Neo-Turf-Masters-Arcade-Neo-Geo-MVS-AES-Title-Logo

Playerís Guide

by Vectorman0

Updates

5/21/2020 Ė Added debug dip switch info link in references section.

4/16/2020 Ė Added References links section with links to pictures of all holes in the game, and many pin locations (not an exhaustive list)

Table of Contents

         What is Neo Turf Masters?. 1

         Guide Introduction.. 1

         Starting a Game. 1

         Guide to Calculating & Aiming Shots. 1

         Wind Considerations. 1

         Building Intuition.. 1

         Various Topics. 1

         Tips. 1

         Advanced Considerations. 1

         A Deeper Look, Unknowns, Other Thoughts. 1

         Et Cetera. 1

References

         All Course Hole Pictures

         Pin Reference Pictures: USA, Japan, Australia, Germany

         Neo Turf Masters debug dip switches information

What is Neo Turf Masters?

Neo Turf Masters (known as Big Tournament Golf in Japan) is a golf game developed by Nazca Corporation and released for the Neo Geo platforms in 1996.Along with Metal Slug, it is one of the two games released by Nazca before the company was absorbed into SNK.It saw global distribution in arcades, with a limited amount of home cartridges produced.Shortly after, a CD version was released with some added features, including a bonus course and arranged soundtrack.A handheld game ďNeo Turf Masters Pocket,Ē largely based on the original, was released for the Neo Geo Pocket Color in 1999.

 

It was included on the SNK Arcade Classics Vol. 1 compilation and saw a Wii Virtual Console release in 2008.In recent years, it has had a mobile release, and releases on PS4, Switch, and Xbox One under the Arcade Archives line by Hamster Corporation.To the best of my knowledge, all versions since the original Neo Geo releases are emulators running the original arcade ROM.The arcade archives releases were rebranded to ďBig Tournament GolfĒ worldwide in 2019 after a trademark dispute with The Masters Tournament golf organization.

 

Neo Turf Masters is the pinnacle of two-dimensional golf games.It boils golf down to an easy to pick up game, while always providing a challenge to veterans looking to optimize their gameplay.

Guide Introduction

This guide is my attempt to introduce deeper aspects of the game to eager players.While NTM is very easy to pick up and play, it can be daunting for new players who are striving to quickly master it.There is no substitute for practice, but I hope that in sharing my experiences with the game, it will help players shortcut much of the trial and error required to figure out the intricacies of NTM.There will also be content relevant to veteran NTM players.

 

This guide comes from my own experience playing and analyzing the game, and information is true to best of my knowledge.That said, until someone decompiles and analyzes the game, there are certain assumptions of which I canít be entirely certain. I have made the best guess given the available information.

 

This is a very exact and mathematical game.Experience and developed skill is required for certain things like putting; it canít be taught precisely.However, learning the numbers, such as how far the max power will take your ball beyond 100%, or how much the tailwind will aid your drive, is a great way to master this game.Fortunately, it is easier to develop and share heuristics for this math.

 

That said, itís entirely possible to learn and play this game by ďfeelĒ. My approach happens to be particularly mathematical.I recommend some experience playing the game before reading this guide.Please remember I am outlining my experience with the game, and this is not necessarily the ďrightĒ or optimal way to play.Most shots in this game present you with many different choices, each with their own advantages and trade-off.Gameplay is often a fine balancing act between many different things.I hope you can use my experience to develop a style of play that works for you.Remember, this game is supposed to be fun!††

 

My experience playing is with Robert Landolt, the German Shotmaker. This guide will make references to rules of thumb and that will only be applicable to this character.It should be possible to develop similar rules of thumb for other characters.I did my best to organize things, but I found it challenging to cohesively lay out my thoughts.

 

Starting a Game

When starting a new game, there are two game modes:

 

Match Play (2P only): Players compete for the best score on each hole.A point can be won for each hole, and the game ends when one player has more points than holes remaining.There is sudden death for a tie after 18 holes.

