ProStroke Golf hands-on

Okay, you couch-bound, wannabe PGA pros - consider yourself called out. You may rock at the Tiger Woods golf games, but that doesn't mean you can swing a club in real life. The first shot in the money-where-your-mouth-is campaign was fired by Real World Golf, with its unique, gloves-with-strings controller. But the big gun might be ProStroke Golf, which uses the standard controller you already have to show Tiger a thing or two about "realism" - and may expose your weak skills along the way.

The first thing that struck us in the dark depths of the GamesRadar demo room was that each person who got their hands on this game played it standing up, just as you would if you were actually playing golf. We'd never seen anyone play Tiger Woods while standing, but this is the hook of ProStroke; its focus on realism inspires you to pretend you're actually standing over a tiny white ball - looking down at it in first-person perspective - waiting to slam it into the stratosphere.

Everything about this game promotes the feel of golf, right down to the view and animations - when you look from your little ball, innocently perched on the tee to peer down the green and line up your shot, the camera pans up and back down again as smoothly as your head would. To make a shot, you have to slide the right analog stick to the right and then left - not back and forward, because golfers in the real world stand sideways - instead of simply trying to hit a target on a timed power bar. Obviously, you also want your thumb-motion to be as smooth as a real golf pro's swing because it influences the force with which you hit the ball (and whether or not you totally screw it up).

The mimicry doesn't end there. For those unconvinced snobs out there who are all, "there's more to golf than the swing," you're in luck. You can alter the spacing of your feet with the d-pad and even use the right analog stick to shift your weight from your back foot to your front over the course of your stroke. Is that simulation hardcore enough for you?

It's a lot to remember, so developer Oxygen has included a handy graphical tutorial (that's repeatable as many times as you want in case you suck as much at golf as we do).