This could be quite a thrill. Date: May 6; venue: Centurion Club.This being the headliner start of the new 2018 ‘GolfSixes League’ for juniors in the UK, supported by the European Tour.
As male and female Tour players from around the world take each other on in their national teams, beside the course around 200 youngsters from 16 local schools and six golf clubs will be playing in a demonstration match as they officially tee-off the new ‘Golf Sixes League’.
In this Golf Foundation/England Golf initiative to boost retention in clubs, 125 golf clubs from 28 leagues will be starting a weekly team league series in team coloured kits, enjoyed by 1,500 boys and girls (a pilot group of Welsh and Scottish leagues are also included as this initiative is supported by England Golf, Scottish Golf and Wales Golf).
This new inter-club team format aims to foster a sense of belonging for new young players, with a clear competitive edge. Boys and girls work with their club’s PGA professional during the week to prepare for the big matches against neighbouring club teams at the weekend, supported by lots of watching parents.
Club v club, six children per team (12 in each squad); Texas Scramble, playing six holes in around an hour. Fast and fun!
With funding by Sport England, the expansion this year is significant, increasing from a first year of 27 clubs to 125 this summer. Meanwhile, so impressed is the European Tour with the GolfSixes League model, the Tour is rolling out GolfSixes in Holland and Belgium. Last season, the Foundation team watched as numerous kids, in their club shirts with official European Tour GolfSixes branding, enjoyed ‘down-to-the-wire’ league matches. Some 80% of kids wanted to play more golf after GolfSixes and 61% said they “loved golf ”. Some 90% of events featured supportive Mums and Dads, including volunteer roles. There was a 65% increase in affiliated membership (73 members at the start, 121 at the end).
GolfSixes League was created following Golf Foundation commissioned research by Sports Marketing Surveys Inc. that found that many kids want to play fewer holes, in team formats and at different courses. Parents see golf clubs as a safe environment and golf as a great sport for teaching valuable life skills, which is a major part of the Golf Foundation’s work.