR (1.58) and 11th in strokes gained/putting (3.564).
Here's all the clubs Kirk used to win at Kapalua
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PGA Tour 2K21 tips with 8 essential things to know before you play
Master driving, putting and club selection with these PGA Tour 2K21 tips
PGA Tour 2K21 tips have become essential once again following the news that rival game EA Sports PGA Tour is delayed indefinitely. Fancy picking up PGA Tour 2K21 at a budget price and building yourself into a virtual club-swinging phenomenon? Then all your key scouting intel can be found below, right down to intricate strategic details such as understanding wind and use of the Scout Cam. Don't tee off until you've fully mastered these eight vital PGA Tour 2K21 tips.
1. Swing straight
The very first thing you need to do is master your swing. To the bottom right of the screen, you will see a white bar (Swing Plane) that highlights the straightness of your drive. Spending time at the practice range is so important in making sure you master this skill. If you are facing a heavy wind resistance, a precise swing can be the difference between landing on the fairway or drifting into the rough. Pulling back on your chosen analogue stick is the backswing and pushing up is the downswing. Doing this as straight as possible provides the most accurate shot.
2. Time your swing correctly
Another important aspect of your swing is getting the timing right. If your downswing is too fast, you hook the ball and reduce the power of the shot. Hitting the ball too slowly slices the ball, and overpowers your shot. Again, if you are not familiar with PGA Tour 2K21’s controls, spend time at the practice range to get this down to a tee (no pun intended).
3. Scout Cam is your friend
The most useful tool in PGA Tour 2K21 is the Scout Cam. Pressing Triangle/Y before every shot automatically moves the camera to where the ball is going to land. The point of impact can affect every shot you take, so scouting the area makes a difference to your next move. You can assess whether the ground is flat or uneven, and whether there are any obstacles you need to avoid, such as a bunker, tall grass, or a body of water.
4. Pay attention to the wind
At the top of your screen, you can see the direction of the wind, as well as the speed in which it is travelling. If you are facing a heavy gust, your shot will blow away from your chosen landing spot, so it is vital you take the effects of Mother Nature into account. For example, if the wind is blowing in from the right at 8mph, hit the ball a couple of feet to the right so that the wind carries it to the spot you initially intended the ball to land on.
5. Make use of True Shot
One of the best tools at your disposal is True Shot. By pressing and holding L1/LB, you activate True Shot, and from here you get a couple of options to refine your shot. If you are facing a protruding tree branch and need to ‘bend’ your shot, you can move the left trigger to apply draw or fade, essentially bending the curve around the obstacle so that you avoid hitting it. Not only that, but in True Shot you can adjust the angle by moving the left trigger up or down, meaning a high arch stops the ball from gliding across the fairway or putting green upon its landing. A more direct angle moves the ball further when it lands.
6. Putt to perfection
A myriad of factors can cause a putting attempt to miss the hole. Wind speed is one of them, as is the angle of the ground, and the distance from the ball to the hole. The most useful tool is the ability to watch the path of the ball, and you can do this by holding in X/B. This shows where the ball is likely to end up, as a white line simulates your shot. If it ends up a few inches away from the hole, you know to hit it slightly to the left or right, and if the ball is going to end up falling just short, you can increase the power of your shot by moving the right trigger forward.
7. Tailor the difficulty to suit you
PGA Tour 2K21 has a wide range of difficulty options, meaning you can customise exactly how much help you receive when playing. HB Studios has made sure your experience is as satisfying as it can be by including the ability to adjust various settings to tailor its difficulty. You can make swinging more challenging by decreasing the scale of timing and power. The option to remove the Scout Cam and Lie Grid takes away the information you have on the terrain, and disabling various Pro Vision options means you can’t activate True Shot or include the Shot Suggestion.
8. Manage your Golf Bag
Whilst there are a range of different shots to get your head around, picking the right clubs in your Golf Bag is just as important. Throughout your career, new clubs unlock, and you can spend Virtual Currency on a range of drivers, sand wedges, putters, and more. Pay close attention to the stats because they make a huge difference once you are on the course. Clubs with better Forgiveness allow for more error when swinging, improved Shot Shaping gives you wider draw and fade distances, and better Distance Control provides more range in your shots.
