Your Race to Dubai, our groundbreaking fan game began last week at BMW PGA Championship, the flagship event of The European Tour. It’s a game which brings a whole new meaning to the gamification in golf – or nearly any sport. In Your Race to Dubai you have a chance to take on the brightest stars on the European Tour. Like in all fantasy games, the matches and ranking system are virtual, but the action is real: you have to play a real round of golf to compete against a pro playing in The European Tour tournament the same week.
Challenging a professional golfer is not a piece of divot. Not even if you get to play with your handicap – and additional HCP Boost – at your home course against a pro playing from scratch at an extremely challenging championship course.
But you surely have your chance. You just need a strategy. Here’s your guide to maximize your chances of winning.
4 levels to better your chances in Your Race to Dubai:
- Level 1: Selecting your opponent
- Level 2: The role of timing
- Level 3: Where to take risk and where to play safe
- Level 4: Learning from the stats
Each one of these levels above will better your chances of succeeding in the game. If you go through them all on a weekly basis, you are most likely to get your reward at some point, and possibly succeed in Your Race to Dubai ranking too.
Let’s dive a bit deeper.
Level 1: Selecting your opponent
Each week, there will be ten pros to be challenged. Top five ranked (according to European Tour’s Race to Dubai ranking) pros in the field are always there to be taken on, and five others, often including some home crowd favorites, will be picked up by GameBook and The European Tour. You can select any pro you want, but there’s a nice betting element in selecting your opponent(s): if the pro you challenged and won or tied with, finishes in the top 10 at the European Tour tournament, your points are multiplied (by 3 if he wins, by 2 if he finishes 2nd to 10th).
If you take on the biggest names, your chances, on average, are sligthly worse than when selecting a less accomplished opponent. But on the other hand, it might better your chances of getting your points multiplied and earning the maximum weekly points.
To put it shortly: if you are an all-in gamer, pick the name(s) you expect to finish high in the tournament. If you want to better your chances in winning the match, select a pro(s) who might have some trouble to score.
Level 2: The role of timing
It’s not insignificant when you play your match and against whom. The betting element of the game makes it favourable to challenge the pros who will succeed in the tournament to gain the highest points available each week. Spotting the right pros to taken on, is not that easy, but becomes much easier towards the end of the week, when you can see who’s in contention and who’s not.
In case you play only one Your Race to Dubai match during the week, it betters your chances to get higher points, if you can play your round on Friday or Saturday and pick a pro, who’s in contention after 18 or 36 holes.
But if you are planning to play more than one challenge round during the week, consider implementing the following strategy:
At first, pick a pro you think could be easier to beat and try to get those 100 000 ranking points earned by anyone who manages to win a pro. Then, six-figure number of points already in your pocket, try to spot the pros who might finish in the top 10 and start taking on them. If you manage to beat or tie with a top 10 pro, or even the tournament winner, your points are multiplied and you will get even higher score counting in the ranking.
Take notice that each week only one of your matches, the one with the highest points earned, will count in the Your Race to Dubai ranking. You have a chance to get the weekly maximum points (300,000) no matter whether you play 1, 2, 3 or 4 (max) matches a week. The more you play, the better are your chances to score high. But you can’t get any more points because of your activity.
Level 3: Where to take risk and where to play safe
The matter of fact that you and the pro play on different courses makes the course comparison irrelevant, but for the reason that the matchplay results are based on your scores in relation to par, comparing the scorecards of your courses makes more sense. There’s a certain pattern on how the pros score on different types of holes. By studying the scorecard of the tournament course before your round you can make a pretty good estimate on where you should attack and where play safe. The basic guidelines are as follows:
- When a pro plays a par 5 hole, your startegy is risk & reward. Aim for a net birdie. These are usually the easiest holes for pros.
- When a pro plays a long par 3 or a long par 4, your strategy is: play safe to guarantee a tie or take moderate and well-calculated risks when aiming to win the hole. These are the easiest holes for you to win. A net par might be good enough to steal a hole from your famous opponent.
- When a pro plays a hole with a moderate difficulty, just focus on your game and making the best possible score. These are the holes, where the outcome is pretty difficult to predict. A semi-safe strategy could work, at least on average.
Level 4: Learning from the stats
If you want to dive even deeper with your strategy, you can go to the European Tour’s website europeantour.com and study the hole averages and ranks recorded on the tournament site. Here’s an example –> choose the tab “Hole averages”.
If the pros are playing at the course for the first time on tour, there’s no records from the previous years. But quite often they are playing on the same venue than a year before, and you can take a look at the stats from the previous year.
When the hole stats are available, pay special attention to the hole ranks and to the amount of under par and over par scores. On some par 5 holes, pros make more birdies and eagles than pars and bogeys – and on those holes you should definitely take a risk and aim for a net birdie. On the contrary, if only a few birdies are made on a difficult hole, try to make a net par at the hole with the same number (your 4th hole against pro’s 4th hole, for example) and you might win the hole. Quite often even a net bogey is a good enough score to tie the hole with a pro.
You can also try to estimate, which one is more difficult, front nine or back nine at the tournament course. If the back nine seems to be easy for the pros, consider taking more risk on the front nine to get an upper hand before the pro is expected to score low. If it’s the other way round, try to hang on with the pro for the first nine holes and then pick up the apples on the back nine.
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After giving this preach it’s important to point out that it’s perfectly okay, occassionally even preferrable, to ignore all of this, forget the points and rankings, pick any pro you like and just enjoy the Your Race to Dubai concept and your rare chance to compete against the pros. The point of the game is to enable a nice additional feature which is now possible to execute with state-of-the-art technology and the pioneering cooperation with The European Tour. If Your Race to Dubai game manages to add a little more excitement to your round, it has proven its place in the digitalized world of golf, and makes us smile. Hopefully you too.
Enjoy the game and good luck with taking on the stars!
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