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Augusta National 2005
by Andrew Jones, Mike Jones, Anders Besserman, Wayne Hewitt

Release Date CRZ Filesize Par Course Length
2004-12-09  130,519,040  bytes 72  7290 yards
Type Style CRZ Filename
REAL  PARKLAND  AugustaNational2005.crz 
Course ID Course Key
   

COURSE SCREENSHOTS

LINKS CORNER REVIEW

Reviewed by: Chuck Clark


Background: Augusta National. Just the name evokes feelings in most golfers that canít be described. Grandeur, splendor, magnificence, awe-inspiringÖyou pick the term, they all fit. No other golf course in the world is like ANGC. Oh sure, other courses may be as beautiful, other courses may be as well groomed, other courses may be as strategic and fun to play. But when you take all these things and combine them with the history and your own recollections of The Masters; well then you have something truly unique. No other golf course in the world can claim to truly combine all of these elements.

Iíve been lucky enough to walk these hollowed grounds twice during practice rounds of The Masters. I donít mind telling you I cried both times I walked thru the entry gate. Now usually when you build something up in your mind (so much), you are bound to be disappointed when you finally get a chance to experience it. Augusta National is an exception to this rule. No matter how beautiful and wonderful it may appear to you on TV; I can verify that it looks even better when youíre walking it in person. I know it looks so perfect and immaculate on TV; well it actually looks that way in person as well. Both times I went there I was determined to find at least one brown or yellow spot of grass. Guess what, Iím still looking! It may be impossible to imagine but I could not find one brown spot, one dead spot, one weed or even one single yellowish blade of grass. I feel that it is important for you to understand this when you see what the designers have done with this course. They have faithfully recreated this perfect and immaculate look.

ANGC 2005 is a complete update and remake of the 2001 version that Andrew Jones did previously. On that version of the course he made a decision to pump up the elevations of the greens so the course would play closer to what we see at The Masters. This resulted in greens which were a bit too elevated and severe. Because of the limits of the game engine, you really couldnít get certain parts of the course to react like the real course. If you faithfully recreated the greens; they just werenít fast enough in Links. The closely mown fairway areas just wouldnít run like the real thing; like in front of the 9th or 15th greens. Something had to be done if ANGC 2005 could be faithfully recreated and still play just like the real golf course. Hence the Mod! Andrew Jones (whom Iíve had the pleasure of meeting, walking Augusta National with and playing golf with) is also something of a programming genius. He was able to identify and edit the parts of the game code which deals with the bounce and roll of the golf ball in Links. By pushing these numbers up a bit he was able to create a game that more closely emulates the game as it is played at ANGC. The two go hand in hand, so (IMO) the course should always be played using the Mod (version 1.06) of Links 2003.

ANGC 2005 was built by a team. AJ assembled what is arguably the best and the brightest of APCD designers. Mike Jones is the best known and most accomplished designer we have in this community. His work with sculpting of elevations, seam blending, planting and shadow techniques is legendary. Wayne Hewitt is no slouch when it comes to smoothing the elevations and planting of forests. Anders Bessermann is an absolute genius at 3D work and all the buildings and TV Towers you see are the result of his efforts. AJ put the whole thing together and was the team leader.

I would be remiss if I also didnít mention the extensive beta testing team. There were dozens of people involved (including myself) and the course was tested like no other before it. No stone was left unturned, not tree was left floating, no bush or blade of grass was left un-inspected. It was truly a team effort by many in this community.

Overall Impression: Extraordinary, awe-inspiring, beautiful, incredible! Need I saw more? Ok, I will. ANGC 2005 so completely captures the look and feel of the real thing itís hard to believe at times. Take it from a person who has actually been there that this version is just about perfect. I donít know how anybody could do a better job of recreating a real golf course for Links; but Iíd love to see them try. Everything is here; all the flowers, all the towering Georgia pines, all the buildings and creeks and ponds. I was almost expecting to be able to walk out onto Washington Avenue and stroll down the street to the Krispy Kreme donuts (yes, I have been there a couple of times). I wanted to hop in my car in the parking lot (just to the right of the 1st fairway) and drive over to Micks. Thatís how real this rendition looks!