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Chris is a freelance journalist, photographer, and charity consultant. He specialises in sports, both in real-life and in the gaming space. He's written for publications including GamesRadar, The Sun, Daily Mail, The Times, The Mirror, and more.
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Pga tour 2k21 review: finally, a golf game that’s the best of both worlds.
- Nick Menta ,
“PGA Tour 2K21" is the deepest golf video game you’ve ever encountered.
That’s the benefit of giving an online community access to a custom course designer.
The rest – the official Tour, course and player licensing that’s been so heavily pushed in the marketing – is kind of just window dressing, albeit really attractive, sorely missed, nice-to-have-back window dressing.
Having spent the better part of the last week toying around with 2K21’s career mode, I can tell you that, judged as a PGA Tour simulation, this title returns golf gamers to the place where EA Sports left them previously. In that sense, we might actually consider it a push.
But if you take what gamers had before as a simulation and combine it with a full-blown course designer, then you have something else entirely. “PGA 2K21" is best judged then as the marriage of two features that had been previously kept separate.
As someone who’s been playing PGA Tour video games since 1999, this was the one thing I always wanted from EA Sports: the ability to create my own courses or to recreate courses that EA simply couldn’t license. Once I got that from HB Studios in “The Golf Club,” I found myself pining for what I had with EA: Tour branding, Tour pros, Tour courses.
This game, finally, has both.
EA’s long-running “Tiger Woods” title came to an end in 2013, and a rebooted offering headlined by Rory McIlroy was abandoned after a single release in 2015. That left gamers in the woods (no pun intended) for three years, after they’d grown accustomed to a yearly Tour release for two decades.
Filling the void was a lesser-known title, “The Golf Club,” from a lesser-known developer, HB Studios. “The Golf Club ” – a game focused on allowing users to create, play and share their own custom-designed golf courses – begat “The Golf Club 2" and what eventually came to be known as “The Golf Club 2019 featuring PGA Tour.”
That was the turning point. And not to disparage it – because I certainly spent enough time playing it – but “The Golf Club 2019 ” is, in retrospect, a (really good) half-step, a bridge to where we are now. The game, developed like its previous iterations by HB but this time published by 2K, was the first to feature Tour branding in three years, since EA’s “McIlroy ” release. It came with seven real-world courses, including TPC Sawgrass and TPC Scottsdale, and served as a starting point.
“ 2K21 " is really the final product, the completed version of “2019.” It’s what gamers hoped to get when the PGA Tour decided to get back into the video game business, and it’s what they have now two years later.
As mentioned at the top, the marketing of “2K21 " has focused on its licensing agreements – with the PGA Tour, with tournament sponsors, with a list of pros, with 15 real-world courses, and with equipment and apparel manufacturers. It’s worth running through it. Here’s the real-world stuff in the game:
Courses (and tournaments)
- Atlantic Beach Country Club
- Copperhead Course at Innisbrook (Valspar Championship)
- East Lake Golf Club (Tour Championship)
- Quail Hollow Club (Wells Fargo Championship)
- Riviera Country Club (Genesis Invitational)
- TPC Boston (The Northern Trust)
- TPC Deere Run (John Deere Classic)
- TPC Louisiana (Zurich Classic)
- TPC River Highlands (Travelers Championship)
- TPC San Antonio (Valero Texas Open)
- TPC Sawgrass (The Players Championship)
- TPC Scottsdale (Waste Management Phoenix Open)
- TPC Southwind (WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational)
- TPC Summerlin (Shriners Hospitals for Children Open)
- TPC Twin Cities (3M Open)
PGA Tour pros
- Patrick Cantlay
- Cameron Champ
- Bryson DeChambeau
- Sergio Garcia
- Billy Horschel
- Matt Kuchar
- Kevin Kisner
- Ian Poulter
- Justin Thomas
- Gary Woodland
Equipment and apparel
- Jack Nicklaus
- Polo Ralph Lauren
- Royal and Awesome
- Tattoo Golf
- Under Armour
You encounter these elements by working your way through career mode. You play events, you earn in-game currency, you spend that currency on clubs and apparel to spruce up your create-a-golfer. If that sounds a little too familiar, that’s because it is; it is very much a return to the career mode players received from EA Sports.
