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.
Emoji Poop Driver Head Cover