Only the very few (or the very lucky) ever get the chance to tour Augusta National golf course ... until now.
As part of the promotion of its "Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12: The Masters" video game, EA Sports is giving away free digital access to all 18 holes of the course, which hosts the celebrated golf tournament, via a Facebook app. The "Course View" app uses Google Street View functionality to allow a complete, shot-by-shot, hole-by-hole walk of the course -- which, for the first time ever, is also playable in the game.
"The strategic set-up for us is, it's your first time ever to play The Masters," Mike McGarry, an account director at Heat, the San Francisco agency behind the campaign, tells Marketing Daily. "Anyone that's picked up a golf club has wanted to be a part of that. This was a way to give them the best taste of it that we could without them actually playing [the game]."
The branded app, which is embeddable into any blog and links to direct game sales for EA, marks the first time the course has been "tourable" by the American public (except for those lucky enough to be a tournament or Practice Rounds spectator) in any form, virtual or real. According to McGarry, the ability to explore Augusta National was the number one request feature by "Tiger Woods PGA Tour game players.
"Augusta National is probably the most exclusive golf club in the world," McGarry says. "As a golf fan, 99.9% have been unable to set foot on the course, so the game is going to be their only access point outside of the [television] broadcast of the Masters."
To drive traffic to the app, Heat created banner advertising that will run on golfing and sports web sites such as ESPN.com, SI.com, PGA.com, PGAtour.com and others, as well as on the game's Facebook page. While there are no plans to make the walkthrough part of the official coverage of the Masters (which takes place April 7-10), the hope is the app will pick up more steam as coverage of the tournament becomes more prominent in the sports news cycle, McGarry says.