At Pebble Beach
3M Company - 1972
Challenge Golf is another boardgame representation of the game of golf. This one is set on a replica of the famous Pebble Beach Golf Course in California.
Play is quite simple. The course holes are printed on plastic coated boards and the location of the ball is noted by making a mark on the board with a special pencil. The player announces which club they are using and how far they want to hit the ball. (A chart gives the possible ranges for each club.) The player then takes the "Distance Finder", a T-shaped piece of transparent plastic and place it on the board in the direction they wish the ball to travel with the ball location at the point corresponding to the distance they chose.
The player then rolls dice and consults the chart for the chosen club to see if they hit the ball short or long and adjust the Distance Finder accordingly. They then make a second roll to see if the ball went straight or drifted to the left or right. Finally, the effect of wind is factored in and the ball location noted on the board.
When the ball is on the green, a putting chart is consulted to determine the number of strokes necessary to complete the hole. Play continues through all 18 holes. There are several possible types of play, including both Match and Stroke play and Sides, Singles, Twosomes, Threesomes, Foursomes, Three-Ball and Best-Ball. The actual winning conditions vary slightly based on the type of game chosen but in general the lowest score wins (as in real golf).
There are a wide variety of special rules dealing with trees, sand traps, water hazards, hitting from the rough and so on.
One interesting aspect of the game is that the players select a specific golfer that they are playing. "Old Smoothy" ignores extreme die rolls, "Ironsides" is more accurate with irons, "Boomer" gets more distance with woods and "The Blade" is better at putting.
Challenge Golf has a split personality. It is a sports game but is packaged like part of the Bookshelf games. It uses a very similar system to that used in Thinking Man's Golf with the main difference being the way in which shot distance is determined. Players familiar with Thinking Man's Golf should have no problem with this game. The different golfers which can be played actually improve the system by creating some differentiation between the players and by adding an additional challenge in that the players must consider how to use each golfer's special ability to their advantage. Another very good game in the 3M line.
As an interesting note, Pebble Beach was the site of the 1972 US Open Golf Tournament (the same year this game was released) and the four golfers from the game match the characteristics of several of the players from that tournament.
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