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This article is about the 1984 video game. For the microgame with the same name, see Golf (microgame). For the event in the 3DS version of Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, see Golf (event). For an overview of all golf-related titles in the Mario series, see Mario Golf (series).
Boxart for Golf
NES box art

Golf cover
Game Boy box art

For alternate box art, see the game's gallery.

Developer Nintendo R&D2
Hudson Soft (PC-8801, PC-8001mkIISR, and Sharp X1 ports)
Publisher Nintendo
Platform(s) NES, VS. System, NEC PC-88, Sharp X1, PC-8001mkIISR, Family Computer Disk System, Nintendo PlayChoice-10, Game Boy, e-Reader, 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 August 1984
USA October 1984 (VS. Golf)
USA December 1984 (VS. Ladies Golf)
Japan 1985
Sharp X1:
Japan 1985
Japan 1985
Famicom Disk System:
Japan February 21, 1986
Nintendo PlayChoice-10:
USA August 1986
Game Boy:
Japan November 28, 1989
USA March 1990
Europe 1990
USA April 21, 2003
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:ESRB E.svg - Everyone
PEGI:PEGI 3.svg - Three years and older
CERO:CERO rating A - All ages
ACB:ACB G.svg - General
Mode(s) 1–2 players
Nintendo Entertainment System icon for use in {{media}}. Game Pak
Wii U:
Digital download icon for use in templates. Digital download
Nintendo Switch:
Digital download icon for use in templates. Digital download
Game Boy:
Game Boy icon for use in templates. Game Pak
Game Boy Advance:
e-Reader card
Nintendo 3DS:
Digital download icon for use in templates. Digital download
Wii U:
Wiimote Sideways.png Wii Remote (Horizontal)
Nintendo Switch:
Game Boy:
Game Boy Advance:
Nintendo 3DS:

Golf is a game for the NES released in 1984. It is based on the sport of the same name. The golfer has been identified as Mario in supplemental material, albeit not wearing his traditional shirt and overalls.[1] However, the game Captain Rainbow would instead identify the golfer as Ossan, which happens to be a generic internal name Mario had during the development of Donkey Kong.[2] Additionally, the Game Boy conversion of this game would feature Mario on the Western cover art but not the Japanese version.

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 emulator of Golf with added motion control support would promptly boot up.[3] Golf has significance as one of the first video games Iwata programmed himself for Nintendo while working at HAL Laboratory.[4] This version of Golf was overwritten as of the 4.0.0 update, making it unplayable.[3] Aside from the NES game's inclusion on the Switch, the international version of VS. Golf was later included on Arcade Archives.[5]


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 gets 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.

Description from the Nintendo 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.


Golf features 18 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 that previously showed a map of the entire course shows a zoomed-in map of the putting green.[6][7]

VS. System[edit]

The game was released for the VS. System, for which the game is also known as Stroke & Match Golf. Three versions of this game exist: The Japanese and international versions of VS. Golf feature the same male character as the NES version, but VS. Ladies Golf, which was never released in Japan, features a female player.[8] The arcade versions are more difficult and have a mode for competing against a computer opponent. They also randomly select 18 of 21 possible holes for each playthrough. In VS. Golf, 17 of the holes are tweaked versions of the NES release with the other four being new. In VS. Ladies Golf, all 21 holes are brand new.[9] The Japanese version of VS. Golf has an attract mode showing gameplay, while the international version and VS. Ladies Golf have attract modes with instructions.

Game Boy[edit]

The Game Boy conversion contains 36 different holes split into two courses: Japan and U.S.A.


For this subject's image gallery, see Gallery:Golf.

References in later media[edit]


Main article: List of Golf staff

Names in other languages[edit]

Language Name Meaning
Japanese ゴルフ


  • 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. Then-HAL Laboratory employee Satoru Iwata was eager to prove this technical achievement and program the game himself, which required him to create a custom data compression routine.[11]
  • Golf is the second released video game that Satoru Iwata programmed for Nintendo, after Pinball.[11]
  • Like in Ice Climber, the red-colored character on the North American NES box art is actually the second player.
  • Golf is a playable NES game in Doubutsu no Mori for the Nintendo 64 and its GameCube port, Animal Crossing.