Stroke Play (1P or 2P): Play a full 18-hole course and compete for the best overall score.

 

There are six golfers to choose from.They all have different stats and play differently.My experience is exclusively with the German Shotmaker.The Brazilian Power Golfer offers unmatched power, which means he can achieve high scores not possible with any other golfers, however it comes at the cost of other stats being very poor.

 

The recovery stats vary for each golfer, so rules of thumb, like knowing exactly how compensate when shooting from the rough, will not transfer between characters.The skill screen is not entirely accurate, so experimentation with the golfers is the best way to learn their individual advantages and disadvantages.I encourage experimentation with all golfers.

 

There are four courses to choose from.While up for debate, this is how I order them from easiest to most difficult:

Australia

Germany

Japan

USA

 

There is a hidden feature on the option select screens!Pressing A+B+C at the same time to make a selection randomizes it! (or more easily, hold B+C while pressing A)

Guide to Calculating & Aiming Shots

The controls for this game are very simple.For the most succinct explanation, watch the animated how to play guide that plays when you insert a credit and start a game.It gives a great overview of 95% of the controls.

 

The top spin and back spin controls are hidden, but they are simple: after setting power, hold up or down while setting the height with A. This will give the ball top spin or back spin when using any iron.Spin does not appear to work with wood clubs.

 

The best way to learn is playing, so letís take a shot.

 

Neo Turf Masters
Screenshot of Neo Turf Masters

 

Australia usually has tamer wind, and here we have the ideal zero-wind conditions to start.This means we can ďexactlyĒ calculate how far our shot is going to go!By that I mean, the same shot will land in the same place every time.My calculation is usually within 1% of what the actual distance will be. (a calculation of 270 might be 269 or 271, etc)

 

If we were to hit on the 100% marker, the ball will go 100% of the displayed club yardage of 270.If we hit on the green ďmaxĒ marker at the end of the shot meter, the ball will go +10%, or 110%* of the displayed yardage, so 297 yards (270+27).With a max shot, when using a wood club, hitting nice on the height meter will give an extra 1%, so 299.97 yards.Distances assume the ball is landing on and rolling on level fairway and green.The other terrain types will slow the ballís travel and subtract from the distance travelled.

 

*Max is 10% extra for Robert Landolt, other golfers have different shot gauges and likely different numbers

 

Neo Turf Masters
Screenshot of Neo Turf Masters†††† Neo Turf Masters
Screenshot of Neo Turf Masters

Here are what the gauges look like when set at 100% and max.

 

Neo Turf Masters
Screenshot of Neo Turf Masters

The max shot + nice went 300 yards, just as we calculated!

 

Calculating shots in in zero-wind condition is typically straightforward to determine.There are many types of terrain in the game, but when shooting from the tee or fairway, your set power will be the exact distance the ball goes.

 

An exception to this is when there is a height difference between the start and end location of the ball.If you are shooting from high to low, your ball may go further.If you are shooting from low to high, you may need to give a little extra power to travel the same distance that it would in level conditions.I typically calculate height differences as somewhere around +/- 5 yards, but like everything in this game, it varies depending on factors such as character, club, distance, wind, etc.

 

There are multiple kinds of terrain in the game, all of which effect the shot power differently.

 

 

These are shown at the ball display that is nested between the shot meters and represents where you are talking your shot from.Neo Turf Mastersí main game screen display may sometimes show something that seems to conflict with the ball display.This happens when the ball is near the edge of two different terrains and the game screen generates an inaccurate representation of the game state.Always adjust your shot based on the icons shown above.

 

Bad terrain impacts the distance the ball will travel by taking a set percentage off the shot power.For example, when shooting with Robert Landolt* from the Heavy Rough, the shot power will be cut in half. This means you need to set the distance double.For example, setting a power of 100 yards with Robert Landolt from the heavy rough will send the ball 50 yards.These effects are linear - whether the shot is 20 yards or 200 yards, the same percentage will be taken off the set power.