The advancements are largely rooted in making the golf courses look like they do during Tour events; so you’re getting a digital replica of the stadium built around the 16th hole at TPC Scottsdale, just as one example. HB has also made an effort to make your tournament rounds feel a little like a PGA Tour broadcast, as gameplay will occasionally cut to highlights of what other players – like JT or Bryson or Sergio – are doing on the course. This idea works better on paper than in practice, as the cut scenes add little, don’t seem to be influenced by anything you’re actually doing, and take too long to load.
The Tour pros featured in the game also need to feel more like active rivals and competitors than what they are now – also-rans. That you can’t play rounds as the featured pros is also worth mention.
It’s why I’m calling career mode a push; its’s a return to what users had from a Tour title years ago.
That said, it’s wonderful to have back with this level of detail, the courses look terrific, and I’ve been glued to it for a week.
Course designer (Hey, you, read this)
Separately, the course designer remains difficult. There’s a steep learning curve if you want to get good at it, and it’s straight up intimidating at first pass. But there’s a reason it’s complicated. It’s the same designer the HB Studios team uses to create the game.
Here’s the good news, and “Golf Club ” veterans already know this: Even if you’re unwilling to dive into the designer yourself, you get to free ride on the work of others. This is the important part – the part they can’t really advertise.
Are you the guy or girl going, “What? No Augusta? And mostly a just a bunch of TPCs?”
No, Augusta National, Pine Valley, and Cypress Point are not officially in this game. But did users in TGC 2019 recreate these layouts – tee for tee, green for green, bunker for bunker, down to the very yard, down to the very tree – and upload them to the game’s servers?
Yes. Yes, they did.
You can find all sorts of real-world recreations, from major-championship venues like Merion and Oakmont and Pebble Beach and St. Andrews to even your local muni. It just depends how much time someone had on their hands and what they were motivated to build. If someone created a course in “2019,” they can import into “2K21.”
That’s why this is the deepest golf video game you’ve ever encountered. There’s no limit to what you or anyone else can add to it.
So where does the title go from here? HB Studios producer Shaun West told GolfChannel.com last month that while no official decision has been made on the timing of a future release, he sees the benefits of a two-year development cycle. And just like “PGA Tour 2K21 " built on the foundation laid by “The Golf Club 2019,” it’s his hope that game just keeps getting bigger and more detailed, becoming an even closer PGA Tour simulation.
Of course, we have “2K21 " to enjoy for the next couple years. There are users doing the Lord’s Work with the course designer, and there are online societies that organize their own tournaments and seasons. If you’re new to the series, welcome to the rabbit hole.
PGA Tour 2K21 is available on Playstation 4, XBOX One and XBOX One X, Windows PC via Steam, Nintendo Switch and Stadia
Why a 20-year-old golfer can’t collect $1.5-million prize after PGA Tour win in SoCal
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Nick Dunlap is the first winner of the American Express event on the PGA Tour who likely leaves home without an American Express card.
The 20-year-old sophomore at the University of Alabama is an amateur golfer, so he couldn’t accept the $1.5-million prize earmarked for the winner of the tournament once known as the Bob Hope Desert Classic that ended Sunday in La Quinta.
The win was historic. Dunlap, the reigning U.S. Amateur champion, is the first amateur to win a PGA Tour event since Phil Mickelson won the Northern Telecom Open in 1991. He also is the second-youngest player to win a Tour event in the last 90 years (Dunlap is 20 years, 29 days old; Jordan Spieth won the 2013 John Deere Classic at 19 years, 352 days).
Jordan Spieth becomes first teenage winner on PGA Tour since 1931
July 14, 2013
But the big check goes to runner-up Christiaan Bezuidenhout , who finished one shot behind Dunlap’s 29-under-par 259. Dunlap also misses out on 500 FedExCup points, which would put him in the running for a healthy chunk of the $70-million bonus pool distributed at the end of the year.