And letís set one thing straight for the very last time. Yes, the grass at Augusta National is really that perfect! There really arenít any brown or yellow spots anywhere on the course. It really is that good! Since the designers were committed to faithfully recreating the real thing they had to use textures that were truly immaculate. Unfortunately when you use textures that are so perfect and spotless; it tends to flatten the elevations and make the grass almost look a bit bland. Mike Jones is famous for using worn-out and brownish looking spots on his textures to give the elevations on his courses some definition. This was NOT possible at Augusta National. The designers should not be faulted just because they tried their best to create the course as it is!


Playability/Shot Values: Is there a golf course in the world with better shot values than Augusta National? Iím trying to think about that but I canít really come up with one. When you combine the greens at Augusta with the surroundings (steep slopes, big trees, deep bunkers, ponds and creeks) itís hard to think of anything comparable. Especially when you remember the history of each hole and what has transpired there in the past. When you hit your approach shot to 9 and watch it roll back down the hill off the front of the green; are you not reminded of Greg Norman? When you miss a short putt on the 10th green are you not thinking about Scott Hoch? If you yank your approach shot into the pond left of the 11th green, do you not think about Ray Floyd? Or Nick Faldo winning two playoffs on the 11th green? Or Larry Mize? How the @#&@# did he sink that chip shot from way over there? When your approach shot to 12 comes up a bit short and rolls back into Raes Creek do you not think how the heck did Freddy Couplesí ball stay there in í92? On 13 no matter what you do, does it not bring back memories of Masters in the past? How about 14, do you think about Phil Mickelson (last year) sticking it in there close? Oh my gosh, what about 15? How many Masters have been won or lost on that hole? Were you watching in 1986 when Jack Nicklaus made eagle and Seve followed a bit later by dunking another abysmal shot into the pond in front of the green? How about that shot by Davis Love III on the 16th green? Or all the birdie putts on 17? And donít get me started about that 18th hole. How about Sandy Lyle making birdie from that gaping fairway bunker? Or Mark OíMeara and Phil Mickelson winning the Masters with 20-footers on the last green? Can you hit one shot on this course without thinking about something you once saw during The Masters? I canít!

As for the playability; this version has definitely got it. The greens were rebuilt to much more closely emulate the real thing. That doesnít necessarily mean they are easy now (especially using the Mod) but they are a lot more playable. This is a tough course to score on in Links, but thatís the way it should be right?

Favorite Hole: Come on, how the heck could I ever pick a favorite hole? I love all 18 holes on this course. I have been studying this golf course for most of my life and understand itís nuances and characteristics as good as can be expected for someone who has never played it. But that being said; I guess I would have to pick the 13th. Not only is it one of the most beautiful spots on earth; itís a very fun and strategic golf hole to play. I wonít bother describing it; because Iím sure every person who is reading this is just as familiar with this hole as I am. AJ and company have perfectly captured the look and feel of this extraordinary golf hole.

Visuals: Unbelievably good, extraordinary, incredible, mind boggling. This version looks exactly like the real thing. Need I say more?

Technique: As you would expect from everything stated above, the technique is flawless, ground breaking, incredible and awe-inspiring. The planting is perfect, the textures are sublime, the 3d work is amazing, thereís really nothing to complain about. But what the heck, it wouldnít be a review if I didnít try. There are one or two greens which I donít think are sloped perfectly; but this is not based on any hard evidence or knowledge (on my part), just a gut feeling from what Iíve seen. There are also two small problems with the course which are not the fault of the designers. The first problem deals with the clipping of crowds. The game engine snips out the crowds on adjacent holes. This can result in some funny looking (half full) grandstands from a few spots on the course. The other problem can result if you hit it under or behind one of the grandstand (or TV towers). In real life golf you would get line of sight relief from these types of obstacles. There is no provision for this in Links; so can get pretty much screwed with your clothes on if hit it into one of these spots at Augusta.

Summary: Probably the best golf course ever created for Links 2003. Itís got everything you could ever want in a Links golf course. If you play it using the Mod, then you canít get any closer to playing The Masters than this! I couldnít recommend a Links course more. If youíre disappointed with this course you need to find another game. I canít imagine that there is anyone reading this that hasnít already downloaded ANGC 2005; but just in case you havenít what the heck are you waiting for? You wonít be disappointed!

USER RATINGS

 Votes cast
Ace85 %244
Eagle9 %26
Birdie3 %9
Par1 %2
Bogey or worse2 %5

Click to see the user poll in our forum and register your own vote and opinion.
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