Fans will be able to play a hole at Oakdale Golf and Country Club when it hosts the RBC Canadian Open next week.
The unique spectator experience is possible because the club in Toronto’s northwest corner has 27 holes on its property, but the PGA Tour event needs just 18 of them.
“It’s going to be a legit 150-yard plus par-3, that you get to play like a real hole,” said Aubrey Levy, senior vice-president of marketing and content for theScore, which is sponsoring the hole through its betting service. “It’s not just come up and take a swing at a simulator or range. You play an entire hole.”
Stations will be set up around Oakdale during the Canadian Open where fans can sign up for a time slot at the so-called Hole Zero. Golf carts will pick them up at the station and take them to the extra hole.
“We’re going to have coaching on site for you, we’re going to have a caddy, we’re going to kit you out with a locker room,” said Levy. “The hope is to make you feel like a pro for a 20-minute block, whether you play like a pro or not.”
This is the first time that fans will be able to play at a PGA Tour event, albeit on an extra 19th hole, according to theScore Bet.
At last year’s Canadian Open theScore Bet sponsored Skyline seats, a dining table that was raised 100 feet into the air by a crane, allowing for a view of St. George’s Golf and Country Club and Toronto’s downtown core.
Levy said that the goal with Hole Zero was to create almost an opposite experience to the Skyline seats.
“We thought ‘OK, if (Skyline) was well received, creating a unique vantage point, then what can we do to bring them even closer to the action?”’ said Levy. “That led to the thought of actually taking them on the course and giving them the opportunity to play a hole during an actual event, like the Canadian Open.”
The RBC Canadian Open starts June 8 and stretches to June 11. The week includes concerts by the Black Eyed Peas and Alanis Morissette on Friday and Saturday, respectively.