After the victory, Dunlap said he isn’t sure whether to join the Tour now or return to Tuscaloosa. He clearly is a star in the making, the only golfer besides Tiger Woods to win the U.S. Amateur and U.S. Junior Amateur.
“I have to take a second to let what just happened sink in a little bit,” he said after celebrating with his parents and girlfriend. “That’s a decision that’s not just about me. It affects a lot of people, and obviously I’m going to try to enjoy this.”
Even if Dunlap stays in school, the victory will give him an exemption into the PGA Championship. He’d already earned three-year exemptions into the Masters, U.S. Open and the Open Championship as the winner of the U.S. Amateur.
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Stanford teammates Alex Yang of Newport Beach, Michael Thorbjornsen, Karl Vilips and Barclay Brown qualified for the U.S. Open at L.A. Country Club.
June 14, 2023
Turning pro now normally would cause an amateur to lose exemptions into those majors, but because he now has a PGA Tour victory on his resume he’d be awarded exemptions that way.
All of which gives Dunlap much to consider when he decides whether to bother doing the homework he brought with him to the West Coast — he’ll stay in California for another week to play at Torrey Pines on a sponsor exemption.
“Starting the week, if you would have said, ‘Hey, in five days you’re going to have a PGA Tour card, or an opportunity for two years,’ I would have looked at you sideways,” he said. “But [the decision to turn pro] is something that it doesn’t just affect me. It affects a lot of people — my coach back there and my teammates — and it’s a conversation I need to have with a lot of people.”
Regardless of whether he rolls with the Tide or the Tour, Dunlap appears to be golf’s next big thing and ought to be good for American Express Platinum status soon enough.
Playboy Mansion wildlife provide soundtrack for golfers at 14th tee of the U.S. Open
Rickie Fowler’s lead was cut to one stroke in front of Wyndham Clark in Round 2 at the L.A. Country Club, where Hugh Hefner’s birds and monkeys still screech.
June 16, 2023
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Steve Henson is a reporter with the Fast Break sports team at the Los Angeles Times. He previously served as an assistant editor and reporter in the Sports department. Henson was a leader in digital-only newsrooms from 2007-19 as a senior editor and columnist at Yahoo Sports and as senior editor at the USA Today Sports Media Group. This is his second stint at The Times, having covered the Dodgers and UCLA as well as doing enterprise, investigative and features writing from 1985-2007. Henson was awarded first place in sports features in 2021 by the L.A. Press Club and has been honored several times by the Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE) and also by the California News Publishers Assn., the Football Writers Assn. of America and U.S. Basketball Writers Assn.
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Inside the rise of Nick Dunlap
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From shooting 59 at age 12 to winning on TOUR as a 20-year-old, there have been hints since childhood that Nick Dunlap was special
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LA QUINTA, Calif. – There came a time when Jon Gibbons had to stop Nick Dunlap.
Gibbons, head pro at Greystone Golf & Country Club in Birmingham, Alabama, was getting complaints. Dunlap, not even a teenager then, kept beating all the club’s members.
“Guys were getting super ticked,” Gibbons said. “They didn’t want him to play tournaments. They knew he would win. I had to tell him not to play.”
The legend of Dunlap was nurtured in the Heart of Dixie, fostered by an environment primed to create a star, and assured by a young kid with the will to realize that potential. The American Express was Dunlap’s breakthrough moment as he made a hard-fought par at the last for a 2-under 70 and a four-round total of 29 under par.
Nick Dunlap’s adventurous 72nd hole seals win at The American Express
He beat Christiaan Bezuidenhout (65) by one. This was the week a wider audience learned a fact that those around Dunlap knew much earlier – that this kid has the goods.
Dunlap, 20, cemented his place in golf history Sunday with a gutsy bounce-back from a double-bogey at the seventh hole, a 10-foot birdie putt at No. 16 and a par on 18 after he missed both the fairway and the green. He finished it off by draining a final putt of 5 feet, 9 inches that could hardly have been more consequential.
