The Golf Club came out last fall as a downloadable title, and its disc-based, retail copy is now available. Apart from the usual plastic box and disc, it's a Collector's Edition featuring an exclusive digital book, all the updates to the game so far, and the new multi-tour Seasons play.
The big new addition – Seasons mode – features five tours of increasing difficulty (beginner, amateur, pro-am, pro, and elite) to give the game more of an overall sense of progression apart from the detailed course creation options and online play. I played through the five-course beginner season and some of the amateur season on the PS4; winning a trophy for my efforts. While it won't sate those looking for a full-on career mode, it offers just enough of a framework to differentiate itself.
The tour courses, holes, and rounds vary at each stage. What makes it slightly different from playing a normal tour is that not only is your competition A.I. instead of real players (although you still see the live ball flights), but the trophies you win are part of the mode's gated progression to the next stage. It's not much, but I liked duking it out with the same group of A.I. golfers and seeing who else made the jump up to the next tier. I wish I could earn outfits or course-creation objects along the way as well, so I'm interested how developer HB Studios builds on this new mode going forward.
For those who don't buy the Collector's Edition, you can still purchase seasons mode as DLC, which will be made available in mid-May for $ 10.
Seasons mode isn't all that's in the package, however. It also includes the game's free updates up to this point, including the handicap system – which is a nice way to judge yourself against the competition.
Also included is the tropical theme. This is currently new for the Collector's Edition, but if you haven't played the downloadable version, you're also getting the countryside and boreal themes, which were part of the game's post-launch updates. These also enabled various bug fixes and tweaks.
Finally, the Collector's Edition includes a 30-page e-book featuring detailed information and golfer recollections about one of the world's most famous courses – The Old Course at St. Andrews in Scotland.
If you don't already own The Golf Club, I heartily recommend picking up this version (check out my review of the original downloadable title). If you already bought the downloadable version, I think the standalone Seasons mode DLC (including the tropical and delta themes) is worth it with the knowledge that HB Studios will support the mode in the future. Seasons will get free updates down the road, so this is just the beginning.
Currently, HB Studios is already talking about drop balls, a profile screen for other players, cart paths, and more in future free updates. Additional themes will be both free and paid-DLC.
The Golf Club Collector's Edition is now available for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC for $ 39.99.