Making a course like Hyrule Field was the goal
Mario Golf: Super Rush was a few steps back in many regards, but the development team shared a few little nuggets that did help shed some light on several advancements thanks to the Japanese publication Nintendo Dream.
As translated by Nintendo Everything, the Camelot producer (Hiroyuki Takahashi) and director (Shugo Takahashi) team took notes from the folks who made Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The latter notes that the game has “huge courses,” which came about by brainstorming through how the “Speed Golf” mode (in which you run through each course) would actually work.
Rather than make each hole load like a level, the team decided to go all out this time and craft a map similar to Zelda: Breath of the Wild‘s Hyrule Field. In short, the Zelda team collaborated directly with Camelot to make this happen. Shugo Takahashi says that he “always wanted to do this,” even dating as far back as the original game, but the “technology at the time…never allowed for it.”
Here’s the full rundown of what they wanted to achieve with this collaboration: “We only show it in a small part of the game, but we really wanted to make a game where you hit the ball anywhere on the vast courses. A game where if you hit the ball as far as the next hole, you’d have to go and hit it all the way back. A map the size of Hyrule Field was our goal, and the Zelda team at Nintendo shared ideas with us as to how we could get there.”
On paper, Speed Golf is one of the more interesting elements of this iteration, so I think they did the right thing focusing on it. I just hope the next version is able to balance the old and new sensibilities of Mario Golf.