"I knew he was good enough. I knew he could handle it," said Dunlap's coach at Alabama, Jay Seawell. "It looked bleak with four to five holes to play, but that was Dunlap time. He does that at home. He's done it his whole life and he did it out here on the PGA TOUR today, too."
Dunlap is the first amateur to win a PGA TOUR event since Phil Mickelson at the 1991 Northern Telecom Open. He’s the second-youngest winner on TOUR in the last 90 years. He’s the only player to win the U.S. Junior Amateur, the U.S. Amateur and a PGA TOUR event as an amateur. And he is instantly the headliner of a young generation of prodigies knocking down the doors of the PGA TOUR.
Nick Dunlap makes birdie on 70th hole to tie lead at The American Express
Still just a college sophomore at Alabama, Dunlap was already on pace to earn a TOUR card through the PGA TOUR University Accelerated program. No need. He earned his card with this week’s performance, if he chooses to take it.
It’s a meteoric rise for a kid who was a teenager one month ago and spent last week riding in the back of an Alabama team van.
"If you would have said, hey, in five days you're going to have a PGA TOUR card or an opportunity for two years," Dunlap said, "I would have looked at you sideways."
Those close to him have seen hints of Dunlap's immense talent for years, though.
Dr. Bhrett McCabe first knew Dunlap as the kid who wouldn’t leave. McCabe, a member at Greystone, remembers Dunlap, then maybe 10 years old, riding his bike up to the clubhouse daily. Dunlap would spend all day hitting balls and would only go home when the course was closing for the night. His work was not done, though. Dunlap’s family lived about 100 yards from the sixth hole at Greystone, a long, uphill par 5. In the evenings, Dunlap would go to the fairway and hit wedges.
“There would be a crater in the middle of the sixth fairway the next morning,” McCabe said.
Dunlap had an uncanny self-motivation, said McCabe, a professional sports psychologist who now works with Dunlap as his mental coach. His parents, not avid golfers, didn’t push him to play. They supported him, but they allowed him to chart his path. His drive came from within.
Nick Dunlap’s interview after winning The American Express
He was a high-level baseball and football player growing up, as well. One year, he was a finalist for the NFL Punt, Pass & Kick competition and went to the NFC Championship game. He could have just as easily played on the Alabama baseball team, said Jay Seawell, Alabama’s golf coach. That he ended up playing golf was a product of his surroundings more than anything else.
“If his family was in Minnesota, that kid would've been an ice hockey player at the frozen pond every day,” McCabe said. “That's just who he is. It just happened to be golf is the thing that connected to him to where he was.”
And Greystone was the ideal nursery for a young golfer. The club is home to more than a dozen TOUR pros, and hosts the Regions Tradition, an annual major championship on PGA TOUR Champions. Mark Blackburn’s teaching academy is based there, with a client list that includes Collin Morikawa and Max Homa, among others. It’s a course frequented by the Alabama and Auburn golf teams. Greystone, Country Club of Birmingham, Shoal Creek Country Club and Old Overton Club are all within a dozen miles of each other. It isn’t Jupiter, Florida, McCabe said, but it’s as close as it gets.
And Dunlap was one of the best juniors around, partly because he wasn’t like the others. He wasn’t obsessed with video games or toys. Greystone was his playground, and he couldn’t get enough. As early as 14, he played alongside TOUR pros and the club’s top amateurs. Dunlap was learning how to play and behave from the exact people he hoped to join. All the tools were there. He was the No. 1 junior golfer in the class of 2022, according to Golfweek.
“Community helps raise greatness,” McCabe said.
Jeff Curl, a former Korn Ferry Tour player, was at the forefront of Dunlap’s support system. Curl took a 10-year-old Dunlap under his wing, introducing him to the TOUR pros and getting him in their weekly games. He became a mentor and confidant. Curl was Dunlap’s sounding board for everything from how to hit certain shots to how to travel on the road.
Dunlap, in turn, carried Curl’s bag at numerous Korn Ferry Tour events, including an event in 100-degree heat in Dothan, Alabama. It was one of several times Curl realized Dunlap was a different kid. After a round, the duo returned to the hotel, and Curl could barely move. Dunlap, though, was donning shorts for a two-mile run to the gym and back to get a workout in.
