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Barbasol Championship harnessing the power of social media and Pokemon

Barbasol Championship: is this the first major sporting event to let attendees play Pokemon GO?

With a large part of the golf world focused on The Open Championship, taking place across the Pond, the Barbasol Championship, the PGA Tour event that is opposite The Open Championship and taking place in Opelika, Alabama at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail Grand National Course this week is getting attention for its clever use of social media.

"Social media, I would say it's now a year round process," admits Amy Goodrich, Public Relations Coordinator for the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail and Collection. "We started right after last year's event, evaluating what worked and what didn't work. About six month out, we started looking at volunteers and putting a plan in place."

A plan that not only includes use of Facebook and Twitter, but also Snapchat.

"We have some pretty amazing graphic designers and we have created a SnapChat Geo Filter for the week," explains Goodrich. "We are encouraging fans that are on SnapChat to use the filter when they come out. We have the "Hush Y'all" paddles as our Geo Filter."

Snapchat is growing in popularity, but it's yesterday's news compared to Pokemon GO. Haven't heard of Pokemon GO? Just in the last seven days, the augmented reality game, where players walk around real-life neighborhoods to hunt down virtual cartoon characters on their smartphone screens, had more than 65 million users in the United States, is the most downloaded app in the App Store and it could be the next big marketing tool for events, organizations and retailers.

Goodrich, she received a quick lesson in Pokemon GO, as the tournament week started.

"As recently as yesterday, I was learning about PokemonGo. I had one of the news reporters explain it to me and we apparently have a lot of Pokemon out on the course. It took a few minutes to set up once he explained it to me- we took a picture of one of the Pokemon and put it up." With play wrapping up each afternoon in Scotland, attention will turn to the Barbasol Championship, now in its second year. They also are getting their fair share of attention from a great social media team. Social media has been huge for both sports fans and events.

"Our phone buzzes constantly," adds Goodrich. "It's fun to see everyone tweeting and posting about what is going on at the tournament. It's helps build excitement and see what other people's perspective of the tournament is this week.":

I guess it's safe to say that one won't find Pokemon or Pokemon GO players at Royal Troon GC in Scotland this week, but they will be spotted in Alabama at the Barbasol. Besides great BBQ and Southern hospitality add that to list of what you will find in Alabama this week. There is also some great golf being played in Opelika to go along with all the social media fun.

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