Previous golf video games were lacking in their realism, specifically in their scoring systems. When it came to the golf courses and the professionals in the game, they were all realistic, which is why people would buy the game. However when it came to the tournament scores in career mode, the scoring was found wanting.

Via @ reddit

You Score Better than Tiger Woods

Real-life golfers would mostly shoot scores of par or one under, but, in the game, gamers certainly won’t find it half as hard.

Via @ virtualeye

This means that as the player you would be shooting scores in the range of eight to eighteen under if you were good enough. Since you had the ability to put spin and extra power on each shot and it did not matter how straight or quick your swing was, the game was that much easier. This allowed for you to shoot such a score, but with some quick math, you will realize that you can easily beat the computer AI by tens of strokes. Of course this is very unrealistic compared to real-life golf tournaments!

It’s All in Your Swing

Via @ reddit

To combat this issue, the developers of PGA Tour 2K21 made sure this game will be more realistic and not as easy as previous releases. For starters, they made the settings reliant on how quick your swing was and how straight was its swing motion. Looking at a right-handed golfer, if you swung too fast, you hooked the ball left, and if you swung too slow, it would slice off to the right. That’s increasing the realism of the game, of course, because if you swing right to left, or left to right, the ball will curve in whatever direction you swing.

Via @ twinfinite

These two settings already worked towards making the game as realistic as possible, but once you have mastered your swing and you begin to shoot better scores, you could again begin to run across the problem of beating your opponents by considerable margins. This could just be winning every tournament by five instead of fifteen, but I imagine you would still want a challenge even if you consistently win by even a smaller margin.


With that in mind, the developers installed different AI difficulty levels. These AI difficulty settings let you change the average score that they shoot per round and tournament. This lets you make the game a little easier at the beginning, but also make it more difficult once you get better at playing. For example, the normal difficulty means that the computers should shoot between seven and ten under par per round. Now, we say should, because there have been reports that the computers actually shoot two to four under instead.

Via @ 2kgames

If that is the case for you, just increase the difficulty even more to combat those issues. The game gives you the option to change this number based on a percentage, so you can change the difficulty to 90% for example, but that difficulty also results in unrealistic numbers like thirty five to forty under par per tournament. Most real life golf tournaments end in ten to twenty under par range per round, so keep that in mind whenever you are changing your settings.

Change of Course

Via @ gamermatters

Besides changing the AI difficulty to increase their score, you can also change the overall difficulty of the course. This makes the scores more realistic for both you and the computers. This will put the pin in harder locations and increase the wind speed as well. It can also increase the depth of the rough and smoothness of the green. So, if you want to make the game more of a challenge for everyone involved, you can just increase the overall difficulty of the course conditions.

If you really want to make the game harder for you instead of for the computer, you can start changing your own swing settings. This is harder to fine tune properly, so there will be more of a learning curve for you but this is another option. It includes smaller windows for error when it comes to swing timing and straightness. It will also make your swing quicker in general so it can also become a challenge on your reaction timing and skills.

Via @ reddit

To be clear, even though there are many different things that you can try, the easiest and most effective option will be changing the difficulty of the computer. The default setting is 50%, but you will find it becomes closer to 75% for the most realistic options.

These settings are designed to make the game more realistic for you, but you can use them to make it more realistic for actual golf tournaments. The problems with making your settings accurate for standard tournaments is that one day you will likely score better than real life games. This means inevitably you will become above average and outscore the real numbers that you typically see.

Real Life vs Digital Life

Via @ uproxx

Whenever you can, rely on the settings to make it harder for you by changing swing settings. Either way at one point you will need to accept that your settings will most likely not represent real life golf scores anymore but instead simply be set up best for you.

As we mentioned earlier some players need to set the difficulty for computers to score thirty to forty under par to be realistic for them, even though that is not necessarily realistic for real life golf tournaments. At the end of the day, just accept that “realistic” scores might change for you from being realistic in real life to being realistic for your abilities.

Via @ gtsaa

Always remind yourself that this is a game, with golf course factors limited to whatever settings there are in the game. In real life, swinging your golf club is more than just straightness and speed — There’s your arm strength. There’s accuracy, like, whether you hit the ball, or the dirt beneath it. The wind isn’t constant – it can blow north at first, then suddenly shift to northeast, and as it blows at a speed of 10 yards, it can suddenly stop in your ball’s mid-flight.

Via @ gamepur

There’s so much more to real-life golfing than what today’s technology can replicate!

Just Try them All

Via @ forbes

Luckily, if you are looking for the most realistic settings, there are a lot of different things that you can change. The default settings are designed to be realistic, but as you read you might notice that those settings will need to change to make your tournaments more realistic. It will take some experimenting to see what settings work best for you, but once you figure that out, we’re sure you’ll enjoy PGA more than ever before!