 

*Different golfers with different recovery stats will have different percentages

 

Tee and Fairway are normal terrain, but all of the other types take a different percentage off the power.Bunker can range from about the same as impact as rough, to needing over three times the power, depending on ball depth.Learning to exactly compensate for the bad terrains is paramount to doing well in the game.Some golfers may be able to use wood clubs in bad terrain.These arenít necessarily better than a weaker iron.

 

Unlike many other golf games, shooting from bad terrain does not impact the accuracy of your aim.A shot from the heavy rough is as accurate as a shot from the fairway.If you know the proper compensation, the differenced in shooting from alternate terrains are the shot gauges will be faster, height gauge will be more limited, and effective max distance will be lower.

 

Aim in this game is nearly exact.There is no variance or spray to your shot like in other golf games, so it will go in the perfect straight line you set, barring wind considerations.This means it is possible to line up shots perfectly with the pin a majority of the time.It is important to note there are likely sub-pixel levels of accuracy that will lead to misses; I will try to discuss this at the end of the guide.

 

This is the pixel setup for Robert Landolt to align aim with the pin

In zero-wind conditions, the ball will usually hit the pin

 

By switching to the putter, there is a good setup for a pixel perfect line up with the pin.Just make sure to switch back to the proper club before taking your shot!The putter is only available on fairway and rough.Other golfers with different sprites will have a different setup pixel line.

 

When attempting to line up shots without the putter, the hook/slice buttons can cycle the straight arrow.

 

Neo Turf Masters
Screenshot of Neo Turf Masters

 

Most shots wonít need use of pixel-perfect setup, because there will be wind, which canít be compensated for exactly.

 

I also want to caution new players against playing/aiming from the mini-map.It is a very rough approximation of the course, and the main game display is much more precise.When trying to hit the ball on the edge of something dangerous, game screen is surprisingly accurate, and makes shots much easier than if you were trying to play from the mini-map.This hole is a good example of this:

 

 

The mini-map makes this look daunting, but the game screen shows there is enough space to shoot safely between the sand traps (most of the time).That said, the wind will make this shot trickier than normal!

Wind Considerations

Once acquainted with the game, the wind is where the bulk of the challenge lies.Its variance leads to novel situations that require new approaches to familiar holes.

 

The problem with wind, is that itís a non-linear problem, for which we are seeking a simple linear approximation.By non-linear, I mean the effect a set wind has on a shot that is 50 yards vs 150 yard is very different.Similarly, the effect of 15m wind on most shots is *not* the same as 15 times the effect 1m wind would have. This means there can never be a perfect wind multiplier to use for calculating shots.That said, I can provide some good approximations for a range of shots with Robert Landolt.I encourage you to find approximations for other golfers.

 

To set up a good intuition about the wind, know that it is acting upon your ball as long as it is in the air.That means the more time spent in the air, the greater and effect the wind will have on the ball.Using clubs with different arc heights, and setting different shot heights, will manipulate the amount of time the ball is acted upon by the wind.

 

Letís start by looking at the wind display.

 

Neo Turf Masters
Screenshot of Neo Turf Masters

 

The wind display is relative to the mini-map.In this example, the wind is pushing from the bottom to the top of the map with 3m strength.No matter where the ball is, or what direction it is travelling, the wind will push in that direction.Putting is not effected by wind.

 

This is how to imagine the wind is pushing the ball

The indicator is always relative to the mini-map

 

Wind can be thought of as effecting the ball in the two dimensions, X-Left/Right any Y-Up/Down (relative to the screen).The game likely uses this to do its own calculations. A rigorous analysis could be attempted on every shot, doing vector component analysis, but this is not feasible during a game, nor would there be sufficient estimations of wind impact.There will be tough crosswinds, where there is no substitute for experience and a ďfeelĒ for how the wind will carry the ball.

