It's In The Game

Augusta National, Bandon Dunes (!) and Tara Iti (!!) highlight A+ course list in new EA Sports PGA Tour video game

Augusta National returning to the video game world is not new news, though that doesn't make it any less exciting. However, it's the other new courses in the soon-to-be released EA Sports PGA Tour video game that are sure to excite gamers even more, if that's possible.

Among the highlights recently announced during a virtual preview event: Bandon Dunes (!), Tara Iti (!!) and The Country Club at Brookline (!!!). In fact, the game will also feature the other two 2022 major venues: The Old Course at St. Andrews and Southern Hills. According to one of the game's producers, Ben Ramsour, being able to play in all four majors at their specific venues was by far the most requested feature for the game. 

There will be 30 "bucket list" courses at launch, allowing gamers to experience unrivaled access to the types of places they may otherwise never see in person. And they'll be able to experience them all in stunning detail. 

"The team worked with former geologists to map each course with cutting-edge lidar," Ramsour said. "They utilized helicopters, airplanes and drones. We also conducted on-ground mapping and photography at every course to capture the most minute slopes and features."

Other courses of note that players will be sure to enjoy include Riviera Country Club, home of the Genesis Invitational; Teeth of the Dog, a stunning Pete Dye design at the Casa de Campo Resort in the Dominican Republic; Chambers Bay, site of the wild 2015 U.S. Open; and Top of the Rock at Big Cedar Lodge, the first-ever par-3 course used in official competition in a PGA Tour-sanctioned event. 

Being the "home of the majors" and having some of the world's most exclusive courses are two of the game's four key pillars. The other two - Pure Strike Gameplay and Your Career, Your Way. Pure Strike Gameplay, which is powered by Shotlink, promises to create the best feeling, most authentic golf gameplay experience ever made. 

"Shotink and Trackman will ensure pinpoint accuracy for ball behavior on every shot," said Ramsour. "And we also tune course physics for every course." Ramsour adds that while the game will look and act ultra realistic, the core mechanics will still be approachable for first-timers, or for those who grew up on the "Tiger Woods" game on Playstation and Playstation 2. It will be easy to learn and fun, incorporating some of the classic mechanics from the EA golf games of old. One feature that will surely bring back feelings of nostalgia is the "big-shot moment" for when you connect with full power on a big drive. 

As for the career mode, players will have meaningful choices to build their career from the ground up. Choose to start as an amateur, which allows you to compete in events like the U.S. Amateur, the Latin-America Amateur, or even the Augusta National Women's Amateur. Work your way up, or, start on the Korn Ferry Tour or PGA Tour right away. 

Finally, gamers will be able to play as or against the pros, a list that includes Scottie Scheffler, Xander Schauffele, Patrick Cantlay, Tony Finau and Jordan Spieth. On the LPGA side, Nelly Korda, Danielle Kang and Lexi Thompson will be in the game, among others. There will be multiplayer mode for players who want to hang on the couch and duel with Scheffler and Spieth, or you can play online with up to 16 people at the same time. 

EA Sports PGA Tour will be released on March 24, two weeks before the Masters. You can pre-order the game beginning on January 19, which will allow you three-day-early access to the game and access to an online tournament at Augusta National. By the summer time, the game's producers also estimate that they'll have the other three 2023 major venues (Oak Hill, L.A. Country Club, Royal Liverpool) in the game, as well as Marco Simone Golf and Country Club, site of the 2023 Ryder Cup.

The official gameplay trailer, which dropped Thursday, can be viewed below: