European Tour adds new six-hole tournament to 2017 schedule


European Tour adds new six-hole tournament to 2017 schedule
Sean Dudley
By Sean Dudley

The European Tour has added a new six-hole tournament to its schedule for 2017.

GolfSixes will take place at the Centurion Club in St Albans, UK, from 6-7 May this year. The event will feature two-man teams from 16 different countries.

One player from each team will be the leading ranked and available European Tour member from the 2017 Exemption Category List as at March 13, and the other will be a compatriot of their choice.

The European Tour has launched the new tournament model to help illustrate its desire ‘to embrace innovation and originality in professional golf’.

This air of innovation will extend beyond the play itself, with a dedicated fan zone where players will also participate in Q&A sessions. The tournament will also see amphitheatre-style seating around tees and greens, music, pyrotechnics at various points around the course, and the players wearing microphones.

“We have said for some time that golf needs to modernise and introducing innovative new formats is a major part of achieving that aim, which is why I am delighted to announce the launch of GolfSixes today,” said Keith Pelley, chief executive of the European Tour. “We want to broaden the appeal of our sport to the millennial demographic and I think this format will do that, not only through the quick and exiting style of play, but also with the interactive digital experience fans will enjoy on site and the innovative television coverage people will enjoy at home.”

Pelley also expressed his delight at having a country vs country element to the tournament.

“There is no question that the greatest atmosphere in golf comes every two years at The Ryder Cup and we are keen to try and emulate that national fervour in this format,” he said. “We are in the entertainment content business with golf as our platform and GolfSixes is the perfect illustration of that.”

The topic of six hole golf was recently addressed in issue 46 of GCA, with architects Lassi Pekka Tilander and Frank Pont giving their thoughts on the idea.

During the tournament itself, the participating teams will be split into four groups, with two from each progressing to a knockout stage. In the group stages, matches will be played over all six holes with one point awarded for each hole won. The winner of each match will be the player with most points at the end of six holes.

The knockout stages will be played over as many holes as is required to determine a winner. Any match that is still tied after six holes will be continued by repeated play of a ‘shortened play-off hole’ on hole 18 until a result is reached.

The group stages will take place on 6 May, with the knockout stages, comprised of quarter finals, semi finals, a third place play off and the final itself will be held on 7 May.