Golf’s European Tour has announced the GolfSixes format will feature on its 2018 calendar following a successful debut last year.
The inaugural GolfSixes tournament was held at the Centurion Club in St Albans, England, on May 6-7, 2017. The event was won by Danish pair Lucas Bjerregaard and Thorbjørn Olesen (pictured).
The European Tour said that the event saw a 42-per-cent increase in new golf fans compared to standard tournaments, and the organisation has now confirmed that the tournament will be held for a second consecutive year at the Centurion Club on May 5-6. The event will also feature a junior competition.
Last year’s tournament featured a prize fund of €1m ($1.2m) and featured two-man teams from 16 different nations, with each country represented by its leading ranked and available European Tour member and a compatriot of his choosing.
Teams were split into four groups of four, with the top two teams from each group progressing to the knockout stages. Three points were given for group-stage wins, with one point given for a draw. The matches were played in a greensomes match-play format over six holes.
The Tour said that the new fans at last year's event were also 14 per cent younger than those seen during the rest of the golf season, while social media engagement exceeded the average rate seen at other tournaments by 24 per cent.
The Tour’s chief commercial and marketing officer, Nathan Homer, said: “GolfSixes combines the camaraderie and intrigue of team golf with the drama and intensity of a shorter format. The players love it, and the fans enjoy the different, more entertaining atmosphere. Last year we tested the concept and this year we will dial up the fan engagement still further.
“Golf needs a route for younger fans, groups of adults and families to get involved. We know that GolfSixes appeals to those audiences while still offering something to our die-hard fans. We have to keep innovating in order to grow our appeal and the statistics suggest GolfSixes can have a powerful presence in the golfing calendar.”
This year’s tournament will once again feature 16 nations, with the shot clock to also return along with a fan zone in the middle of the course.
A special showcase event will also run during this year’s Ryder Cup to promote GolfSixes to a wider audience. The Ryder Cup will take place from September 28-30 at Le Golf National near Paris.
Homer added: “The Ryder Cup transcends all sport and is one of the most prestigious sporting events on the planet. It is the perfect platform to introduce a wide cross-section of sports fans to GolfSixes. Setting aside time in the Ryder Cup schedule for it demonstrates our commitment to the concept and our firm belief it has long-term potential.”