Playing sports was my thing while growing up, but it was mainly team sports like softball, basketball, volleyball, and soccer. However, I took a few classes or lessons in single player sports like gymnastics, golf, and tennis. Golf just didn’t fit me as holding a club felt awkward. Maybe it was because it was too different from holding a bat. But one golf game that I played numerous times was the card version.
I couldn’t believe I never got bored playing basic solitaire golf that came with Windows in the mid-’90s. I even loaded the game on my Palm handheld and played that for a long time. Since then, I got too busy to play the solitaire game.
Furthermore, after becoming a game reviewer, I didn’t have the luxury of sticking with a game for a long time. Whenever I played a game past my bedtime indicated a sign that a game was a hit and I blamed Fairway Solitaire for my recent tiredness.
The basic game isn’t good enough today. Most of your favorites probably have newer versions containing power ups, trophies, and other bonuses. Solitaire golf receives the same treatment.
The power ups show up in the golf shop. As you play each hole, you earn bucks to use in the golf shop for power ups. For a female golfer, buying a skirt provides her with the ability to x-ray a card to see through it.
The set up cards also contain hazards and bonuses. Because of these, you may not play golf the way you would when playing old-fashioned solitaire golf. Different situations call for different strategies, and that could mean sacrificing a long drive for a short one. A long drive occurs when you pick up at least six cards in a row without drawing a card from the pile, which drives up the multiplier and money pot.
Along the way, you can pick up irons and use mulligans. An iron has a number between one and nine. How a iron works: If there’s a card with an 8 on the board and the golf bag contains a 7 iron, pull it out so you can grab the 8. Mulligans let you undo the last move. Beware that the game only lets you use one mulligan at a time.
Cards that contain a water hazard appear with a light blue shade. When you play these cards, the animation and experience match the feel of a water hazard. Cards in a sand trap won’t flip over until you find the wedge. So instead of making a long drive, you target the cards blocking the wedge to open the sand trap cards.
Although a tutorial explains the game and the different types of cards, it may not click right away. The best way to learn the game is just play it. A hole ends when you either clear the board or run out of cards in the draw pile.
When you begin a round, a positive number appears in the box on the lower left corner of the screen. As you remove each card from the board, the number shrinks. Just like in the game of golf: The lower the number, the better the score. Thankfully, a game with a par 7 goes onto the scorecard as par 5 (the maximum). When the score falls below par, it means more cash.
The end of a hole shows the statistics for that hole including the longest drive, time taken, long drive multiplier, and the cash earned. The scorecard tracks the score for all nine rounds. Players earn bonuses for low scores and successfully completing courses, which unlocks more courses and there are 70 courses available.
As for the Wild Shot mini-game, I wouldn’t call it that. The mini-game is too mini (oxymoron?). You can either play the shot or drop it and lose $200. Playing Wild Shot could lead to either good or bad results. Select “play” to flip the images and select “stop” to stop the images. What happens next depends on whatever image appears. You could lose cards, try to put for a hole-in-one, lose or win money, or gain an extra mulligan. Though I’m not crazy about Wild Shot, it surprisingly contains many possibilities. After playing the game for a couple of days, I continue to discover new possibilities. This is the only handicap of Fairway Solitaire.
Well, the game may have one other mini-game, if you call it that. An optional course appears every few course. Rather than playing it like the others, it’s timed play. If you clear the board before time runs out, the game awards bonus points. A long drive also adds a few seconds to the clock. It makes me cuckoo, but it’s also a nice change of pace.
As a package, Fairway Solitaire offers everything for a grand old time including great cartoon-style graphics, lively music, and addicting play. That’s why it earns fore and one-half stars. Lousy golfers like me have a chance to be winners in golf using cards instead of clubs as our weapon.
Typically after completing a review, I move on to the next game. Not this time. I must play more Fairway Solitaire!
Download and try Fairway Solitaire.
- Windows Vista, XP, 2000
- 800 MHz minimum
- 256 MB RAM
- DirectX 6.0 or later
- 54 MB hard drive space