PGA Tour 2K23 is due for release in October and this week they revealed the officially licensed courses that will be available to play in the game. No fewer than 17 courses return from 2K21 (there was no 2K22 version) while three new venues - the South Course of Wilmington Country Club, The Renaissance Club, and St. George’s Golf and Country Club, not to be confused with Royal St George’s, home of the 2021 Open Championship – will also be available at launch to keep "players swinging with swag and challenging their crews on a total of 360 unique fairways and dance floors." Erm, great!
While a video game can't compare with the magic of putting on your best golf shoes, grabbing your golf bag and heading to your local course to ’swing with swag’ with your best driver, they do allow you to play golf at some of the world's best golf courses. Places most of us will never get to experience in real life.
In addition to the initial 20, more courses will be added post launch, including Pebble Beach Golf Club, Spyglass Hill, Torrey Pines (North and South Courses) plus new, custom courses created in PGA Tour 2K23 Course Designer feature. These will be free to all players on all platforms.
I used to play the EA Sports PGA Tour games a lot when I was younger and had more time on my hands, but it's been four or five years since I last bought one. The new trailer for 2K23 has reeled me in though. I saw Tiger sitting on an 'Iron Throne' at the end of the video and was like "ok, I'm in. Sign me up to this".
So I'm excited for the release of this game and much like if I was going on a real golf trip I already have my schedule planned. I know exactly which courses I’ll be playing and the order I’ll be playing them in. Here are the five I’m most looking forward to experiencing:
Bay Hill Golf Club & Lodge
I’ve been obsessed with this course since I was a teenager when I discovered that my favourite golfer, the late great Payne Stewart, lived adjacent to the 12th tee at Bay Hill. I’ve wanted to play there ever since and one day hopefully I will. For now though this will have to suffice.
Bay Hill is most well known for hosting Arnold Palmer’s annual tournament on the PGA Tour. ‘Arnie’ is also no longer with us but the Arnold Palmer invitational lives on and it’s a tournament I try to catch on TV whenever possible.
I’m most looking forward to attempting the tee shot over the lake on par 5 6th hole when you have to decide just how brave a line you want to take, which depends on how far you can carry the ball with driver. Some of you may recall the iconic moment in 2021 when Bryson DeChambeau smashed one over the furthest part of the lake and then celebrated as the ball was flying through the air.
Ok, this is not exactly an original choice as Sawgrass one of the most famous courses in the world and has been a staple course for gamers since the early days of golf video games. The short 17th hole is one of the most famous in golf. When you look at this hole it doesn’t look especially difficult and it always surprises me when I see some of the world’s best golfers dumping one (or more) in the lake on such a short hole.
I’d love to play there in real life to see if I could hit that island green and - I’ll be honest - I strongly fancy my chances of doing it (even as a 12 handicapper!) but until that day arrives I’ll have to settle for attempting it from the comfort of my home on my xbox.
The Renaissance Club
One of the rare courses on 2k23 that is not in the US. The Renaissance Club is the home of the Scottish Open and while it is far from being one of the best courses on offer north of the border (it’s not ‘linksy’ enough for me) it offers something different to most other courses on the game. The 18th is the hole I’m looking forward to playing as it’s a long par 4 where you need to carry your tee shot over an old drystone wall.
Riviera Country Club
It’s a favourite course among players on the PGA Tour but Riviera does not have the global clout of a Pebble Beach or a Pinehurst. It isn’t a course the casual fan will be aware of but it’s a true test of golf. Johnny Miller described Riviera as "Definitely one of the greatest, no-nonsense golf courses in the world! It requires a player to play every club in his bag and every shot in his game."
Riviera is the home of the annual Genesis Invitational event on the PGA Tour which. is another tournament I enjoy watching, so this is a course I definitely want to play.
East Lake Golf Club
The home of the FedEx Cup PGA Tour Championship, where Rory McIlroy recently pipped Scotty Sheffler to this year’s crown, walking away with $18m in the process. I won’t be winning a penny when I play this course from my sofa but it will be good experience for the day when I make it as a pro and I play there with the Tour Championship on the line. What? It could happen, I’m still only 49 years old. I’ve got time.
So there you have it, that’s my schedule all sorted for when the game hits the shelves in a few weeks time.
PGA Tour 2K23 Deluxe Edition and PGA Tour 2K23 Tiger Woods Edition are set for release on 11 October, followed by PGA TOUR 2K23 Standard Edition on 14 October, for Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4 and Steam.