Golf (Nintendo Entertainment System)

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Developer Nintendo R&D2
Publisher Nintendo
Platform(s) NES, VS. System, NEC PC-88, Family Computer Disk System, Virtual Console (Nintendo 3DS, Wii U), Nintendo Switch
Release date Famicom/NES:
Japan May 1, 1984
USA October 18, 1985
Europe November 15, 1986
VS. System:
Japan 1984
USA October 1984 (VS. Golf)
USA December 1984 (VS. Ladies Golf)
Japan 1985
Disk System:
Japan February 21, 1986
Virtual Console (3DS):
Japan June 29, 2011
USA September 8, 2011
Europe October 13, 2011
Australia October 13, 2011
South Korea July 20, 2016
Virtual Console (Wii U):
USA October 10, 2013
Europe October 10, 2013
Australia October 10, 2013
Japan November 13, 2013
Nintendo Switch:*
Japan March 3, 2017
USA March 3, 2017
Europe March 3, 2017
Australia March 3, 2017
HK March 3, 2017
*Only playable July 11.
Nintendo Switch (Arcade Archives):
Japan October 25, 2019
USA October 25, 2019
Europe October 25, 2019
Australia October 25, 2019
Genre Sports
ESRB: - Everyone
PEGI: - Three years and older
CERO: - All ages
ACB: - General
Mode(s) Single player, Multiplayer 1-4
Game Pak
Wii U:
Digital download
Nintendo Switch:
Digital download
Nintendo 3DS:
Digital download
Wii U:
Wii Remote (Sideways)
Nintendo Switch:
Nintendo 3DS:

Golf is a Nintendo Entertainment System game that is based on the sport of the same name. It was first released for the Famicom in 1984 and would later be released overseas as a launch title for the Nintendo Entertainment System, in 1985 in North America and 1986 in Europe and Australia.

Golf is the second video game that Satoru Iwata programmed for Nintendo while working at HAL Laboratory, after Pinball.[1] A copy of the original game was embedded in Nintendo Switch firmware. Activating it required the internal system clock to be set to July 11 - Satoru Iwata's death anniversary - and performing his iconic "directly to you" hand gesture with both Joy-Con controllers on the HOME menu. If successful, a voice clip of Iwata from a Japanese 2012 presentation would confirm the input, and an emulation of Golf with added motion control support would promptly boot up. This version of Golf was overwritten as of the 4.0.0 update, making it unplayable.[2]


An in-game screenshot

The gameplay of Golf is relatively simple. The player is given a ball, and a map on the right side of the screen shows the hole that they must hit the ball into. The obstacles on the way are also displayed on the map. The player will get more points depending on how many times they hit the ball to get it into the hole. Many different types of clubs are also available to choose from by pressing Up/Down on the + Control Pad.

Golf features eighteen holes separated into nine labeled "OUT" and nine labeled "IN". Each hole features some green and some woods, and every hole except hole 11 features sand traps. Holes 2, 3, and 5 feature inland ponds, holes 7 and 16 feature rivers, and holes 6, 9, 13, 15, and 18 have water covering the majority of the map; the other holes do not have water. Once the player gets the ball close to the target (the actual "hole", marked by a flag) on each map, the section of the screen which previously showed a map of the entire course will show a zoomed-in map of the putting green.

Alternate versions and re-releases[edit]

References in later games[edit]


Nintendo 3DS eShop[edit]

Bogey, par, birdie, or Eagle.
The score is up to you.
Golf is 18 holes of realistic links action. Each hole has tricky hazards, so strategy is a must.
Read the wind direction, check the distance, select a club, adjust your swing and keep your eye on the ball. Now drive it home.
From twisting fairways and hungry sand traps to big water hazards and deceptive greens, Golf is packed with challenges.

This version of the game does not have multiplayer functionality.


Director / Course Designer
Programmer / Game Designer / Course Designer
Original Music


For this subject's image gallery, see Gallery:Golf (Nintendo Entertainment System).


  • Nintendo planned to release an 18-hole golfing game as a launch title for the Family Computer, but software companies declined the project and believed that it could not be done with such limited memory at the time. Satoru Iwata, who was a HAL Laboratory employee at the time, was eager to prove this technical achievement and program the game himself, which required him to create a custom data compression routine.[1]
  • The golfer has been identified as Mario in supplemental material, albeit not wearing his traditional shirt and overalls.[3] However, the game Captain Rainbow would instead identify the golfer as Ossan, which is the internal name that Mario had during the development of Donkey Kong.[4] It is the first time Mario has been associated with golf, years prior to the introduction of the Mario Golf series.
  • Similar to Ice Climber, the red-colored character on the North American box art is actually the second player.