The European Tour and chief executive Keith Pelley have not been shy in trying new things, and they’re about to embark on yet another new concept this week in England.
The idea is called GolfSixes, and it’s a two-day event that will be played on a modified course at the Centurion Club a St. Albans. The idea brings together 16 two-man, country-based teams into four groups of four. On Day 1 is group play, with the teams squaring off in round-robin play in six-hole matches on specially created holes in a modified alternate shot format which promotes aggression off the tee. The team to win the most holes out of six wins the match, and they earn 3 points for the victory. The two teams in each group with the most points will move on to a knockout stage on Day 2 until a winner is decided.
There’s more to it than a unique format. GolfSixes will feature players with walk-up music and pyrotechnics. There’s a long-drive contest on one hole, a shot clock on another and a closest to the pin contest on another still. These are some sideshow components that a lot of fans can probably take or leave, but it is all designed to create an atmosphere that is distinctly different than the standard-issue 72-hole tournament we see most every week of the year.
The 32 participants seem to appreciate the different look.
“It’s an innovative way to get young kids to play, bring it out of the old age a bit and into the new age,” said Andy Sullivan of England, the favored team to win. “It’s based around being more fun, more relaxed, but still being competitive.”
The question is if this proof of concept, which follows on the successful six-hole match play in the World Super 6 Perth earlier in the year, can become a full-blown European Tour event next year and beyond.