A shortened version of the typical 9-hole game has recently been introduced over in England as a means of apparently marketing the sport to a broader audience.
According to BBC Sport, Golf Sixes made its debut at St. Albans’ Centurions Club in early May, taking its inspiration -and many of its ideas- from the likes of Twenty20 cricket and Rugby Sevens, the latter of which was introduced as an Olympic Sport for the first time at last year’s Rio Games.
A Chance to Win new Fans
The idea, so says the BBC’s golf correspondent Iain Carter, is win back old fans and introduce many more new ones who were originally put off by the fact that the standard game takes a long time to play, and seemingly even longer to watch.
The article concludes that this is exactly what the sport needs right now, but is it really?
It’s a question that is certainly up for debate among some purists.
On the one hand, yes, anything that introduces more people to the sport can only be a good thing, especially with the potential to use Golf Sixes as something of a gateway to longer-form games.
That said, there are those who would argue that the suggestion that golf is currently suffering from some sort of image crisis is more than a little misguided.
Look no further than the world of sports betting.
Odds on Success
In an age where everything is online, today’s online sports betting sites are using a wealth of tactics to attract new customers. This is particularly true back in England, where Golf Sixes has been introduced.
There exists a wealth of free bets offers UK fans can use to wager on just about any sport imaginable, but increasing numbers of them are doing so to bet on the Masters and the ongoing European Tour.
Elsewhere, for those interesting in enjoying the game without much of a vested financial interest, events at St. Andrews, Muirfield, and Hoylake remain popular.
Then again, maybe the sport is in dire need of an image make-over.
Falling TV Audience Numbers
Last summer, it was reported that viewing figures for The Open plummeted by as much as 75%.
In Europe, this can at least be partially attributed to the event’s move from the free-to-view, license fee funded BBC, to the premium subscription service, Sky Sports. This is evidenced by the fact that BBc’s highlight show of the same event drew higher viewing figures than Sky’s actual live coverage.
Still, if a reduction in viewing figures is likely to be the norm from now on, then there’s undoubtedly a case to be made for Golf Sixes.
The game works by using a shot clock that gave each player forty seconds to take their shots. The time was then cut to 30 seconds for the second day knockout rounds.
The idea, according to Iain Carter, is that by doing so, fans and players alike can skip right to the engrossing shots “down the stretch,” eliminating all the long, drawn out early shots and getting right down into the exhilarating parts of the game.
With only one Golf Sixes competition in the record books, it is too early to tell whether this fast-paced form of the game is exactly what golf needs to revitalise itself, if indeed it needs to revitalise itself at all.
Yesterday I had my regular Wednesday league, 9-holes. I played fairly solid up until I got in a bunker on the 6th and ended up turning that into a double-bogey 5. Score wrecker. The sand at Bonneville is very strange. It’s very light but also very large grains.
The front nine of 2:50 (lame yes) ended at 7:20pm. I headed to the back nine with my push cart knowing sunset is 8:30. I thought I’d play a few holes until sunset and bail. On the 13th tee the thought of finishing the whole 18 started to make sense, so I decided to jog some holes. Admittedly, I’m not in the best of shape. I could stand to dump a few extra LB’s and the most exercise I’ve gotten in the last 10 months is clicking a mouse button. I jogged three holes.
Par-3 15th at Bonneville – 230 yards
I actually played very solid golf on the back at a hurried pace, all by myself. My first bogey on the back was the 460 yard par-4 18th. But before I got there I did some practice bunker shots on the par-3 17th which has a bunker I’ve yet to get out of his year. Same weird large-grained poofy sand. I tried numerous clubs and techniques from blasting an open 56 or 60 to squaring up a 52 and chopping down. Either I would blade the shots because the club bounces so easily, or I’d poof completely under the ball and advance it two feet into the bunker face, where it would bury. After about 20 different attempts I tried a completely unorthodox theory.
I took my pitching wedge and squared up the blade. I put my feet close together like I was going to hit a simple pitch or chip. I did a small chip swing and voila, ball goes out of bunker onto green. I tried it again and got out again. Tried it a 3rd time and put it close to the flag. On the 4th time I made a video (very poor quality, sorry about that). By this time it was past sunset and quite dark.
I was very sore and dehydrated today after walking 18 on a very hilly course, and deciding to jog three holes in a row. But playing that back nine alone with the whole course to myself was quite a zen moment; the best time I’ve had playing this year.
Even with a stop to practice bunker shots I played the back nine in 1:20. That kind of golf I can get into. 5-6 hour rounds not so much.
Last fall and this spring here in northern Utah has been the perfect environment for testing out top-of-the-line wind/rain apparel. I’ve been using my Galvin Green Bart Jacket and absolutely loving it. This jacket is tremendous. Let’s take a look.
Galvin Green is one of the world’s best in terms of outerwear and weather resistant fabrics. The Bart jacket is a prime example. This stretchable, breathable Gore-Tex jacket is completely wind proof. Windchill is eliminated. Do you hear that my friends in Scotland? The key is the “windstopper membrane” which is a protective layer laminated to another light textile layer. The membrane is made of the versatile polymer polytetrafluorethylene (PTFE). The PTFE is expanded to create a “microporous structure.” This sounds like Klingon, but in English it means a breathable material which protects against wind and moisture but allows the wearer’s body to breathe and stay comfortable.
The user benefits from the jacket’s “thermoregulatory function,” which keeps regulates the body temperature for optimal performance.
The fit is tapered in the sleeves and aided by flexible material, as well as a draw string in the waist area to keep the wind and weather out.
I’ve been enjoying how great this jacket feels and performs (not to mention the fantastic looks), not knowing how incredible the technology that makes it happen really is. Researching this jacket has matched the high expectations from Galvin Greena; confirmation in what I already knew, Galvin Green rules.
Here I am enjoying my jacket’s thermoregulatory function, provided by the expanded microporous structure of the polymer polytetrafluorethylene…
Colors include: steel white/gray/borolo red, navy/blue/white, black/deep ocean(blue)/white, iron grey/black/white (pictured in this article), black/iron grey/apple (light green).
Sizes: sizes run from small to XXXL.
I dislike high maintenance golf apparel. I need to be able to throw a garment in the washer and dryer and expect no wrinkles, shrinkage, or fading. No problem here. The Windstopper is cleaned with washer and dryer, and can even be ironed! I’m curious about their recommendation to keep the piece away from fire. Those who like to burn their golf apparel may want to stay away from this one.
The Windstopper ($275) is my current go-to jacket for wind and rain. On the course the Windstopper lets me swing free with no restrictions. It’s also the go-to at the office, where I sit right below an air conditioning vent. I wish I’d hat this beauty for that last trip to Scotland. It’s looking like Ireland and Scotland are coming up and the Bart Windstopper will be definitely making the trips.
This project is one of love and learning. The challenge for me was to learn some programming techniques and libraries. During that process it became apparent that I could use those techniques to port my Utah Golf Guru site and it’s data to an app.
Utah Golf Courses App
The Utah Golf Courses app is simply a listing of every course in the state of Utah. Each course features a photo, most taken by me and some via drone. There is some great, detailed information about each course such as yardage, par, slope, rating, range ball quality, amenities, and even what types of grass the fairways and greens are. I even include some playing tips and opinions on courses. Some make the grade and some don’t.
Utah Golf Courses mobile app
To find courses one can use a standard search, or use the search filters to fine tune the type of course (public, private, military, resort), and geographic location.
It’s not perfect and I’m sure to make some improvements and tweaks. But I wanted to have all the Utah courses and phone numbers in one place on my phone. Now I have it.
Because of the skills I’ve learned through the process of making Utah Golf Courses, I now know I have the ability to make a HOG app for iOS and Android. I’ve begun work on that. I’m stoked to be able to deliver this blog and the massive amount of content here directly to mobile platforms.
Coming out of golf hibernation this spring has been hard. Having not touched a club for 4+ months put some serious rust on the game. The first round I played was the best of the short season to date, and scores have been progressively getting worse.
Today I tweaked my back somewhere between getting out of the car in the parking lot of the course and the first tee. I’ve been rubbing the lower back vigorously in the shower with soapy (thus slippery) hands to work the knots and inflammation. On the course I tried the same thing but didn’t have soapy hands and did it on top of my golf shirt. In a few seconds I’d done it so hard I took a half-inch wide chunk of flesh off my knuckle. So then I had back pain and a nasty flesh wound on my knuckle. Golf is tough.
On the range before the round a swing thought came into my head from out of the sky once told me by an old golf buddy who moved away years ago, “narrow your stance.” I tend to have a wide stance and it might creep wider and wider. I’ve been quite inaccurate with the irons this year, and hitting lots of fat shots and even 3 shanks. I’ve gone years without one shank. I narrowed the stance on the range and nuked a 4-iron almost to the end of the range.
On the course I hit the irons tremendously for the most part. Nearly jarred my 2nd shot on the 2nd hole. The greens were so bloody fast though, I missed the nearly gimme birdie.
As the round progressed I hit a lot of great iron shots, but started to fight the back spasms. Starting on the back every few swings was a bizarre “protect the back” swing, which doesn’t work well. Just ask Tiger Woods. I lost a few strokes to par because of those few swings, but managed 77.
77 for me normally is a mediocre round, but as rusty as I am, simply breaking 80 for the first time was a major step in the right direction. The number is somewhat a representation of the round, but is much less important to me than the feel of hitting solid irons and executing shots. That’s much more rewarding.
Positive thoughts at the moment, but the back is very, very stiff.