Mario Golf: World Tour is a Mario-themed, arcade style golf game, and the first hand held game in the Mario Golf series since Mario Golf: Advance Tour for Game Boy Advance. The player hits the ball by aiming on an overheard map, and trying to time their power and shot accuracy. While easy to pick up and start playing, special techniques like limited power shots, the ability to use back and top spin, and the ability to curve shots around obstacles allow many different strategies. There are two main modes of play: Castle Club and Mario Golf.
Castle Club mode is similar to the story mode from previous Mario Golf hand held games. In this mode, the players guides their Mii through different tournaments and challenges. As the players progresse, they earn coins, which can be used to purchase better golfing equipment.
Mario Golf mode allows the player to play as different characters from the Mario universe, and compete in a variety of golf games and challenges, including stroke play, match play, and mini games that take place on courses. The mini game challenges require the player to complete certain tasks, such as hitting the ball through rings and then hitting the ball into the hole while still meeting par, or completing a course with 3 randomly selected clubs.
An online mode allows play against other players in tournaments and match play. Local multiplayer with up to four people is also available.