The golf in Wii Sports is surprisingly fun, but it's hardly deep or realistic. Along with every other sport represented in the game, it plays more like an appetizer - a fun little sample of what can and should be expected from Wii sports titles in the future. The more you play it, the more you'll wish for a bigger and fuller golf simulator.
Super Swing Golf is the answer to that wish. Though certainly not perfect, it manages to fulfill the potential shown in Wii Sports Golf, delivering a truer-to-life experience without losing any of the charm.
Beginning with the swing itself. Hitting with the correct amount of power in Wii Sports requires mostly luck and memorization - you must discover the right speed of movement through practice mode trial-and-error, then recreate that exact motion from memory on the real attempt. Super Swing, on the other hand, gives you complete control. By pulling your hands, and the remote, back in an arc like an actual golfer would, you fill up the power meter. While bringing them a foot or two back might be appropriate for a short putt, getting them all the way up behind your head will set you up for a maximum distance long drive.
This system not only forces you to play more realistically - a properly timed wrist flick could do the trick in Wii Sports - but also more thoughtfully. Since power and distance are taken care of by your hand placement, the swing is all about form. If you come through your arc nice and straight, the resulting shot will be nice and straight. Twist the remote slightly to the right or left anywhere during the swing and, just as if you had rotated the face of a club, your shot will hook or slice correspondingly.
As a result, and rather amazingly, this means that real-world golfers will do better in a game of Super Swing Golf than those who have never stepped foot on a green. You can master Tiger Woods or Hot Shots by simply learning when and how to hit the right buttons on a controller, but here you must be able to perform with some shred of genuine athleticism. If that sounds intimidating, remember that great athletes also use their brains - in other words, if you can't perfect your swing, you can always identify your weakness and compensate for it with ball spin or direction.
Despite its accurate portrayal of the game, however, Super Swing will not appeal to everyone. Serious hardcore enthusiasts will probably be completely turned off by the art style - which eschews Jack Nicklaus for saucer-eyed cartoon cuties and Pebble Beach for floating volcano islands - as well as by fantastical additions like the physics-defying Tomahawk and Cobra shots. But those who can accept all the silly and saccharine whimsy will appreciate how those magical shots can help them hit the golf ball under a bridge or over a giant windmill. They'll enjoy experimenting on the creative courses, bouncing shots off mushroom tops or aiming them through accelerator portals. And they won't mind buying their nauseatingly cute anime boy in flip-flops and cutoff shorts a new hat because, in RPG style, it improves his club control or his swing power.
If you don't have another person to play with, you may also want to avoid Super Swing Golf. The single player campaign, though extensive and rewarding to those with enough patience, will be extremely frustrating to everyone else. The computer-controlled opponents are merciless. They'll treat you like an old friend in the text-only match introductions (what, a Wii DVD can't store voice?), then completely wreck you on the holes. Even more maddening is that they'll toy with your emotions, hitting a terrible shot into the sand, and then pulling off an otherworldly chip shot to fully compensate for their earlier mistake.
Go online, you suggest? You can't. Yes, this game was adapted from a massively multiplayer online golf simulator and, no, it doesn't make any sense. But there you have it.
If you do have some golf-loving friends or family, Super Swing Golf continues the short but already strong Wii tradition of excellent same-room multiplayer. You can pass one remote between four players for a full swinging party or, if everyone has their own remote, switch over to something really unique like Balloon Pop mode (one player attempts to hit balloons with their ball, while the others use their remotes to write on the screen or increase the wind).