Jack Nicklaus is a certifiable legend in the world of golf. I would say that he, Arnold Palmer, and Tiger Woods make up the holy trinity of pro golf. He definitely has the right to have his name on a golf game. Unfortunately, he put his name on a game that isn't fit to graduate from the amateur tour.
Jack Nicklaus' Turbo Golf is certainly much more ambitious that the other titles I have covered thus far. Moving up to the 16-bit TurboGrafx-16 was a good move considering what Sculptured Software wanted to do. Unlike the golf games on the 8-bit consoles, the one single course presented in Turbo Golf (damn those tiny HuCards!) isn't flat. The course has hills, valleys, and clearly contoured greens. The 18 holes used for this course are taken from nine different famous courses around the world, and they look well-rendered considering the Turbo's relatively-limited capabilities. The game even goes remarkably in-depth with tips from Nicklaus himself, realistic putting physics, and challenging wind conditions.
If I was to grade this game on ambition alone, it would certainly rate at least a B. However, ambitious design means nothing if the game isn't fun to play, and this one is just too irritating. The asymmetrical swing meter moves too fast on the drives, and not hitting the impact point EXACTLY right would send your ball warp speed into the nearest tree. The putting is outright painful. Breaks aren't clear with the limited shadows on the green itself and the break gauge at the bottom left of the screen. Worst of all, for a game with the word “Turbo” in the title, the game is aggravatingly slow. It takes upwards of ten seconds for the view to render for EVERY SINGLE SHOT! Also, if you want to aim at more of an angle to compensate for wind gusts, if you move your aiming cursor more than 45 degrees to the left or right, the view has to spend another 10 seconds rendering again! Even if you back up to look at the layout for the hole, the course would have to spend ANOTHER 10 seconds rendering AGAIN! A one-player game could take more than an hour due to this. Think of how long a four-player match would be in that case and just put away that TurboTap.
Jack Nicklaus' Turbo Golf was just too ambitious for its own good. I definitely applaud the fact that the developers wanted to make a golf game that was much more realistic than what was possible on the NES or Sega Master System. However, the TurboGrafx-16 just couldn't handle it. A better designed putter means nothing to a player who can't sink a putt in the first place.