I like video games, and golf video games in particular—although I don’t often have the time to play them. I started playing computer golf on an Apple II and soon became a master of the “hit the spacebar, wait until the graph gets to the bar at the top, hit the spacebar again, then hit the bar once more when it reaches the mark at the bottom” system. I had much less success with the later mouse motion versions. (It’s a frustration for me that even as the graphics get better, the game play becomes more obtuse).
Then came the Wii. With the motion controlled interface, it seemed a natural for simulating the golf swing. But in reality, the the Wii Mote is awkward to use and really doesn’t simulate a true golf swing. My eldest son swings it while sitting in a chair, driving balls 300 yards with a flick of his wrist.
I’m not the only one to notice this problem, however, for I was recently sent a review copy of a device called the Chicken Stick, from Bad Chicken. It’s a real True Temper shaft and Golf Pride Grip, with an attachment on the end for holding the Wii Mote. Thanks to the weighting, it feels and swings just like a real club.
For me, the Chicken Stick has made playing Wii golf an entirely enjoyable—and somewhat realistic—experience. I use my regular swing and am able to work the ball with motions just like those I use on the course. I can drive it hard, play half swings, play hooks and slices, chip and pitch. With the Tiger Woods golf game, it’s a close as you’re going to get to real golf off the course or out of one of those $10,000 simulators.
I don’t think you could use this as a training device, but it IS a lot of fun.
A couple of issues—nnone of which is really the fault of the Chicken Stick. First, putting is very awkward. I just can’t seem to find the pacing-distance sweet spot. Another is the need to pull on a trigger to activate the swing button. It’s a necessary evil, however, because that’s how the Tiger Woods golf game is designed. But pulling up on that trigger is awkward, and takes away the feel of the game. I wonder if some future version of the Chicken Stick might have a click-and-hold function, where you pull up on the ring, which locks into place until you pull on it again. Finally, there’s the rather awkward need at various points in the game to use the Wii Mote as a pointer to access functions. Since it’s on the end of a stick, that’s less than easy.
Other than those points—which again really aren’t the Chicken Stick’s fault—I think this is probably the only way to play Wii golf.