Nova Golf Guide


  1. Introduction
  2. Main Menu
  3. Starting a Game
  4. Gameplay
  5. Career
  6. Pro Shop
  7. Achievements/Scores
  8. Preferences
  9. Additional Resources
  10. Tips
  11. System Requirements
  12. Credits


Welcome to Nova Golf, the finest golfing game on the iPhone, iPad, iPod, and Mac! While most of Nova Golf can be picked up through the in-game tutorial and by exploring the application, this guide is meant to explain some of the finer details.

Main Menu

  • Career Mode – Use this to create and customize profiles, level them up, and play in tournaments. More Info
  • Practice – Play 18 holes on any course or practice a specific hole with unlimited mulligans. More Info
  • Pro Shop – Upgrade equipment using credits earned in game or through In-App Purchase. More Info
  • Challenge a Friend – Email a friend with information on Nova Golf
  • Achievements – Various statistics for each profile and GameCenter achievements. More Info
  • Scores – Local top scores on each course/difficulty and GameCenter internet leader boards. More Info
  • Controls – Lists all hotkeys for controlling the game
  • Settings – Adjust gameplay and graphics settings. More Info

Starting a Game

The pre game menu can be intimidating at first, but after exploring all of the options it becomes simple. All orange text fields are adjustable, just click to change them!

  • Course – Choose between all available courses. Each course has unique terrain types and characteristics to make it unique
  • Profile – Pick any character created in the Career menu. Experience earned while practicing is applied directly to the selected profile
  • Mode – Full 18 is a standard round of golf, while Practice allows each hole to be played as many times, in any order, and gives unlimited mulligans
  • Difficulty – Choose the perfect challenge for you
    • Beginner – Slow and soft greens, firm fairways, low cut rough, less difficult bunker/desert/heather. White/blue/green tees available
    • Amateur – Medium green speed and firmness, semi-firm fairways, medium cut rough, more difficult bunker/desert/heather. Blue/green tees available
    • Pro – Fast and firm greens, soft fairways, high cut rough, most difficult bunker/desert/heather. Green tees available
  • Tees – Adjusts the length of the course. Green tees typically play 5-10% longer than the blue tees, which already play 5-10% longer than the white tees
  • Pins – Each hole has four possible pin locations. Typically D is the most challenging, followed by C, B, then A
  • Clubs – Choose 14 clubs using a driver/putter and any combination of woods, irons, wedges
    • The 52, 56, 60, and 64 options represent wedges with those degrees of loft. Often referred to as approach/gap/sand/lob wedges
  • Balls – Choose any available ball. Additional balls can be purchased from the Pro Shop with In-Game Credits earned during tournaments or In App Purchases
  • Club Quality – Choose which driver/putter and set of woods/irons/wedges to use. Choices are limited to available clubs purchased from the Pro Shop


The objective of Nova Golf is to get the ball into the hole in as few strokes as possible. A shot can be broken down into four phase: Planning, Shot Select, Ball Flight, and Post Shot

  • Planning – Gather knowledge of the upcoming shot and plan accordingly
    • Center Screen – The estimated flight path is shown as a series of spheres, with a white landing zone at the end. This is a best case scenario that accounts for ball lie, wind, and any fade/draw/loft/punch modifiers
    • Top Left Screen – Distance to pin, and any vertical distance to compensate for. The club carry distance is listed directly beneath. This yardage is an ideal case, both a low accuracy stat and bad lie will cause random variation from this distance
    • Bottom Left Screen – Ball lie percentage. Fairways and greens are alway 100% and any other surface will drop the lie percentage. Shot power is directly proportional to this percentage and accuracy/spin are both negatively affected by it. The recovery stat of the profile minimizes the impact of a poor lie
    • Bottom Left Screen- Wind speed/direction. This updates after each shot, no need to sit and wait for the wind to change
    • Bottom Right Screen – Hole minimap. The ball flight path is estimated along with the landing zone, similar to the flight path in the center of the screen
    • Top Left Screen – Shot modifiers
      • Club – Switch between all fourteen clubs. Not all clubs are available on every shot
      • Fade – Spins the ball to the right, generally adds more backspin/loft and reduces distance.
      • Draw – Spins the ball to the left, generally reduces backspin/loft and increases distance.
      • Loft – Increases the trajectory of the shot, decreasing carry and roll
      • Punch – Decreases the trajectory of the shot, decreasing carry but resulting in more roll
    • Half-Power – While close to the green half power shots can be used for more precision.
    • The angle of which the ball lies on the ground effects the above modifiers
      • A slope going down towards the flight path increases punch while a slope going up towards the flight path increases loft
      • A slope going down towards the player increases draw while a slope going up towards the player increases fade
    • The View button gives several different views of the hole from various locations
  • Shot Select
    • Now you’re ready to hit the ball (Space Bar on OSX, Swing Button iOS). The first press will reveal the Power Meter. The teal area near the top represents 100% power, the red above represents an over swing and will reduce power. The number at the top of the power bar is the ideal carry of the selected club. For shots where the club has more than enough power to make it to the pin, a second number shows up below the maximum distance. This is the location on the power bar that should get the ball to land close to the pin
    • Next the accuracy bar appears. Always try to land in the middle, any variation will cause the ball to randomly push/pull and fade/draw. Poor accuracy selection also decreases shot power
    • Both the power and accuracy bar speeds can be slowed by increasing the profile accuracy stat. The bar speeds are increased by poor ball lies coupled with a poor recovery stat
  • Ball Flight
    • Once the ball is in the air sit back and enjoy the shot
    • Going in the water results in a one stroke penalty and the ball is placed at the last flat non-water location
    • Going out of bounds is a one stroke penalty and the ball is placed where it was last struck. There are no stakes marking OB, it is generally a few hundred yards away from any point of interest
  • Post Shot
    • The top right hand of the screen shots actual shot distance, broken down into the carry and roll portions
    • The shot flight may be viewed over again using the Replay button
    • One free redo per round is permitted with the Mulligan button, use it wisely!
    • In rare instances the ball may become impossible to hit. Use the Unplayable Lie button to move the ball back to an acceptable spot to drop, taking a one stroke penalty
    • Both the game scorecard and tournament results are visible with the Score button


