Everybody’s Golf (PS4)

When a rich entrepreneur opens an island paradise and asks anyone to come, ignore the invitation. Jurassic Park, Enter the Dragon; name an isolated land mass owned by a single individual and surely they’re headed toward madness – except in Everybody’s Golf. This owner is great.

Golf Island’s Suzuki erected a statue of himself almost dead center on his own island. That’s worrisome. Maybe he has a touch of megalomania after all. Yet, the landscape of Everybody’s Golf is a truly kind, gentle, and welcoming space, assuming you like golf. Here, golf is part of a cult-like following. Fans follow their favorite stars – your own created character included – everywhere. Sometimes they’ll stand in front of a tee shot, obliviously gawking.

Upon further reflection, maybe something insidious is happening here…

If things are amiss, it’s otherwise difficult to see. The title of Everybody’s Golf is an apt one, changed from Hot Shots Golf here in the States. The Sony-exclusive series used to be character-based. Now it’s about one (or many) created golfer with open identities and customization. Make yourself who you want; “let your freak flag fly,” seems right. So yes, everybody, no matter your identity.

Better still, anyone on the island will celebrate you. They’ll cheer and toss compliments. They’ll smile. Everyone is accepted for who they are, making this island more of a paradise than as suggested by the sun-glistened water or candy-saturated (and flawlessly manicured) grass.

Oh, and there’s golfing, sharp as Hot Shots ever was. Since the island worships this sport, the goal for everyone is learning and the guiding hand of Everybody’s Golf couldn’t be more caring. Calming, respectful tutorials ease anyone in slowly, and patrons around a hub world offer ample advice. The level of encouragement is rare, perfect for kids and adults; young and old mingle on the courses, taking shots from the tee, all in harmony no matter their skill levels. Afterward, go swimming or fish, an odd inclusion in a golf videogame but somehow fitting in context.

It’s as perfect a jocund fantasy as videogames can construct; jolly, happy, chipper, and jovial, wound up about everything and everyone. Everybody’s Golf has the hook of pop music and the effervescent demeanor of a boy band, albeit without a record mogul behind the success. In Everybody’s Golf case, it’s just a matter of waving someone in and saying welcome.


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