A FAQ for the iPad game: Let's Golf 3, by Gameloft.
Let's Golf 3 – a Guide
by Tobias D. Robison
This is a Guide to playing Gameloft’s Let’s Golf 3, for Fun and No Money.
Updated: Feb 28, 2012. Chris Rowsey ("CR") has answered questions that I raised in the original version, see below. Chris, thanks!
You can download Let’s Golf 3 (“LG3”) from iTunes for your iPhone, Touch or iPad device. It’s free, but the game is cleverly organized to tempt you to spend actual money. Spend Nothing! Instead, play the game right, to build up your in-game coins and bucks without emptying your real pockets. Keeping the game free assures a pleasurable pastime that might not addict you.
The game’s tutorial covers very little about the game. It’s difficult, maybe impossible, to discover what you need to know on the Internet. I’m going to let you in on many of the game’s secrets, and explain how to try to enjoy it addiction-free. LG3 is a wonderful game of skill.
This guide is accurate, or tries to be, regarding LG3 as of November 1, 2011. I’m going to discuss three things:
+ information that’s on the game screens
+ how you will gain and spend in-game coins and bucks
+ tips on how to plan your shots, and how to play the game.
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When you load up LG3, you’ll see that the game offers a variety of golf courses, but only one of them is available at first. You’ll discover that your player has four game skills: driving the ball far, hitting accurately, recovery shots, and putting. And you’ll see that there are two ways to increase these skills:
+ experience (from playing many holes). As you gain levels, you get skill points to augment the skills.
+ buying better equipment and clothes, which provide plusses and minuses to your skills. You buy these advantages in the game’s marketplace.
There are in-game coins, which you can buy for real money, or earn by playing holes. There are in-game bucks, which you can buy for real money, or earn very slowly (one dollar per level).
If you are impatient about playing on the golf courses, you can unlock holes faster for real money.
The game also limits you to the number of holes you can play at one time, called “energy” in the game. You apparently earn one hole every 40 (or more) minutes of actual time. If you are impatient (AND DON’T BE!), you can pay real money to play more holes per day.
I believe that the key to good golf play is patience. Bring that skill to LG3! You will only be able to play five, or ten, or fifteen holes a day without buying “energy”, and that’s just fine.
You will notice that after you play each hole, you gain experience points (“xp”) and coins. (The game has additional ways of giving you xp and coins as well, and you’ll enjoy the largesse it gradually drips on you.) The lower your score on a hole, the more xp and coins you get.
The basic display in which you choose “single player”, or choose to go to the marketplace, or set your game options, shows you where you stand. Across the top of the screen:
Your hoard of coins; Your bucks; Your level, and how many xp to the next level; the countdown, in minutes, to when you’ll get your next energy point (if you have fewer than the maximum allowed). You’ll see the same info on other screens as well, such as the screens where you select a course and your hole to play.
AND I ASK YOU: that info line also includes (upper right) a star followed by two numbers:
+ nnn/nnnn . What does that mean? Please write and tell me: tobyr21 at gmail.com .
Let’s pick a course. (At first, that means Fiji.)
AND I ASK YOU: The courses each have an onscreen number pair. What does that mean? Please write and tell me: tobyr21 at gmail.com .
CR explains: You get a score depending on how well you have played the course: 1 point for each par, 2 for each birdie, 3 for each eagle. On a nine-hole course, the second number is the best possible score (int his case, 27). If you have birdied3 of the nine holes and parred the other six, your score (the first number) will be 12: 12/27.
When you choose a course, you will see the display of its 18 holes. Eventually there will be stars for each hole. This display is very important to you, in the long run. One star means that you have, at least once, gotten par on the hole. Two stars means you’ve gotten a birdie, and three stars means an eagle. There’s a good reason the game remembers your best effort on each hole; I’ll explain, below.
BUT I ASK YOU: Why doesn’t the game give you a traditional golf scorecard so that you can play a full 18-hole course and try to make or break par? Am I missing something? Please write and tell me: tobyr21 at gmail.com .
CR explains: This is available in the challenge section, and requires 3-18 energy depending on whether or not you play the 3 hole, 9 hole or 18 hole challenges.
If you take my advice and play without using real money, you will be eager to gain: skill, coins, bucks, and course holes. And here’s how it works:
Look at a course on which you have not “unlocked” all the holes. Let’s say you are allowed to play hole 9 but not 10. Once you get a par on hole 9, you will be allowed to play 10. It’s that simple.
If you get a par on any hole (even one you’ve played many times), you get 100 xp and 20 coins. But here’s the important part: you get a 500 xp bonus for setting a “new record” on any hole. So the first time you par it, you get the extra 500. If you birdie any hole that has one star in its selector, you’ve set a new record and you get another 500. And so on.
When you unlock a new course, note that getting par on each of its holes is worth at least 600 *18 xp. And if you can birdie 8 of its holes later, that’s worth another 625 * 8 xp. Those bonuses will earn you a game level or two. And you can always “grind up”, replaying courses or holes you like, for 75 xp (bogey), 100 (another par), 125 (another birdie), etc.
The xp bonuses for “setting records” help you get to the next levels much faster. Gaining several levels unlocks the next (more difficult) course. But gaining each level also gives you:
+ one more buck
+ one more skill point, that you can use to improve one of your four skills.
+ I believe you also get a bonus energy point, so you can play another hole.
What should you do with your in-game bucks? I suggest hoarding them for a while. When you get to 12 or maybe 16 bucks, there are very nice things you can buy in the marketplace to increase your skills. However, you may wish to spend a few bucks quickly, to make your skills decent.
What should you do with your in-game coins? I suggest hoarding them for a while. When you get to 5000 or so coins, there are very nice things you can buy in the marketplace. However, you may wish to spend a few coins quickly, to make your skills decent. There are useful purchases for 150 to 500 coins.
Whenever you buy something in the marketplace, be aware that it will replace the similar thing you already own or wear. So that if you replace, say, shoes that give +2 to driving power and +1 to accuracy, with new shoes that give +1 to driving power and +2 to accuracy, and +3 to putting, your putting will improve, but your driving will become one less.
It seems to me that you ought to be able to buy one club of each kind. I bought two different 5,000 coin clubs: one for recovery shots, and one for putting (in that order). The game’s skill display tells me that I lost the recovery club when I bought the putting club. (I’m not absolutely sure that’s true, however. I’m still making good recovery shots.)
You can buy special balls, and they are remarkably cheap, but I believe you can only use them for only one hole. I would buy a special ball only to deal with a particularly frustrating hole.
The game will keep offering you purchases, showing you how much they increase your stats. BUT BEWARE! Buying them can reduce your stats because of the current items you lose. Go to the marketplace, find your current items and compare their stats to the items you wish to buy. If you can’t figure out how to make that comparison, consider NOT BUYING! Just once, I bought some mouthwatering shoes whose value I could not fully ascertain, and watched most of my stats go DOWN.
And beware even further! I wrote letters of complaint to Gameloft about how the shoes the game tempted me with lowered my stats. Weeks went by and I have never seen a response.
Okay, I hope you have the overall picture now: you play about five holes at a time. You are playing golf, so be patient, think hard, and enjoy yourself! Learn how to use the clubs to good effect; learn where to be extra aggressive; psyche out the layouts of the holes. These are all pleasures that await you. Depending on how you play, you will gain xp, bucks and coins quickly or slowly, and you will use them to improve your game skill. You’ll get better at the courses you already know, and you’ll get to conquer new courses.
Now, let’s discuss how to play the game.
FIRST: Take the tutorial and watch carefully. Chances are, you will miss something important, so after playing fifty holes or so, take the tutorial again, and watch carefully, again.
Every stroke you make in this game requires you to use your reflexes and tap at the right moment. Putting requires you to tap once for the strength of the putt. Other strokes require you to tap first for strength, and then for good control. Each of these taps requires you to watch a cursor swinging back and forth over some range. You decide where you want to tap, and then you try to tap when the cursor is exactly where you want it.
I have some excellent advice about how to learn to tap perfectly: Don’t try to watch for the cursor to get to your ideal spot. Instead: BE THE CURSOR. Let your mind focus on it, knowing what you want to do. You will get very accurate at tapping. Fortunately, tapping accurately is NOT the most important skill in this game.
I have some more excellent advice about tapping for strength: the display gives you a notch to show you, in theory, the ideal place to tap for strength. You will learn that this notch is often misleading. Adverse wind can force you to tap for a stronger stroke. Fast fairways and greens can force you to tap for a much weaker stroke. And each time you increase your power skill, you may have to adjust the strength adjustments you have learned to make.
STRATEGY: After a while, you’ll be familiar with how well your current skills allow you to hit the ball. You’ll use your knowledge of your skills to plan how to attack each hole. There’s a fiendish variety of holes that call for different approaches to driving, to depending on accuracy, putting, and even aiming into the rough, depending on your recovery skill. For every stroke, LG3 will recommend a club selection and a specific shot. Tap the mini-map to see where that shot is going to go. As you gain experience, you will – more and more – refuse the game’s suggestion and plan your own club selection and shot.
To plan your own shot, put your finger on the course to the right or left of the indicated goal, to move your aim right or left. And put your finger ahead of the suggested target or behind it, to lengthen or shorten your aim. LG3 will choose different clubs depending on the shot’s intended length. You may wish to override its choice.
The game’s pictorials of the course layout are beautiful, but they do not fully convey to you variations in height. You may wonder why LG3 wants you to shoot about 140 yards instead of using your driver to go over 200; and when you try to use your driver, you may be surprised to see your ball bounce off a wall that didn’t look so high.
I believe there are a few rare holes in which what you see is not what you get, and you just have to take LG3’s advice about what to hit, even though its advice seems goofy. The ninth hole of the Egyptian course is a very special case, and I will discuss it below.
CHOOSING A CLUB: You are not allowed to use your driver in the rough. Many of LG3’s courses are fast, and to avoid long, disastrous bounces and rolls, you will either underhit a club, or choose a weaker club. Once you develop good driving skill, you can get aggressive, overruling LG3’s wimpy first shot suggestions and driving for much better placement.
PUTTING: LG3 shows you where your put will go if you aim it straight at the hole. Watch the superimposed grid carefully! Suppose your ball strays one grid unit to the right. Then you want to adjust your aim so that the grid moves one unit to the left. More generally, note the spot that your ball rolled aside to, and shift the grid so that that spot is at the hole.
The Chinese course has some putting greens that appear similar to its fairways. These *slow* greens require you to hit the putt harder, especially for long shots.
PLACEMENT: LG3 drives me crazy about trying to place my shots accurately. It is so easy to fall short (in the water!) or bounce long (off the green, into the rough, into the water!). To get accurate placement, you have to learn to underhit with some clubs, and you also have to learn to spin the big ball:
When you make your second tap to hit, a big ball appears on the screen. You can stroke it to make your ball spin in a selected direction, slow, fast or faster, to put some “English” in your stroke. I believe (I’m not sure) that you have an additional choice: stroking at once to try to make the ball curve in flight, or stroking shortly before the ball lands, to try to lengthen or shorten the bounce and roll.
AND I ASK YOU: The tutorial shows how you can alter your “stance”. Why would I ever want to do that?
CR explains: Much like on a real golf course almost every hole or approach to a green is done better by adding a "draw" or "fade" to the ball in order to avoid hazards throughout the hole. By adjusting your stance you can change the trajectory of the ball from straight down the middle, or to curve left to right or right to left, much like a curve ball in baseball. This is very effective when you want to attack the green but trees block every straight approach you have.
Chris's explanation is very interesting. You can also "curve" a shor by swiping the big ball while it is in flight. But drawing or fading the ball might be in addition to that curve, and might take place sooner. So it is an important skill to add to your shotmaking.
EGYPT’S NINTH HOLE: Now we are ready to discuss the most fascinating hole I’ve played so far. LG3’s suggested first shot on this hole is about 160 yards. If you place the ball exactly as the game suggests, your ball will stop five yards in front of a gigantic monument that appears to block all progress. Fear not! LG3’s suggested second shot is right through that monument, onto the green.
Should you take LG3’s advice?
I did try it. I figured, LG3 must know that the monument isn’t really there. I hit a lusty stroke, and watched the ball bounce off the monument and fly backward over my head, rolling halfway back to the tee. There’s a better way to play this hole. Use your driver on the first stroke. Aim as close to the left edge of the monument as you dare, considering how the wind is blowing. (Never ignore the wind!) Your goal is either to bounce on the granite to the monument’s left, or to land in the grass beyond, then roll without rolling too far left (there’s a sand trap).
Your second shot will aim over the ship for the green, but not too near the protecting sand trap. You can birdie this hole! But you will need a great second shot.
Fore! I hope you can enjoy some low-cost, addiction-free play with LG3.
Thanks for reading this guide! Do you like to read fantasy novels, or do you have a friend who does? Please visit my website, RavensGift.com, for a good read, a good etext, or a good audio podcast book.
Please email suggestions, corrections and questions to: tobyr21 at gmail.com . I am RavensGift on Facebook.