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FrontRunners: Game On

James Y. Bartlett

Simulated golf computer games have never been top-sellers, mainly because hardcore gamers prefer shoot-’em-ups, and hardcore golfers prefer the real thing. But on those days when the only birdies on the links are ducks or when the greens are carpeted in white, you can while away an hour or two with EA Sports’ Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2003 or Microsoft’s Links 2003.

Of the two, Microsoft’s offering more closely resembles the actual golfing experience be- cause you control the swing by moving the mouse backward and then forward to hit the ball. It takes some practice (and time on the virtual practice range) to make solid contact with the ball, but it is especially realistic in short shots—pitches, chips, and putts. Another perk to virtual golf is that the clubhouse is never far away.

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