Mean Machines

Jack Nicklaus Golf

Publisher: Konami
Machine: Nintendo (US Version)

Published in Mean Machines #10

Jack Nicklaus Golf

Jack Nicklaus is a bit of a boffin when it comes to golf, having won just about every major golfing accolade possible. However, he's taken time off from his exciting golfing exploits to endorse this new Nintendo golf simulation.

Like a lot of current golf simulations, Jack Nicklaus Golf gives you a 3D view of the proceedings, and it's your golfer's task to clobber the ball in the direction of the green. When you're on the green, you'll no doubt notice a small hole. Simply putt the little white spherical item into this hole and Bob's your uncle, the hole's over.

This process is repeated seventeen more times, as there are a massive eighteen holes crammed into this simulation, but each hole presents its own set of hazards to make the job that bit more difficult...

Beginner's Luck

Jack Nicklaus' Greatest 18 Holes Of Major Championship Golf

There is an option that saves beginners making complete idiots of themselves in this game - something that happens rather a lot if you're not too careful. So, if you're a novice player and make a complete cock-up of a shot you simply press the appropriate button and you're given another chance to get it right!

Later difficulty levels don't make things easier, and if you hit the ball out of bounds, the console forces you to re-take the shot after humiliating you with a one stroke penalty! Bah!

Golfing Classics

Each of the holes depicted in this NES game are in fact close digital replicas of holes especially chosen by Jack Nicklaus himself! But that's not all, because for each of these holes Mr. Nicklaus comes up with his own brief summary.

Jack Nicklaus' Greatest 18 Holes Of Major Championship Golf

Unfortunately, Jacky-boy's not about to give away any of his prized golfing techniques, so these summaries usually end up explaining why the strokemeister likes the course so much.

A Course Of Confusion

Each hole offers its own golfing challenge to the player, including massive forests and large lakes. Other hazards aren't quite as large but prove to be just as much of a nuisance, and these includes the smaller ponds and the sandy bunkers. The shot is also made that much more difficult if the ball lands in the rough. A lot of the power of the stroke is lost just by trying to clear the long grass.

Choose Your Club

There are twelve clubs (three woods and eight irons) crammed into your golfer's caddy bag, and each of these is used to hit the ball a certain distance.

Jack Nicklaus' Greatest 18 Holes Of Major Championship Golf

The woods have a solid head and a long shaft so that they can hit the ball over longer distances. The irons have angled heads which loft the ball more, so they are best used for shorter distances of around 200 yards or less.


There are a lot of good golf games appearing on other consoles but, most mysteriously (considering it is the world's number one games system) there aren't any on the Nintendo, and this pretty poor effort doesn't improve the situation.

The 3D course display (as well as being ugly and slow to draw) is pointless because it gives very little idea of how far away the course features actually are.

Jack Nicklaus' Greatest 18 Holes Of Major Championship Golf

This makes gauging the power and direction of the shot ridiculously difficult, and consequently the game is terribly frustrating. The four player option is laudable, but why would four people want to play such a duff game? Give it a miss.


We've been deluged with golf games on other consoles and the vast majority of them have been rather exceptional. The Nintendo finally gets a new golf game and what happens? It turns out to be the worst game of its type seen for a very long time!

The graphics are blocky and incredibly unconvincing, and after every shot it takes about give seconds for the course to finish re-drawing itself - arrghhh! To add insult to injury, the actual play area is also a bit on the small side. The sound is similarly dire too, though there's some sampled sound that (very) occasionally makes an appearance.

Jack Nicklaus' Greatest 18 Holes Of Major Championship Golf

Lastability isn't too hot either, with only the Greatest 18 to conquer and I don't think that'll take too long. If I were you, I'd save the cash for a more deserving NES title.

Hopefully, it won't be too long before Nintendo see fit to release a superior version of this compelling type of game.


Presentation 70%
Plenty of mugshots of Mr. Nicklaus himself, and a few fair options to keep you going.

Jack Nicklaus' Greatest 18 Holes Of Major Championship Golf

Graphics 50%
Unrealistic sprites and grotesque, blocky backdrops.

Sound 47%
Some samples to liven up the atmosphere, but most of the effects are pretty average. There's no music at all.

Playability 51%
The poor graphics make accurate shots difficult and the slow screen update is also annoying.

Lastability 48%
Only the Greatest 18 holes to master, and those won't keep you occupied for long.

Overall 48%
A very tedious golf sim, which only die-hard fans of the genre should take a chance on.