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Published on November 17th, 2014 | by Corey Milne

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Tee Off To Eternity: Why Desert Golfing is 2014’s Game of the Year

Golf is a game that should not be played on sand. In fact, many courses employ the use of bunkers filled with the stuff as environmental hazards. These serve to impede a golfer’s progress, should  their pocked, surlyn ball hear the pit’s siren call, its doomed trajectory hastened by the winds or an erratic swipe of the club. The game itself was invented in Scotland, a country famed for its heather and rugged hills, rather than banks of granulated earth.

Desert Golfing spits in the face of convention beneath an endless sun. Let me tell you dear reader, I have entered the desert and emerged not unchanged.

Twenty minutes after playing golf in the desert, you begin to wonder why it isn’t the standardised field of battle.  There is something wonderful about watching your ball hit the dirt, and struggle against the friction it unfurls. There are no putting greens here. No perfectly mown grass that facilitates easy travelling of spheres. You feel something primeval stir deep within you. Great dunes and shifting earth are your compatriots now. Numbered flags denoting the small burrows in the ground yearn for your offerings.

Desert Golfing 1

There is an elegance to playing Desert Golfing. Using your finger to set the trajectory and power of your shot, there is something placid about the way the golf ball sails through the air, hitting the sand with a soft padded thud, and rolls ever so gently across the razor edge straight dune. Before too long you know how far it will roll on a flat surface, how much power is needed to crest the tip of a seemingly insurmountable dune.

There are no goals in Desert Golfing. No objectives. No prizes. No do overs. It is a wholly philosophical and earnest affair. Hole 18 comes and goes. You swing on, striking out into the unknown as your swing counter keeps its tally at the top of the screen.

I do not know how long I spent that idyllic wasteland.

In Lordran, the flow of time is distorted. The flow of time itself is convoluted; with heroes centuries old phasing in and out.

I have however scribed a record of sorts. That I may recount what came to pass. In my time spent with eternity.

 

Hole 1 – Golfing! In the desert! How novel!

Hole 18 – Oh well. I guess I’ll keep going? I don’t really see much point in this.

Hole 38 – Boom! Hole in one! Champion! Champion!

Hole 209 – I hope I don’t get sand in my shoes. Would I need those golf (clown) shoes for golfing in desert environments?

Hole 316 – A cactus! Awesome!

Desert Golfing 3

 

Hole 446 – That’s a really big drop. Where does it go? Is it bottomless? Maybe it’s a sarlacc nest.

Hole 537 – A rock! And it’s solid. I can bounce my ball right off it. Unlike the cactus. The cactus remained solitary. Distant. Proud.

Hole 684 (i) – Oh wow there’s a cloud in the sky. A single cloud.

Hole 684 (ii) – Ok you cannot land your golf ball on the cloud and have it transported to some sort of secret golfing area. It is just a cloud.

Hole 839 – Overpowering sense of deja vu.

Somewhere Around Hole 1600 – Ok, if I can get to Hole 2000 under 6000 shots I’m happy. Ideally I’m aiming for around 5500, but that’s not going to happen. So under 6000 it is. Gotta maintain that 3 shot average!

Hole 2000 – God I’m so good at Desert Golfing!

Somewhere around Hole 2000 – I don’t know when it happened. The colour palette has changed from orange to pink. I don’t know how long I’ve been playing since that happened. I am unable to discern when this change occurred. My swing counter, sitting around the 6000 mark tells me nothing. It is hard to keep track of time in the desert. How long have I been here? When did I last eat?

Hole 2129 (i) – Hole 2129! This is impossible. It can’t physically be done. All of my power and angles amount to nothing. Nothing!

Hole 2129 (ii) – This game is shit.

Hole 2129 (iii) – The desert has beaten me. My journey ends here.

Hole 2129 (iv) – I did it. It was so simple. All I had to do was let go. Just two casual swipes, not thinking about it, actions so blasé you’d think this hole hadn’t posed an insurmountable obstacle for weeks on end. The ball bounced perfectly into the hole. This is it. Zen. I have achieved true enlightenment.

Hole 2135 – I love Desert Golfing!

Desert Golfing is no game. It is not sport. It is a meditation on life itself. Much like the prophet wandered the desert in search of God, so do we golf. When no goals are set, we establish our own. Forward we trudge, golf club in hand, facing the unknown head on. Progress stalls only when we do. Some challenges require careful consideration. Others are overcome by sheer luck. Or force of will. Our swing counter is the only record of our journey so far. It contains the sum total of brilliant holes in one, and disastrous periods which saw our score shoot up and up as we faced continued failure. Each one of us has our own points of reference, single moments that stand out against the continued voyage that sooner or later all blurs together.

This is Desert Golfing.

This is 2014’s Game of the Year.

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About the Author

Corey Milne has been into video games ever since he went on an adventure with a bandicoot. Other interests include history, science fiction and Judge Dredd. An Irishman living in Scotland, he is attempting to make a living from writing to justify his masters degree. He can be found cradling a Guinness on Twitter @Corey_Milne



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