Corner of Woe: Luigi's bogey animation in World Tour. If he double bogeys or worse, Boos take advantage of the unexpected darkness.
Defeat Means Playable: The Get Character Mode in the N64 version. Also how you unlock the champ characters in the handheld versions.
Defeating a character in a Match Game challenge in World Tour unlocks the Star Player version of that character, who is identical apart from a much harder AI.
Dummied Out: The Virtual Console ports currently have no means of connecting the GBC and N64 games, thus the functions relating to the connection aren't accessible.
Dump Stat: Spin in the GBA handheld version. If you are planning to transfer your characters to the GameCube version however, it is preferable to put at least some points in Spin, but it is still the stat that decays the least out of all the stats in the game, meaning that you can ignore it to an extent and still end up with a decent spin if you level up correctly.
Game-Favored Gender: Toadstool Tour and Advance Tour favors a different gender each when it comes to character customizing, between Neil (male) and Ella (female). Ella in Advance Tour has a drive that naturally decays into a low height while Neil's "decays" into a high one. As the latter stages have very high wind, and obstacles never really get taller (Very much so if the characters are not transferred to Toadstool Tour), Neil is at a heavy disadvantage despite his slight power advantage. You can work around the wind, but it's still more effort than Ella has to make. However, Ella's low shot, while great in the GBA version, becomes a liability when imported into the Gamecube version with its 3D environments. With a very low shot, it is sometimes impossible to hit the ball up cliffs onto fairways above. This means that Neil gets the advantage in Toadstool Tour with his naturally high shot and powerful distance as he can take some really good shortcuts on top of it. Extra points if your Drive and Impact/Control are high enough to turn him into a Lightning Bruiser. You can work around the terrain sometimes, but it's still more effort than Neil has to make.
Go Karting with Bowser: Exemplified in World Tour, where Peach and Bowser can be found sitting side by side in the VIP room.
Large Ham: In World Tour when Bowser gets an eagle, he grabs the camera and breathes flames at it.
Rosalina through and through. Scoring a birdie will prompt her to flash herself into space for a cosmic fireworks display, while shooting over par will make her swoon dramatically.
Lightning Bruiser: You have enough level up points (and distance boosting drinks) to make your character into one of these, completely overshadowing the other golfers, including Bowser, Metal Mario, and Petey.
Mario Characters Can Breathe Underwater: A rather ridiculous example in World Tour, which feature underwater courses. The characters simply play through them as normal with no breathing apparatuses or anything. Lampshaded by bubbles issuing forth from their mouths whenever onscreen.
Diddy's eagle animation in World Tour involves him taking off with his jetpack, except he overshoots it and finds himself in planetary orbit. His reaction is more confusion than panic.
Somewhat possible in the sequel, if multiple Advance Tour saves are loaded to Toadstool Tour, and stats are similar.
Mundane Made Awesome: As a result of letting Motoi Sakuraba (best known for battle themes making heavy use of electric guitar) compose for a golf game, the music is very peppy for a golf game. Combined with the standard casual ignorance of the laws of physics of a Mario title and the announcer, golf has never been so epic.
The "One-Stroke, One-Putt" challenge in Castle Club, required to unlock Sky Island in World Tour. You must complete 9 holes with heavily random winds, using a maximum of two strokes each. This would be tricky enough - but the first stroke MUST reach the green, and the second stroke MUST be a sinking putt. Even ending on the fringe on the first stroke is deemed a failure, and - regardless of the cause - failure in general means starting over from the first hole. Combine this with a lengthy sequence of text, saving, loading screens and animations before getting to try again, as well as the fact that since this challenge unlocks the course this takes place on, you cannot practice individual holes that give you trouble, all in all makes for a brutal, patience testing experience if you want to unlock every course for general play.
The fourth putting challenge in Castle Club requires the player to sink seven out of ten putts that, unlike the above challenge, are randomly generated. It's already more demanding than the other putting challenges, which reward close approaches as well, but most of them are over fifty feet long and involve multiple significant slopes on the green. And also unlike the above challenge, this one does not allow you to use any mulligans from Kamek.
No Stat Atrophy: Averted in the GBC and GBA games, where not leveling a stat will make it fall.
One Game for the Price of Two: Both the GBC and the GBA versions allows you to transfer your Story Mode characters to the N64 and GC versions respectively. The GC version also get the GBA version's stat boosting clubs while the GBA version nets you more Star Courses and 4 Secret Characters: Luigi, Waluigi, Wario, and Bowser.
Original Generation: The N64, GBC, and GBA versions have this type of characters to serve as opponents, helpful advisors, playable Story Mode characters, and to provide a larger selection of awailable golfers in the N64 version. Some of the N64 golfers actually went on to become minor Ensemble Darkhorses which made their abscence from the GC version a little sad for some N64 Mario Golf veterans.
