For a series that's been around as long as Tiger Woods PGA Tour has, it's pretty odd how much variation there is between platforms. The Xbox and PS2 get 21 courses and difficulty that can be tweaked to hell and back.
Meanwhile, the Xbox 360 gets only 12 courses, but changes out the targeting flag you've grown to distrust with a circular swathe of grass. On the one hand, at least we're not seeing the same thing ported all over creation, even if you'd have to buy half a dozen copies of the same game to experience everything.
Not that you ever would, since this version is the pick of the litter for console owners - assuming you don't mind the notable absence of almost half the courses, the team-based career mode, and most of the in-depth difficulty-adjusting options the PS2 and Xbox versions boast.
The groovy graphics - replete with convincing trees and grass, realistically recreated pro golfer faces, and a ton of create-a-face appearance options - make a big difference, but this sucker just feels better in every way that matters. The controls are as responsive as you could want, from hammering a solid drive off the tee to nailing that perfect putt on the green's color-coded grid of slope-indicating beads. Some of the assistance offered arguably amounts to cheating, but you're more than welcome to crank the difficulty to Pro if you want a more honest simulation.
The coolest element, which isn't available in any other version, is the suite of training options, putting your golfer on a bizarre hodge-podge course of steep hills, bunkers, water hazards, and bull's-eye targets. As you pass each trial, you slowly earn upgrades to your driving, putting, and other skills.
While you could conceivably keep at it until all your stats are maxed out, your current rank in the larger world of golf puts a ceiling on your prowess, leaving the remainder as "unrealized potential" that must be unlocked by progressing in Tiger Challenge mode. You still earn stat bonuses with every stroke of play, but having such a fully realized alternate method makes the tour something to train for and look forward to, especially if you're not a seasoned video golf pro.
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