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. 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. 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 emulation of Golf with added motion control support would promptly boot up. Golf has significance as one of the first video games Iwata programmed himself for Nintendo while working at HAL Laboratory. This version of Golf was overwritten as of the 4.0.0 update, making it unplayable. Aside from the NES game's inclusion on the Switch, VS. Golf was later included onto the Arcade Archives.
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.
Description from the Nintendo eShop
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.
The game was released for the VS. System, also known as Stroke & Match Golf. Two versions of this game exist: VS. Golf features the same male character as the NES version, but VS. Ladies Golf features a female player. The arcade versions are more difficult and has 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.
The Game Boy version contains 36 new holes split into two courses, Japan and U.S.A.
References in later games