For those of us who are rather inept when it comes to being able to hit a white ball with the heavy end of a metal stick, then virtual golf sims are a bit of a godsend. The 3D representations of all the famous courses are also a lot easier and less tiring to navigate than their real-life counterparts, unless of course you have one of those buggy cars. The latest in the Links series of golf games from Microsoft now offers online virtual tournaments with actual cash prizes, so what are you waiting for? That leisurely career you've always dreamt of might be closer than you think.
Strengthening its claim of being the most realistic golf sim available, a host of new features and graphical improvements come bundled with Links 2003. A new engine renders photo-realistic environments, which are accurately generated from actual GPS data and brought to life by detailed grass, sand, water and other textures.
Six new championship courses from around the world can be played, from countries such as Mexico, New Zealand, Scotland, and the United States. If that isn't enough, then the inclusion of the Arnold Palmer Course Designer allows you to knock your own designs up, which you can then offer to other Links players via the net, and even use to host your own tournaments.
It's the wealth of online functionality that makes this game stand out. Set up your own tournaments, join in with others, or visit Microsoft's dedicated site and take part in official Links championships (with cash to be won).