Augusta National returns to video games in new EA Sports PGA Tour

Augusta National returns to video games in new EA Sports PGA Tour

By: Jack Hirsh January 19, 2023

Jordan Spieth on the 12th hole at Augusta National in EA Sports PGA Tour.

EA Sports

One of gaming’s most legendary courses is back in the virtual world for the first time in a decade.

And it looks better than ever.

EA Sports, the creators of the popular Tiger Woods PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy video game series, last released in 2015, announced on Thursday that it is relaunching the iconic video game as EA Sports PGA Tour – and with it comes Augusta National’s return to video games as part of the EA Sports PGA Tour’s 30-course roster.

The game also includes a “Road to the Masters” career mode. EA Sports PGA Tour will be the only golf video game to feature all four major men’s championships, as well as the Amundi Evian LPGA Championship. Augusta National and EA Sports have announced the renewal of the partnership ahead of the 2021 Masters.

Tiger Woods or the Masters? Two New Golf Video Games Give Consumers Choice By: Jack Hirsh attended a media preview for the game last week, where the developers said the time had come for the company to bring the series back due to the big boom in interest in golf thanks to the pandemic. Advances in the game’s Frostbite graphics engine also allowed the creators to create, in their own words, “the most spectacular golf game of all time.” (EA Sports also plans to relaunch its hugely popular college football game in the summer of 2024.)

The team focused on four pillars when creating the game:

1. The exclusive home of the majors EA Sports PGA Tour standard (L) and deluxe edition covers. EA Sports

EA developers have said this is by far the most requested feature for a golf video game. Augusta National debuted in Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12 (2011) and was a staple for the remaining two editions of the game. He was not featured in the 2015 reboot, Rory McIlroy PGA Tour.

There will be unique presentation packages for each major, including an introduction for The Open Championship narrated by Nick Faldo.

EA Sports’ agreements with golf’s governing bodies go beyond the majors. For the first time, the US Amateur, Augusta National Women’s Amateur, and other high profile amateur events will be featured in-game.

2. Extensive and Varied Course List

The game will launch with 30 courses around the world, ranging from classic video games like TPC Sawgrass and Pebble Beach to more exotic locations like Bandon Dunes in Oregon or Tara Iti in New Zealand.

Producer Ban Ramsour said the team went so far as to work with former geologists to map each course using LiDAR, photogrammetry (the science of extracting 3D information from photos ) and GPS mapping technology. Ground mapping and photography was carried out at each course, including the use of helicopters, planes and drones.

Augusta National gave EA access to its “tree health software”. EA Sports

Augusta National even gave EA access to its “tree health software” so the developers could precisely place every tree and flower on the course.

Ramsour said the data used for the courses was 30 times denser than anything publicly available for other games and simulators.

During the preview, the developers played a live demo of the game on Augusta National’s 13th hole to showcase the new game mechanics (more on that below) and course details.

Notably, the pair left the back tee last year. Recent aerial photographs from Augusta National showed a fresh start on the famous par-5. While Augusta National likely won’t make any announcements on the tee until closer to the tournament, when asked about the new tee, EA Sports Senior Producer David Baker said there may be updates. day later.

“The game team works with Augusta National and is continually striving to get the most up-to-date course playable in-game for the most authentic experience possible,” Baker told in an email. “This includes bunkers, fairways and tee boxes on all courses in the game, for example. The strong partnerships we have forged with each course have allowed us to replicate each course as accurately as possible. »

Danielle Kang at Pebble Beach. EA Sports

Here is the full list of courses included for the launch of the game:

-Augusta National
-St. Andrews (old course)
-Pebble beach
-The Country Club
– Southern Hills
-TPC Sawgrass
-Evian Resort
-East Lake
-Wilmington Country Club
-TPC Boston
-TPC South Wind
-Dog’s teeth
-TPC Scottsdale
-Tara Iti
– Whistling Strait
-The Ocean Course in Kiawah
-Bay of the Chambers
-Wolf Cove
-National Freedom
– Bay Hill
-Riviera Country Club
-PGA West
– Quail hollow
-Torrey Pines
-Banff Springs
-Top of the Rock
-Bandon dunes
-Port city

3. Pure Strike gameplay powered by ShotLink

For the first time in a video game, ShotLink and Trackman data is used to accurately recreate ball behavior on a wide variety of different courses. Instead of choosing between simple full shots, punches, chips, etc., the game introduces 20 different types of shots.

“What that means for you is that when you grab the controller and get behind the ball, your options are virtually limitless,” said gameplay designer Craig Penner. “Allowing you to attack every course and every hole like the pros you see on TV.”

To better replicate the bounces and rolls of the ball, the EA team actually reviewed video of PGA Tour events. They then took the ShotLink data to create precise launch conditions, carry distances and spin rates.

4. Tony Finau career mode at Pebble Beach. EA Sports

The Create a Player mode is back, but you will now have three options to start your career: play in amateur events, the Korn Ferry Tour or the PGA Tour.

In addition to majors, the game has allowed several PGA Tour events and all three FedEx Cup Playoff events.

To tell the story of your career, the game features hundreds of hours of commentary from Rich Lerner, Frank Nobilo, Notah Begay III, Iona Stephen, and Nick Faldo.

There will also be challenges between tournaments based on real-world events.

Along with playing as a created player, many top pros are included in the game. Some of the announced players are Scottie Scheffler, Nelly Korda, Tony Finau, Jordan Spieth, Danielle Kang, Patrick Cantlay, and Lexi Thompson. EA said more will be announced later and some will be released after launch.

Pre-orders for the game, available only on Playstation 5, Xbox Series X | S and PC, start Thursday while the launch date is set for March 24. The standard edition will cost $69.99, while the digital deluxe edition costs $84.99.

Jack Hirsh Editor-in-Chief

Jack Hirsh is Associate Editor at GOLF. A Pennsylvania native, Jack graduated in 2020 from Penn State University and earned degrees in broadcast journalism and political science. He was captain of his high school golf team and still tries to stay competitive among local amateurs. Prior to joining GOLF, Jack spent two years working at a TV station in Bend, Oregon, primarily as a media reporter/reporter, but also producing, anchoring and even presenting weather. He can be contacted at [email protected]

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