The career menu allows for custom profiles to be created and progressed through a series of tournaments, earning experience and pro shop credits along the way.

  • The Active profile can be changed by clicking the Profile text
  • Profiles can be managed using the Add/Delete Profile buttons. A maximum of eight unique profiles are available.
  • Name changes are made by pressing the Name text
  • Appearance can be customized by pressing the Height/Weight/Shoes/Shirt/Pants/Shirt/Sex text
  • Experience is used to improve each profile
    • Power – How far the ball is struck with all clubs
    • Accuracy – How much random variation is added to each non-putt shot. Slows down the power/accuracy bar speeds
    • Putting – How much random variation is added to each putt. Increases the distance in which the green can be read with the grid and dots
    • Recovery – Bad lies have a reduced effect on accuracy, power, and bar speeds
    • Spin – Increases ball bite and higher flight trajectory, makes stopping on greens easier
    • As stats rise they cost more experience to increases. Enhance the Stats that best suit your play style. Be sure to create new profiles and experiment with different player types. Power, finess, etc
    • Experience is earned by completing rounds, finishing holes at or under par, or through In-App Purchase
  • Tournaments are used to gain pro shop credit and to gain status as an elite professional golfer
    • The Start button advances to the upcoming tournament round. A pre game menu will appear with round specific information and options
    • The Tournament Progress button lists all events, their status, pay, and results
    • The top half of the field advances to the next event and earns credits. The bottom half has to repeat the same event
    • Pay is calculated by the formula Payout = 1stPlacePay * ((players-rank+1)/players)^2. This format pays deep into the field, for example placing 24th out of 80 still results in 50% of the 1st place compensation!
    • Tournaments can be ended using the Concede Tournament button

Pro Shop

In addition to leveling up profile stats, the pro shop provides another method to improve shots. Everything in the pro shop can be purchased with credits earned from the career mode or through In-App Purchase.

  • Clubs
    • Drivers and putters are upgraded individually, but woods/irons/wedges are all upgraded in sets
    • Each category has various brands that have various performance characteristics. As cost increases so does distance, spin, and accuracy
    • When in game credits are used each set must be upgraded one level at a time
    • When In-App Purchase is used then all qualities for a given set are purchased together
  • Balls
    • In general there is a trade off between distance and spin, while the more expensive balls always have better accuracy
    • Balls are lost when hit into the water or out of bounds, so always try to have a variety of backup balls in case high quality ones are lost mid-round. The generic balls perform much worse compared to even mid-level balls
  • In the pre game menu, the highest level clubs are and balls are selected by default. They are adjustable, some course/conditions may require equipment that produces less spin
  • In the future expect to see a variety of items, from new courses to special power ups!


The Achievements screen is profile specific, to change active profile click the Profile text. On the iOS platform and Mac OS 10.8 Gamecenter is available, which provides a list of app-wide achievements to shoot for and social networking features

  • Achievement Notes
    • Driving Accuracy – Tee shot lands on fairway/green on par 4 and par 5s
    • Green In Regulation (GIR) – Hitting the green with two available putts left to make par.
    • Green Under Regulation (GUR) – Hitting the green with three or more putts available to make par.
    • Scrambling – Saving par after missing a green in regulation. Usually happens by going “up and down” with a chip and a putt, though a missed chip followed by a chip in would count
    • Sand Save – Scrambling for par out of a green-side bunker
    • Double Eagle – Also known as an Albatross, shooting three under par on a hole. The ultimate shot in golf, more rare than a hole in one

The Scores screen is course specific, to change the active course click the Course text. On the iOS platform and Mac OS 10.8 Gamecenter leader boards are available, which provide online best round lists and social networking


Customize Nova Golf in the preference screen. iOS users have access to less options than Mac Users due to the narrow hardware selection. Since Macs vary so much in hardware all of the graphics settings are customizable to allow for the best image quality/speed settings. To get the game to run smoother turn down the graphics settings and reduce the size of the game window

  • (Both) Sound – Sound effects
  • (Both) Music – In game and menu soundtrack
  • (Both) Tutorial – General instructions on how to play. Turns off after completing a round
  • (Both) Ambient – Noises from time to time, such as lawn mowers, planes, and various birds
  • (Mac) Grass – How many grass blades and how far back they are displayed
  • (Mac) Water – How detailed the water geometry is
  • (Mac) Shadows – How many objects cast shadows
  • (Mac) Reflections – How detailed water reflections are
  • (Mac) Anti-Aliasing – Eliminates jagged lines and pixelation
  • (Mac) Texture Filtering – Creates more detail on far away terrain textures and objects at oblique angles
  • (Mac) Terrain – How detailed the terrain geometry is
  • (Mac) Trees – High or low quality tree models
  • (Mac) Retina – Enable retina display support. Large performance hit with first generation models

Additional Resources

Check out the Nova Golf Forum for more information and to discuss the game with other players and the developers!


User snvboy has some good suggestions posted on the forum, check out his post. Deano also has some helpful tips

System Requirements

  • iOS
    • iPhone 3GS+, iPad, or iPod Touch (3rd Generation+)
    • iOS System Version 4.3+
  • Macintosh
    • Mac OS 10.6.8+, CPU Speed – 2.2 GHz, Memory – 2GB+, Video Ram –  256MB+
    • Recommended: Mac OS 10.7+, CPU Speed – 2.5 GHz, Memory – 4GB+, Video Ram –  512MB+
    • Notice: The following integrated video chipsets are not supported – Intel GMA 950 and Intel GMA X3100. These are found in the Mac Mini(2006, 2007), iMac(2006), Macbook(2006, 2007, 2008), and Macbook Air(2008). The following video chipsets may require lower graphics setting and/or may run slower than anticipated in certain circumstances – ATI Radeon X1600, NVIDIA GeForce 7300 GT, NVIDIA GeForce 7600 GT. Experiment with the settings screen to find the best quality/speed balance for your individual system.


  • Jake Leveto – Programming , Course Design
  • Riley Hearn – 3D Modeling
  • Joseph Krzemienski – Creative Director
  • Paul Corvaisier – Music

19 thoughts on “Nova Golf Guide

  1. On shorter putts, I can easily see the slope of the green.

    However, on longer putts, I can only see the slope near the ball. How do I see the slope around the pin?

    1. Hi Bill, In your profile level up the Putting skill, that will increase the area that shows slope. Also press the View button or X key (Mac) to get a different view of the green. Good luck!

  2. Very frustrating that the game restores players after I delete them. Now that I have a better understanding how to play the game, I tried to delete the two profiles that I have. They are gone, I create a new one, spend some time setting it and developing it, and then when I re-open the game the new player is gone and the old players are back. Also frustrating that I used my point to buy clubs and then lose the points and don’t have the clubs. Totally takes the wind out of the game

    1. Hi Brian, I apologize for the sync issues. While they original worked something in Apples iCloud sync code is no longer compatible with Nova Golf, and it appears it sometimes incorrectly restores old/out of date profiles. For now I would turn off iCloud Sync in the Settings screen. I hope to have this fixed for the next update, though I don’t know when that will be.

      1. Any thoughts on what would happen if I were to delete the program and re-install it? Not sure if it would try to make me pay again.

        1. It definitely won’t charge you for the game or any non-consumable in-app purchases. Since the preferences are stored elsewhere on the computer I don’t think deleting and reinstalling will do anything though, did you have any luck turning off iCloud Sync like mentioned before?

          1. I didn’t have any luck with that. It says it’s pulling in a back up from May 4 but I am not currently storing any games on iCloud. The game asks me if I want to install the old data and I tell it “no” but eventually it seems like it pulls in the data on its own. I am also not sure if I can delete the iCloud file. I’m guessing I can’t though. All in all it’s just disappointing because I can’t really advance the game. I play an event, increase the player’s skill, and then it resets the skills. The tournament record stays though. Anyway, I do appreciate your thoughts on all this.

          2. Hi Brian, If you’d like to reinstall and try from scratch here are the instructions –

            1. Delete Nova Golf
            2. Open Terminal (in applications/utilities) and paste this command and press enter
            rm -r ~/Library/Containers/com.nuclearnova.mac.novagolf
            3. Download and open Nova Golf, immediately turn off the iCloud syncing preference

            If that doesn’t work I’m stumped, I couldn’t get it to override my settings on my computer so something must be different with our computer configurations. Sorry for the issues,

  3. I think that worked! So far my old profiles haven’t appeared for a day or two. If something changes I’ll let you know but I think we are set. I appreciate you help.

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