"That's when I knew we’re not the same; it’s just a different way of being wired,” Curl, who caddied for Dunlap in his U.S. Amateur victory, told Sports Illustrated. “But that’s why he can believe he’ll be the number one player in the world, and why he can believe no one will stop him.”
Dunlap’s drive hasn’t changed. He’s still the first player into the gym and the last to leave the range.
“Everybody wants to be good. What do you do when nobody's looking?” Seawell said.
Alabama head golf coach Jay Seawell interview at The American Express
It also helped Dunlap to have someone nearby to push him. Gordon Sargent, the current top-ranked amateur in the world who has already locked up a TOUR card through the Accelerated program, grew up just 20 minutes from Dunlap. The two were never very close. Sargent was a year older and played at Shoal Creek, but they occasionally ran into each other at local junior tournaments. Locally, Sargent was the more hyped of the two, partly because Dunlap’s family moved to Huntsville, South Carolina, briefly before returning to Birmingham.
“Gordon’s always been like, the next big thing,” McCabe said. “And Nick … wasn't always top of mind.”
Dunlap began catching up in 2021 with his first marquee victory, the U.S. Junior Amateur. That earned him his first PGA TOUR-sanctioned start at the 2022 U.S. Open and provided Dunlap the internal validation that he belonged. It sounds unbelievable in retrospect, given that he was already playing alongside pros at Greystone and that Alabama was recruiting him, but it was a moment he needed.
“He realized it wasn’t a fluke,” McCabe said.
It was anything but. After years of hoping Dunlap “wouldn't get too good too quick,” Seawell got Dunlap to commit to Alabama. By the time he reached the 2023 U.S. Amateur, he was a force in amateur golf. He won the Linger Longer Invitational, his first college individual victory as a freshman. He tied for fourth at regionals and shared 11th at the NCAA Championships. Then he won the Northeast Amateur and the North & South Amateur at Pinehurst No. 2, where he went 5-0 in match play. So it was hardly surprising when he took down Sargent in the Round of 64 at the U.S. Amateur and rolled through the rest of the competition to win the event.
“If I’m going to lose to someone, I want to lose to the best player in the field. And after I lost, I felt like he was the best player,” Sargent said.
With the win, Dunlap joined Tiger Woods as the only golfers to win both the U.S. Amateur and U.S. Junior Amateur. It’s not the only time Dunlap has drawn comparisons to Woods.
Invoking Woods, in comparison to any golfer, professional or amateur, is a dangerous game. But those around Dunlap bring it up unprompted. Dunlap conjures memories of Woods’ competitiveness. His intensity and focus remind them of the 82-time TOUR winner. Dunlap doesn’t care who you are or what you have done. He wants to beat you.
It was evident when Dunlap beat Sam Burns and Justin Thomas in the final group at The American Express on Sunday, just as it was when he took down Sargent at the U.S. Am and when he aided the U.S. Walker Cup team to a win at Saint Andrews this summer.
Nick Dunlap sticks wedge and makes birdie at The American Express
“We're not talking about how he hits it, fades it, cuts it, draws it,” McCabe said. “We're not talking about that. We're talking about his competitiveness. Tiger had all the shots, but Tiger's elite game was competitiveness and focus in the heat of the moment. And that’s what Nick is.”
Seawell echoed the sentiment but pointed out that Dunlap “has an incredible way of competing without being personal." There’s a humility and a refreshing vulnerability to Dunlap. He isn’t a robot. He will admit when there are nerves, as he did after his second round of The American Express.
The nerves were subdued well on Saturday. With the spotlight slowly centering on the 20-year-old, Dunlap shot 60 to match the lowest round ever shot by an amateur at a TOUR event. They were evident on Sunday. Dunlap dumped his tee ball in the water on the par-4 seventh to relinquish his three-stroke lead. A moment like that would sink most amateurs. Not Dunlap. He made birdie on No. 8 then remained ready for his moment to pounce on a mistake.
