New European Tour event to trickle down into 32 different clubs this summer
By ECG Newsdesk
Following its successful launch on the European Tour, the innovative GolfSixes concept is now being rolled out into golf clubs around the country, with 32 English clubs having signed up to pilot GolfSixes Academy events this summer.
Using the same branding employed by the European Tour event, the GolfSixes Academy courses will see promising new young golfers will represent their golf clubs in a league against other local clubs while kitted out in team shirts. All of the clubs involved operate the Golf Foundation’s successful HSBC Golf Roots programme that helps young people to ‘Start, Learn and Stay’ in golf.
The Golf Foundation was delighted to receive funding from Sport England to test out this new team format over fewer holes as a means of encouraging more young people to ‘Stay’ in the sport.
Frederik Lindgren, Head of Corporate Responsibility at the European Tour, said: “One of the main aims of the new GolfSixes concept is to attract more people to the sport, whether that is taking up the game themselves or as spectators.
“Through our existing relationship with the Golf Foundation, together we identified the GolfSixes Academy concept as a great way of bringing the GolfSixes format directly to young people in clubs across England, the host country of the first ever event, allowing the benefits of the format to extend beyond the opening weekend at the Centurion Club.”
Brendon Pyle, chief executive of the Golf Foundation, said: “The aim of the Golf Sixes Academy is to encourage more young people, supported by their parents, to enjoy the fun and competitive team atmosphere of golf, similar to other team sports such as football or netball, so that they want to play golf on a more regular basis.
“GolfSixes, with its team formats and kit, Texas scramble shotmaking for the kids and the family involvement, will be a great addition to our support for clubs and we are hugely grateful to the European Tour for allowing us to embrace the GolfSixes brand in this way.”
The inaugural GolfSixes took place at the Centurion Club in St Albans and saw Danish duo ThorbjornOlesen and Lucas Bjerregaard join forces to take the title at the expense of Australians Scott Hend and Sam Brazel.
In a break from the typical diet of 72-hole strokeplay events, it comprised a series of six-hole match-ups, with teams of two doing battle in a greensomes format. A round-robin qualifying stage was followed by a straight knock-out until one team – Denmark – was left standing.
Entrance music, pyrotechnics, a shot clock and a sprinkling of celebrity gave the event a whole new feel and those who played were almost unanimous in their praise of the new concept, including England’s Andy Sullivan.
“This can really be something big in the future for golf,” said Sullivan, who partnered Ryder Cup teammate Chris Wood in the event. “You won’t get away from the traditional 72-hole tournament but I think a few more events like this could really transform golf.”