 

The wind in the above picture is straightforward, since the 3m wind is exclusively in the y-direction, which is also mostly parallel with the ball path off the tee.

 

For headwinds and tailwinds that are parallel with the ball, I have a good rule of thumb for midrange shots using Robert Landolt. Headwinds opposing the ball will take approximately 3 times the wind speed of yardage off the ball, and a parallel tailwind will carry the ball an extra 2 times the wind speed in yards.These approximations are reasonably close for shots between 150 and 250 yards, at wind speeds up to 6m.Other golfers will likely need a different approximation.When looking for wind approximations, I recommend trying to find them within some bounds.

 

For example, with Robert Landolt, hitting the ball at 170 yards power with a 5m tailwind will make the shot travel about 180 yards.A 170 yard powered shot with a 5m headwind will have the ball travel approximately 155 yards.

 

The above rules of thumb begin to break down when you go outside those bounds.When the wind speed starts going up higher, its impact will be greater than expected.Likewise, if you use a club like the sand wedge that shoots the ball higher, or set a high height, the extended air time will give the wind more time to act on the ball.Also, the windís effect diminishes greatly on short shots.With the sand wedge with Robert Landolt, as the distance drops below 80, the effect of the wind rapidly diminishes.Without insane 10m+ wind, itís mostly imperceptible on a 40 yard shot.

 

As for correcting aim X-Left/Right for wind, I mostly eyeball it.I will estimate the head/tail wind to determine the power I need to reach where I want to land, and then correct laterally some amount depending on how strong the crosswind component seems.Some people use different levels of hook and slice to counteract different speed crosswinds perpendicular to ball flight path.Whatever you do with wind, practice is important to build experience.

 

As far as I can tell, there are 16 wind directions in the game.Between North and East, there will be: North-Northeast, Northeast, and East-Northeast.It would seem there are only 16 wind values, 0 to 15m.

Building Intuition

Putting

Putting is a very hard to teach, and why it is located in the intuition section.There are not many metrics to provide to new players as a guideline.It should be noted that the grain works like wind, in that it is always acting on the ball relative to the green display.

 

The grain always acts on the ball relative to the overhead green

 

Unlike wind, the grain is always the same strength whenever it is present.The grain has a relatively minor effect that is increasingly noticeable over long distances.Short distance putts under 2m need little correction, maybe a pixel or two.As the putt distance increases, more compensation for the grain will be needed.The zoomed-in 3D display to the right is good for fine tuning alignment with the hole, in greater detail than the overhead view.The white marker on the putt meter is a representation of how far away the ball is and how hard you should hit the ball on the flat green with no grain.

 

Most greens will have various mounds getting in the way.To clarify the perspective, all the mounds can be thought of protrusions coming out of the ground, and gravity will pull the ball down the sides.The strength of a mound on the ball will usually be stronger than that of the grain.

 

Mounds are impossible to quantify, and practice is the only way to learn how to compensate for them.Like with wind, the longer your ball is on a mound, the greater the effect will be.A fast moving ball might quickly move over a small mound without a significant change of direction, where a slow moving ball on the same mound will be under the influence of the mound longer and see a greater change.Some mounds are very misleading, particularly around the bottom edges where it looks flat; be mindful of these areas.

 

Putting uphill is easier than downhill, so making approaches that set up for better putts is a good way to optimize play.Putting parallel with gravityís pull down a mound means you donít need to worry about your direction being effected and you only need to correct for power.

 

With Robert Landolt, I rarely make putts beyond one unit less than the suggested.Iíll give plus two units more frequently, but most putts are within +/-1 from the suggested distance.Different golfers will have much different putting tendencies.

 

Putting is especially hard to teach because when dealing with mounds there can be multiple different putts from the same position that will all go in.Imagine shooting a basketball into a standard hoop. There is likely an optimal arc, but you could shoot it higher, and it will still go in, or you could shoot it straighter, but you would need to throw it faster to make sure gravity doesnít pull it below the rim before it gets there.My point is that everyoneís vision of ďthe right puttĒ can be different and a valid option.

