The Golf Club Generates Courses

By Rebecca Smith, 2 years ago
As promised in our announcement article for The Golf Club, today brings an in-depth look at the course generator that will allow players to create an infinite amount of courses to stave away boredom.

Yesterday's screenshots were based on the five basic themes from which players can choose to build a course. Once selected, players can choose the number of trees, water and hills on the course (or randomize them), followed by the number of holes. After giving the course a name, the game generates a layout and players can jump right into their new game. Of course, there are many more customisation options that players can use to tweak their course once it has been generated; just some of the huge range of options is demonstrated in this video overview from HB Studios:

You may be wondering how this all works so smoothly. This is because the generator uses an algorithm that takes into account user input and a defined set of rules. After calculating the number of holes, par 3s and par 5s on the course, the scorecard is balanced to make sure that the par values are evenly distributed around the course. To obtain that realistic feel, the holes are placed around a single connected environment where players will be able to see other greens, fairways and players as they travel round. The clubhouse gets placed in the middle of the course and the holes surround it in a ring pattern. Hole 1's tee and hole 18's green will be close to the clubhouse allowing for minimum distance travelled to the nearest watering hole. If the course has the full 18 holes, the green of hole 9 and tee of hole 10 will also be close to the clubhouse.

Basic generated course

The game's atmospheric scattering model can create realistic lighting and shadows, including "dynamic realtime clouds". Their density is based on the course's wind speed and this is then used to cast realistic shadows that are based on the position of the sun and the clouds.

Atmospheric scattering

Terrain is generated using soil depth and light level according to the gradient of the course. In deep soil, more trees will grow. However, this will cause the light level to decrease so that grass won't be able to grow. In soil with less depth, trees can't grow and a meadow terrain is created. Of course, if the course is very steep, soil will be very shallow and the terain will be littered with rocks and cliffs due to the plants' inability to grow at all.

When the course is stored on the game's database, only the “DNA” is recorded rather than a "fully-rendered model". This small amount of data means that it is incredibly easy to change the entire terrain after the course has been created and edited. Changing the terrain will not remove any of your edits. The small amount of data that makes up the course's DNA means that it is also easy to share courses with friends.


Rather than spend the time and money on the licensing fees and development for many real-life courses on which players are likely to have played many times before, the team created the course generator instead. Despite this, there will be some familiar courses shipped with the game and we have a preview of the first course to be revealed. The Pinehurst River course is placed beside the largest mountain range in North America and presents a 6,500 yd, par 72 challenge.

Pinehurst River

Here's a complete overview of each of the course's 18 holes.

Course layout

Hole 1

Hole 2

Hole 3

Hole 4

Hole 5

Hole 6

Hole 7

Hole 8

Hole 9

Hole 10

Hole 11

Hole 12

Hole 13

Hole 14

Hole 15

Hole 16

Hole 17

Hole 18

You can catch Pinehurst River and start creating your own courses when The Golf Club is released in Spring.
Rebecca Smith
Written by Rebecca Smith
Rebecca is the Newshound Manager at TrueGaming Network. She has been contributing articles since 2010, especially those that involve intimidatingly long lists. When not writing news, she works in an independent game shop so that she can spend all day talking about games too. She'll occasionally go outside.