Trailing Burns by one shot on No. 16, his moment arrived. An errant approach on the par-5 16th left Burns with a difficult up-and-down that he couldn’t convert for birdie. Meanwhile, Dunlap poured in an 11-foot birdie putt to regain a share of the lead. Then, on the famous island 17th, Dunlap found the putting surface while it was Burns’ turn to find the water. Dunlap made an easy par and Burns made a double bogey. Dunlap now had to par 18 – an adventure down the right rough, but it ended well.
"I don't ever want to forget today," he said.
Who will emerge as best in golf? Predicting the end-of-year top 10 as 2024 PGA Tour season begins
E very year there is tremendous turnover within the top 10 of the Official World Golf Rankings. The 10 players who make up the top 10 on Jan. 1 are never the same 10 players who end the year in those spots. Take last year as a good example.
On Jan. 1, 2023 the top 10 in the world looked like this:
- Rory McIlroy
- Scottie Scheffler
- Cameron Smith
- Patrick Cantlay
- Xander Schauffele
- Will Zalatoris
- Justin Thomas
- Matt Fitzpatrick
- Viktor Hovland
Going into this week's The Sentry and beginning of the 2024 PGA Tour season, it looks like this:
- Brian Harman
- Wyndham Clark
Who could have predicted that Brian Harman and Wyndham Clark would win major championships and catapult into the top 10? Who could have predicted that Will Zalatoris would get hurt and hardly play at all? Who could have predicted that Justin Thomas would struggle the way that he did and fall all the way to No. 26 by the end of the year?
Of course trying to predict who is going to land where on the OWGR list is difficult. That's exactly why we're going to try it today anyway.
This gets a little easier in that we already know Jon Rahm is likely to fall out of the top 10 because, after defecting to LIV Golf, he will not play an OWGR event until the Masters in April. Of course, he could feasibly stay in the top 10 by winning another major, which is perhaps not likely but certainly within the realm of possibility.
Regardless, we'll take him out. I think the locks to stay in are Scottie Scheffler, Rory McIlroy, Viktor Hovland and Patrick Cantlay. I also think Matt Fitzpatrick will remain among the top 10. I could go either way on Max Homa and Xander Schauffele, while I think Harman and Clark will fall out of the top 10.
So, let's say there are three spots up for grabs. Who takes them?
I would be surprised if Collin Morikawa (currently No. 13) did not end up in the top 10 by the end of the year. The reasons for that are mostly laid out here , but the synopsis is that his underlying statistical profile is that of somebody who wins more than once over the last two years (which is how much he has won).
Jordan Spieth (No. 15) is interesting as a top-10 candidate. So are Tommy Fleetwood (No. 14), Tony Finau (No. 20), Thomas (No. 26) and Ludvig Aberg (No. 29).
Then there are the wild cards like Harman, who was No. 26 a year ago, and Clark, who was outside the top 150 (!). The Clark leap is fairly unusual; players usually have to come from out of nowhere to win a major and trigger that kind of leap, which is exactly what Clark did.
It can be instructive to use the current Data Golf rankings, which look at individual statistics and not necessarily results (which can be outside the control of players on a week-to-week basis). Data Golf has Fleetwood, Fitzpatrick, Aberg, Tom Kim, Sungjae Im and Min Woo Lee all lurking around that No. 10 spot.
This makes sense. Several of those players cleaned up in the fall and did some real damage at at time when most of the golf world was fairly quiet. Aberg and Lee both won in the fall, while Kim and Im played underrated golf throughout the entire year.
All that in mind, it's time to make an official prediction about what the top 10 will look like at the end of 2024. With little-to-no confidence, here are my picks:
- Collin Morikawa
- Ludvig Aberg
- Cameron Young
- Min Woo Lee
I'm probably in too deep on Lee, but I think he's going to have a monstrous year. It was a struggle for me to not put Spieth, Fleetwood, Kim and Im on here because I think any of those four could pretty easily play their way into the Nos. 6-10 spots.
Young is a wild card who I picked to win the Masters in April . He's currently No. 22 in the world and in basically the same spot Harman was in last year. Aberg is a mega talent obviously destined to be a star. Even though we may have gone a bit overboard on him in the short term, the long-term outlook is tremendous.