Ball Trajectory

It is a good idea to visualize the path your ball will take.While simplified, the game mechanics still mirror the general principles that dictate the flight path of a ball.

 

 

Short shots, such as those with the sand wedge, tend to be higher and have a more pronounced bounces at the end of flight.While long drives with the 1W will travel low, straight, and fast, with shorter bounces and more roll at the end of its flight.If you need to get above a tree, club down to a higher iron may be necessary.To escape from under a tree, maybe the 3W will let you hit under the branches.Be mindful that changes like this might come with a tradeoff that may need to be counteracted.

 

I sometime use this principle when trying to make very fine adjustments to my distance.If I need a tiny bit of extra distance than what the shot gauge shows, on the order of a yard or two, I might hit the shot low to try to get it to roll further, or hit the shot high to get it to stop shorter. (assume no wind)

 

Looking at the above shot arcs can also lend insight into how to compensate for hitting uphill.For short, high shots, less compensation may be needed because the ball has carried most of its distance before landing.

Hole Strategies

There are many holes that may look daunting at first.There will be thin strips of fairway between bunkers, rough, and trees.I encourage you to experiment and take risky shots.You may be surprised to find you can make a certain shot eight out of ten times, which enables making the green with a second shot on a par five.A chance at an eagle may be worth the risk of occasionally hitting it in the rough.

 

Experimentation, and testing the limits of what you can get away with is very important to building a style of play that works for you and working towards achieving new personal records.Going into a hole knowing where to safely aim from the tee, enables you to focus on figuring out how to compensate for the wind in the limited amount of time you have before taking your shot.

Various Topics

Spin

Spin is a great tool in this game that can be either used to set a perfect shot or fix a shot where the impact was not set perfectly.Itís tricky and practice will give you a better intuition on when itís necessary.I think itís important to remember that just because you can give a ball spin, that doesnít mean you always should.Spin does not work with wood clubs.

 

Giving a ball topspin or backspin will add an amount of momentum to the ball that will either carry the ball further or prevent it from going the full distance, once it has landed.†† It can be thought of something that aids or opposes the direction of travel of the ball. I donít know if spin effects the flight path of the ball in this game.

 

Once the ball has landed, the spin will kick in.Topspin is very straightforward and, with Robert Landolt, will carry the ball an extra 1-7 yards depending on club and height.Like with wind, the effect of spin is more pronounced, the higher the arc of the shot.A 100 yard chip with a sand wedge might get an extra 7 yards of distance from front spin, whereas a 240 yard shot with the 2 Iron might only see an extra 2 yards from front spin.My experience is mostly limited to the natural arcs of the clubs, as I donít have much experimentation with spin changing when shot height is changed.I think it works intuitively, where the effect of the spin will increase with added height to the shot.

 

Backspin is even more volatile, and much harder to predict.Without wind, it can negate anywhere from 5 to 15+ yards from your shot.With certain high-arc clubs like the sand wedge, the ball will reverse direction completely and roll backwards after landing.A sand wedge max shot with Robert Landolt should normally travel about 110 yards.With backspin, it will travel closer to 95.Because back spin is so volatile with the wedges, I usually avoid it.

 

Spin can give some unintuitive results in high wind and hook/slice situations.In these situations, the ball will change heading drastically across the span of its flight, and when the spin kicks in after landing, it will act parallel with its current direction.This means the effective spin heading may be perpendicular to the original path the ball had from the tee.If this doesnít make sense to you now, donít worry about it.As long as you keep playing this game, you will eventually encounter this situation and hopefully this will help you understand.

 

Spin is a good tool when a shot needs to be powered more than normal to safely carry over an obstacle.In these cases, backspin can help limit the overpowered shot required to clear the obstacle.

