Remember what I said about Lee Trevino's Fighting Golf? Remember how my biggest issue with the game was how the screen stayed so cluttered with all the various bits of info that, while important to playing a golf game, made looking at it tiring by the 9th hole? Can you imagine that kind of clutter on a tiny portable screen? Well, you don't have to imagine it because Fred Couples Golf provides it.
Fred Couples had been a dominator on the PGA Tour since 1982. He won the Masters in 1992. His nickname is "Boom Boom" due to his drives that could rival Happy Gilmore's. He has designed twenty award-winning golf courses. Hell, the only golf manual I own was written by him. Fred Couples definitely earned the right to have his name on a golf game.
Fortunately, the Game Gear exclusive that got his name does a lot right. There are multiple game modes including a multiple-round tournament that includes a password feature. There are three real-life courses included that look good even on the small screen. Four characters can be used with differing stats. Whether you prefer long drives or accurate chipping, there's a character for you. Fred even provides plenty of text to give tips on how to handle each hole. You can even choose from five caddies. The sound effects are also pleasing, if a bit exaggerated. This is all very good stuff.
When you get to playing, it's a bit more hit and miss. The first thing you'll notice is that your eyes will strain to see where your shots are being aimed. There is a TINY map of the hole on the left for aiming which was a bad idea for a portable. My eyes were hurting after six holes from trying to aim with the map. On top of that, there are reams of text everywhere. It becomes particularly annoying when the caddie repeats phrases constantly. This game definitely needed to take a few cues from Awesome Golf (more pictures, fewer words). The swing interface is a bit unusual as you have to account for stance and striking the ball head-on, but it becomes second-nature by hole 3. One nice thing is that the game plays very quickly. The text can be sped through, and the ball flight is super-fast. You can play a full round in less than a half-hour.
Fred Couples Golf would have a great game on a home console; in fact, a 32X version was being worked but was never released. On the Game Gear, however, it was almost as painful to play as Golf on the Virtual Boy. It is a good golf game, but your eyes will hate you afterward.