At Under The Code, our goal is to do more than just give our readers news and impressions; we want to take our years of sports video game experience and expertise and share tips to improve your game as well. Today we feature some tips to help you achieve success in the new Simulation difficulty mode in Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 14, courtesy of CoreySA.
There is little doubt that Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 14 has set a new standard for simulation or hard difficulty modes. Even core Tiger fans like myself are continuously challenged to find ourselves below par at the end of a round.
While the challenge may be daunting to some, a little bit of practice and sound strategy will go a long way in helping you achieve some lower scores on the course. This is a mode that rewards practice, skill and a routine.
Here are some of my top 5 personal tips to casual players and pros alike to help you conquer Simulation difficulty on Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 14.
Pay Attention to Putting Information
First off, please take some time and check out fellow staff member, and golf expert – Oblong’s YouTube video on Simulation putting tips.
The most important thing to remember is that green grids and putt previews will be disabled during putts in Simulation. To read greens accurately, make sure to look down at your ball before addressing the shot (by pressing down on your left analogue stick). From here, you’ll want to read the break and slope of the putt. The break can partly be determined by if the ball is below your feet or above your feet. If you are a right-handed golfer (we’ll assume for this article that you are, if you’re a leftie – like me, then just reverse it), having a ball below your feet means you’re standing on a break. That means your putt will begin its journey going left to right. If it is above your feet, it’ll move from right to left to start off. Next, you’ll want to move your aiming marker around to see where the course dips on the way to the hole. This is important to judge where the break stops, or bends, on the way to the cup.
For the slope, use the following rule:
For every degree or inch of uphill slope or downhill slope, add or detract about a foot with your aiming marker.
This is a common rule used by most Tiger pros, and while it may not hold completely true for every single putt, it will leave you close, if not in, most of the time if you read the break correctly.
Compensate for What Your Tendencies Are
Let’s be honest, if you’re reading this article then you probably aren’t a PGA TOUR pro. On a real course, most of us amateurs go by a simple rule – we compensate for our mistakes. For me (and I’m a pretty decent golfer), no matter how accurate I am with my short game, I can never hit a drive straight. I pull out my driver, aim straight and that ball goes flying left every damn time. Instead of doing the professional thing and fixing it, I compensate for it! I aim a little more right, and BAM! My ball lands softly on the fairway (sometimes).
This tactic works in Tiger 14’s Sim difficulty mode as well. If you’re having trouble off the tee because you keep going left using the new shot shaping feature, then aim right to make up for it. The easiest way to compensate in Tiger 14 is with power and tempo. I can’t slow down putts for the life of me. I’m always over-swinging so I have learned to do what feels comfortable and just adjust my aiming marker to fit my tempo. I always aim a little shorter and continue to keep a tempo I’m used to. This also works on the fairway as well. If you’re under-swinging clubs, try going down a club to add a bit more distance.
It’s always important to remember that this new swing mechanic was built to fit your own personality, not for you to fit into its systems. Learn from your mistakes with practice, and if you can’t fix the issues you’re having then compensate and adjust to what makes you feel good on the course. You can even use your Driver to putt if that’s what makes you comfortable!
Strategize One Shot In Advance
In past years, the Tiger series has always been about hitting the ball straight and as far as you can. Once you’re close enough, your goal was to hole-out or hit a 45 yard putt. Playing on Sim, you need to treat the course like you would treat a real life course – always think ahead.
Before you tee off, press Start and take a look at the hole layout. Look at hazards (because you can’t zoom in either), and look at how the course bends.
Once you get your first shot off the tee, you’ll want to begin strategizing on how to best approach the green. On Par 4’s, you should be shooting for the green on shot #2, but it might not always be best to aim right at the hole. If there are hazards in front of the green, but you have a ton of real estate to the left with no hazards, then it’s a better bet to make sure you hit the green rather than the sand since traps are much more difficult to get out of this year.
A 2-putt is a job well done this year. Don’t put yourself in bad positions always trying to get Birdies.
Don’t be afraid to lay up either. If need be, short chips are always easier than being aggressive in going for a hole-out. For me, a short chip and an easy one-putt will suffice in dire situations.