Trees

Trees are a nightmare to deal with once they are directly in your way.While not particularly helpful, the best advice I can give you is to avoid them in the first place.The risk of getting tangled up in a tree is far higher than that of the rough.That said, I will tell you what I know.

 

There are at least two different types of impact with tress.The trunk, where the ball will be completely stopped, or braches, where the ball will continue with less power.The trunk hit box is located at the center of the trees.Contact with the outside of a tree will usually result in a branch collision. Not every branch impact is the same, and I do not know of any way to judge compensation for branch impacts.I do know branch impacts appear to remove the spin and curvature (hook/slice) from the ball in addition to the power lost.

 

Branch impacts that are at the end of a long drive will have an effect, but itís usually manageable.Only some speed will be lost, causing the ball to stop short.Branch impacts at the beginning of a shot should be avoided at all costs, because I donít know how to predict the impact of the branch collision.In these cases, I recommend trying to shoot around the tree and hook/slice it, or when nearly under the tree, try using a lower shooting club like the 1 Iron or a Wood to escape under the branches.

Pixel Thresholds

This game isnít perfect, and sometimes what the low-resolution game screen presents is not entirely accurate or intuitive.These kinds of things can be learned from experience, but I wanted to mention one example here.

 

With Robert Landolt, there is a single pixel power setting between the 100% and max on the shot meter.100% is 100% and max is 110%, but the pixel in between equates to roughly 100-101%.Also, one pixel less than 100% equates to roughly 95%.This doesnít really make sense, but it is how the game works.I assume other golfers have similar quirks.

Water Skipping

It is possible to skip the ball across water in this game.That said, I canít give good guidelines as to how to pull this off.It is not possible in all situations, and likely requires specific golfers and golf clubs with shot arcs low enough that the ball trajectory is suitable for a water skip.

Tips

Having a Plan

The best suggestions I can give to players looking to improve, is to craft a plan for a hole before taking the first shot.Try to think from your first shot all the way to the green, what shots will get you there, and where you want to land for the easiest putt.Itís very easy to fall into the trap of rushing to tee off, but thinking ahead will lead to better scores.

 

Before each hole, there is a splash screen with an overview.These are important for people trying to maximize how well they play.The important things to take note of are:

(1)  Green layout and flashing pin location, at the top

(2)  The mini-map with distance gradations, at the right

(3)  3D course cut-out that may better illustrate height changes throughout the hole, to the left

 

 

If you are new to the game, I suggest focusing on the yardage markers on the right.These are important for certain holes where you need to club down from full power in order to avoid an obstacle.Once this screen disappears, there no exact way of determining distances on the mini-map, and you will not be able to see the green layout until you are nearly on it.

Consider Different Shot Options

There will usually be many different ways to shoot a ball nearly the same distance.They may vary in shot arc, wind susceptibility, etc., but the end result can be the same.

 

If I need to shoot 165 yards with Robert Landolt, a pixel less than 100% with the 7 Iron (170 yards) would be close.The 8 Iron (160 yards) at 100% with added front spin will also be very close.However, the 9 Iron (150yards) at max power (110%) will hit the ball exactly 165 yards!Each of these shots might have their own advantage depending on context, but in the absence of wind, it is ideal to use 100% or max markers to be certain of the exact power being set.

Green is Best

It is immensely easier to sink a putt, than a chip in.Putts offer much more control and granularity with power, and just simply feel easier.Even a 30+m putt across multiple mounds is going to be easier to sink than a 10m chip in.One reason is because it is virtually impossible to set the proper power on these short chip shots. Knowing this, always work towards making the green in as few shots as possible.The worst putt is usually going to be better than any chip shot.

Putting from Off the Green

When off the green, but still within putting range, the putter can be used instead of the sand wedge.The putter can be used from the fairway and rough.When putting, fairway seems to effect the ball the same as the green, whereas the rough requires extra power.