Palette Swap: Neil and Ella if multiple Advance Tour saves are loaded onto a Toadstool Tour game.
Rainbow Pimp Gear: Averted in World Tour, where numerous pieces of gear in each category share the same stats. After unlocking enough, you're almost certain to be able to get the exact stats you want and look coordinated doing it.
Rare Candy: Hunting these down is one of the main purposes in the overworld for the portable games.
RPG Elements: The first two handheld games (World Tour on 3DS instead plays more like Toadstool Tour).
Rubber Band AI: Very blatant in the doubles tournaments in Advance Tour. Your partner is insanely gifted if you are in a sandtrap, but an idiot if you are looking to come out well above par.
Secret Character: The N64 version was notable for having semi-secret characters (including, among others, Luigi and Mario) not be awailable in the 1-P Mode unless you defeated them in Get Character Mode. It also had true Secret Characters in Maple, Donkey Kong, Bowser, and Metal Mario. The handheld versions included the champion characters and some prominent Mario series characters (Luigi in the GBA version, Waluigi in the GBA version, Wario in both handhelds, and Bowser in the GBA version).
Connecting the GBC or GBA versions of Mario Golf to the N64 version for the former and the GBA version for the latter also adds four human characters to the N64 version, and the two human characters (male and female) to the GBA version: the characters that you go through the respective games' Story Mode with. As there is no current way of replacing the Transfer Pack method, you cannot unlock those characters in the VC version of the N64 game. Partially justified in that these characters stats depended on how you had leveled them up in the GBC versions. The GC version lets you add up to four versions of both the male and female character though, they will be differentiated through Palette Swaps.
Shout-Out: Bowser grabbing the camera after getting a birdie could be a reference to Happy Gilmore where the eponymous character does this after a successful putt.
Shown Their Work: World Tour has a lot of references to previous Mario games, more than you would think at a glance. Wario's animation when you start a game for instance has him perform his shoulder dash attack from Wario Land as he rushes to golf.
DK Jungle is a tremendous love letter to Donkey Kong Country fans. It features a lot of elements from Donkey Kong Country Returns such as Screaming Statues, Chomps and Barrel Cannons. Not only that, but TNT Barrels are on certain holes, which explode if your ball touches them. These hail from the original trilogy instead of Returns.
For such a "casual" golf game, it contains a LOT of correctly-used golf parlance, and a very in-depth glossary to go with it.
Sore Loser: Every character in Toadstool Tour, if they get a bogey or a double bogey.
Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Wario and Waluigi's antics (and failures) are what's most focused on in the opening of Toadstool Tour.
The Unfought: Many characters will show up in tournament results lists that will never be seen otherwise. Your "rivals" in Advance Tour are a prominent example.
Most of the names in the lists are an Easter Egg to other Nintendo franchises, such as Link and Fox.
The Unintelligible: Adding an odd twist to the Heroic Mime archetype, the Castle Club in World Tour allows you to talk to Yoshi and DK normally (though using parentheses), while a Toad has to interpret for Mario and Luigi.
Unskilled, but Strong: Notable ones in the N64 version include Harry, Mario, Donkey Kong, Wario, Bowser and Metal Mario. In the GC version, the notable ones were Daisy, Shadow Mario, Mario, Donkey Kong, Bowser, and Petey Piranha. For the 3DS version, it's Mario, Daisy, Donkey Kong, Bowser, Kamek, Birdo, Nabbit and Rosalina. They tend to have long drives but a more extreme shot path, and low impact and control. Spin was usually on the high end though. Also, Star Characters in the GC/GBA versions are Unskilled, but Strong versions of Normal Characters that could be unlocked, trading impact for drive. They have the advantage on long Par 4 holes and Par 5 holes. The AI versions kind of subverted it a bit, despite their hard to control drives with pronounced draws and fades, they know how to work with them, get out of trouble areas, and seem to have gotten putting lessons from Phil Mickelson.
Virtual Paper Doll: All of the handheld games have you customize your own character. World Tour's Castle Club takes this further by using Miis and allowing you to unlock outfit pieces for them.
Weak, but Skilled: Notable ones in the N64 version include Plum, Charlie, Peach, Baby Mario, and Luigi. The GC version ones were Koopa, Peach, and Luigi. The 3DS version has Luigi, Peach, Paratroopa, Toad and Toadette. They have a short drive, but a not-so-extreme shot path, and they have good impact and control. Spin were usually on the weak side though. Also, Normal Characters in the GC/GBA versions is this when compared to their starred versions, trading drive for impact. They have the advantage on short Par 4 holes and Par 3 holes.
What Measure Is a Mook?: When Mario gets an eagle in World Tour, he grabs a Starman and runs through several typical series enemies, presumably killing them on contact. Particularly dissonant in that two of the enemies, Koopa Troopa and Paratroopa, have been playable characters in the Mario Golf series.