For putting, it really depends on the distance. Use this rule – for anything inside of 15 feet, go for the hole aggressively. Anything outside of 15 feet, use caution when putting. The goal here is to plan for a 2-putt rather than trying to be Tiger Woods and sink a massive putt while fist-pumping. You should set yourself up for an easy second putt.
On downhill putts, focus your attention on the speed in which you’re hitting. If you focus on tempo and get your power right, no matter which way you break, you’ll have a nice straight second putt. Another reason to be cautious? Most people tend to over-swing on their putts, so doing so on a hill could have serious ramifications. Hitting a ball hard into the break also means it will more than likely miss the break entirely, leaving you both rolling past the cup and with a tough second putt.
Focus on Control Golfers – Put Your Driver Away
My advice – always use a control golfer if your goal is to place a low score consistently on Sim difficulty. Of course it is still possible to do so with a power golfer, but accuracy is what you’re looking for to start off. That extra bit of precision makes a world of difference in avoiding hazards and the nasty rough.
Another added touch that may help you – try putting your Driver away and use your 3-Wood for driving off of tees. Although you lose a little bit of power, power isn’t what you’re looking for in this mode. The 3-Wood will help you increase your chances of landing on the short stuff instead of finding yourself in trouble on shot #2. There is much less of a difference in hitting a low Iron and a middle Iron, so that added power you lose shouldn’t mean much in the grand scheme of things. Hitting a Driver off of a tee at full power significantly increases your chances of a miss-hit if you aren’t accurate with your aim on the sticks.
Learn Your Hazards and Ball Placement
There are some minor pieces of education that a lot of casual players don’t take into consideration when playing from hazards on the course. Because you’ll be playing from hazards and the rough a lot more often in a mode as difficult as Sim is, you’ll want to follow some of these important steps.
When playing from the rough, don’t use Woods if you can avoid it. Stick to Hybrids or low Irons. Your goal is also to get to an easier next shot. Don’t be a hero and go for the green or a hole-out, especially if more hazards are in front of you – like a tree. It’s ok to pitch a shot out to the fairway rather than trying to kill the environment by cutting down trees with golf balls.
Pay close attention to your ball strike meter. If the ball is in think grass, be sure to get under the ball to get it up in the air.
If you are going for the green, go down a club if possible to compensate for being in thicker grass and to add some distance.
Always use a loft or sand wedge.
Again, pay close attention to your ball striking meter. You always want to get underneath the ball to make up for the friction of the club hitting the sand before contact with the ball.
Don’t be afraid to over-swing.
On fairway traps, the goal is to escape and lay up for a better approach shot. You shouldn’t be concerned with anything other than ‘escape’. Don’t be afraid to lose a stroke if it means not losing 2-3 more by poor decisions.
If you are really buried, or behind a bark, move your cursor around and find an opening. It doesn’t matter how far the shot goes, just get it to safety. There have been times where I’ve literally aimed 90 degrees to my side just to get to a better place. Again, one lost stroke is better than two or more trying.
If you’re underneath branches or leaves but not behind a bark, you’ll want to keep the ball low. To do this, add some length to your club, and move your feet so that the ball lies at your back foot. This will help keep the ball low. Also, try to strike the ball either in the middle (if the ball has deep grass around it), or on the top of it (if you can see most of the ball on the ball strike meter). These steps will cause you to ‘punch’ the ball so to speak and should help you avoid hitting the trees.
Even after these 5 main tips, you’ll still need a lot of practice on the course to put up some good scores. My advice is to stick with it and don’t be scared off. The true essence of Sim difficulty is that it requires patience and repetition to overcome the challenge – just like real golf. What makes it so exhilarating is the fact that most of the mistakes that you’ll make on the course in this mode will be user-based. There aren’t cheap gimmicks to hold you down here, only your skill level and how much work you’re willing to put towards it.
Hopefully these tips will help you conquer your fears of trying out, and sticking with Sim difficulty mode in Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 14. If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to find one of our golf experts on Twitter or on our forums here at UTC!