 

In theory, the putter should allow for setting more precise power than the sand wedge, leading to fewer underpowered or overpowered shots.In practice, it doesnít seem like I sink more off-green putts than short chips, but I donít have certain knowledge on this topic.

Revealing the Pin from Behind Trees

Sometimes the pin will be hidden behind a tree, and itís impossible to tell where the pin is located based on the mini-map.In these situations, by aiming your golfer to the far right or left, the course will re-render and the pin may become visible.

Fixing Botched Power, Mid-Shot

There will be times when you have the perfect shot calculated, but accidentally set the wrong impact.There are changes that can be made using spin and shot height to compensate.

 

If you hit the ball too softly, top spin will give you extra distance.If you give it too much, backspin can help you stop short.Using the shot height can also let you tune your shot, especially in the presence of wind.Hitting it higher means the wind will affect your ball more, lower and it will affect the ball less.

Clubbing Down to Lessen Wind Impact

Because the magnitude of windís effect on the ball is a factor of how high the ball goes and how long it is in the air, the choice of club and its shot arc directly effects how wind-prone the ball will be.Itís possible to use an overpowered club and set a low power to avoid wind in this way.Be mindful that the shot arc will change to a shorter one with more roll.

 

My experience with this strategy is limited, but itís a very viable option, especially in very high wind (10m+) situations.

Avoid Risk of Ruin (when it matters)

One bad shot is all it takes to ruin your score on a hole, or even the course when playing for a personal record. Hitting the ball out of bounds is an instant two-stroke loss, and hitting it into the water or a tree trunk is often the same.Outside of practice, shots that have a moderate risk of this happening should be avoided when possible.I encourage risk taking when playing competitively, but it should be calculated.See the cost-benefit analysis section.

Advanced Considerations

Driving Closer to the Hole is (Usually) Better

It may seem like there is no difference between being 100 or 170 yards from the pin, because both are still within one shot of the pin.In actuality, there is always one small advantage to being closer.Being closer to the pin means you can use a shorter club with a more precise power meter. This enables more finely tuned power for more perfect shots.

 

In two-player game modes, after teeing off, the player farthest from the hole typically shoots first.This also can give a small advantage to the person who drives further.The further player can see the other playerís approach and wind compensation, then plan their shot with that added information.

Sinking Chips

It seems that when the aim is dead on, the power of the shot needs to be more perfect than the whole-number yardage displays used in the game.That means, sometimes a perfect 100 yard shot to a 100 yard pin will come up short, or be too powerful and bounce off the pin.It seems that the shot needs to be perfect, but the game doesnít provide the level of display detail and input precision to achieve that.

 

It sometimes feels like there is more involved.While lack of complete knowledge may feel defeating, that doesnít mean we are powerless to sink more chip shots.I like to focus on what we do have control over.

 

As long as you keep perfecting your power to the exact amount, you will have much closer shots on average, leading to many more chip-ins.It becomes a game of quantities, and the more times you are closer to the hole with exact power, the more times the ball will go in.

 

Another consideration is whether the ball will be overpowered or underpowered when approaching the pin.When underpowered, it will miss 100% of the time.Overpowered shots should miss less because they can roll or bounce in.That said, I am not advocating for overpowering all approach shots.My point is that tending towards 1y too much is going to net more chips-ins and 1y too short.

Distance ďBlind SpotsĒ

With certain golfers, there may be certain distances that are particularly difficult to set power for.With Robert Landolt, there is no good way to hit the ball 104 yards using the sand wedge, so one is left to roughly estimate it on the pitching wedge.260 yards is also a nightmare because it lies between the woods.Being mindful of these and attempting to avoid them can lead to fewer awkward shots.

Proactively Mitigating Input Error

I am not particularly good at timing my power meter, and with Landolt it is much easier for me to hit max than 100%.For this reason, I usually try to find shots that use max power instead of 100%.

 

Thought can also go into the shot meter direction when pressing A.The power can be set while the meter is going up or down.If you know you tend to be early or late with your timing, this knowledge can be used to your advantage to hedge your potential error to a specific side of the shot gauge.Similar considerations can be used in netplay situations.Cycling the clubs can be used to reset the power meter direction.

Landing on Inclines on the Green

The mound inclines on the green represent the bulk of the challenge when putting, so landing and sticking close to the pin is the best way to avoid this challenge.There are some particularly large inclines that can have the ball roll many meters.These can be tricky to navigate, and generally you want to land at the base of the mounds so the ball needs to travel parallel with the incline.

 

Sometimes itís possible for the ball to come to rest on an incline without rolling down.This seems to work intuitively.If the ball trajectory is very high, the ball will come down straight, with little momentum in the X and Y directions.If the ball is shot low and straight, it will land with roll and continue across the green.Knowing this, approaches to certain tricky pin locations can be made with a high arc, hoping to stick the landing.

Cost-Benefit Analysis

As with all things in NTM, risk taking is a fine balancing act. It can vary depending on the context of the game state.I will outline a simple example, and then discuss it related to the state of the game.I donít advocate normally attempting a numerical analysis like this, but I think it works well to illustrate what considerations can go into deciding on what shot to take.

 

Letís pretend I think there is a chance I can clear water to enable an eagle that will net -1 stroke.I estimate the shot is 50% likely to succeed and 50% of the time it will go in the water for +2 strokes.

 

††††† 50% x ††† -1†††† =††††††††† -0.5

††††† 50% x †† +2†††† =††††††††† +1.0_

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† +0.5

 

This means this shot will hurt me 0.5 strokes on average (assuming my estimated likelihood is correct, which it certainly is not).In the greater context of the game, we can use this estimate to determine if this risk is worth it.If I am doing well and up two points in match play, it doesnít seem smart to take the risky shot that is bad on average.If I am down three points with six holes left, I should probably take the risk to win a point before I run out of chances.

A Deeper Look, Unknowns, Other Thoughts

Why didnít my ball go in?

The more hours anyone has spent playing this game, the more times they will have a ball roll right over the hole, bounce off the pin, or literally rest on top of the hole.It can be very frustrating when it seems like the ball should have gone in.I donít know exactly what determines when a ball will sink instead of rolling over, bouncing off pin, etc.When lined up perfectly, it seems like the speed of the ball needs to be below a threshold.There may be other unseen factors that compound this, but without decompiling the game, we may never know.

 

The best consolation I can provide is that the course display is not telling the whole story because it is an approximation.(This is similar to how I previously recommended using the game screen for aiming instead of the mini-map, because the mini-map is an approximation)

 

Especially by todayís standards, this game is very low resolution Ė 304 x 224 pixels.This resolution is far too low for accurate mathematical operations on smooth ball trajectories in reference to an intricate golf course layout.I calculate the actual underlying mathematical model of the ball physics to be well over 1000 times higher precision than the game resolution, in each dimension.This means there are probably millions of different ball locations for each pixel you see on the course.

 

It sounds crazy, but thatís one reason why the ball often feels like it should have gone in.Next time your ball looks like it is sitting on top of the hole, see how many centimeters it remains from the hole when it transitions to the putt screen.There is a very large range of distances that use the same pixel.(the closest ball I have had without sinking is 17cm)

 

This is the same reason a ball resting on the edge of different terrain may look like it is on one type, but the shot will be from the other.The most interesting example of this I experienced is having the ball rolling into bunker animation play, but the ensuing shot was actually still from the fairway!

Unknowns

         It seems to me that when going from level ground, over a hill, back to level ground, the ball will gain speed.This doesnít make intuitive sense, and needs more investigation.

Et Cetera

Ver 0.4 - Last updated April 16, 2020

Contact

I have gmail under the name ďvectormanĒ.You can figure out where the Ď@í and Ď.comí go.

I welcome feedback, corrections, criticism, etc.

 

Thanks for reading.