GolfSixes, now officially GolfSixes Cascais, will run over Friday and Saturday this week. The two-day, six-hole Greensomes matchplay tournament will be broadcast free-to-air on BBC Red Button, BBC iPlayer and the BBC Sport website in an attempt to attract attention to a new brand of golf.
What is GolfSixes?
It’s been compared to cricket’s Twenty20 format, but it’s so much more than that. The comparisons are understandable though, with it being a sped-up version of the sport in a less formal manner. There will be three 6-hole group stage matches on Friday, followed by 6-hole quarter, semi & final matches on Saturday.
The format will be “greensomes”, whereby both teammates tee off, before choosing one ball to complete the hole with; alternating shots from that point. The less formal manner includes the legalisation of range finders (an attempt to speed up play), allowing players to wear shorts and a final hole which coincides with a swimming pool and plays to the tune of a live DJ. Finally, in a growing trend across all Tours, two of the competing teams will be England Women and Germany Women.
What’s the Point?
Golf needs to grow. It needs more players, more viewers and more exposure. Some of the most cited reasons for a lack of new interest in the game? Slow play, outdated rules and a lack of diversity. This tournament addresses all of these issues, and BBC’s digital coverage provides the perfect opportunity to showcase this.
On the Tee
Group A features England, Scotland, India and hosts Portugal. Tom Lewis & Paul Waring of England enter the tournament as joint-favourites, while Scotland’s Stephen Gallacher & David law is the only team in which both players have wins this year. Group B consists of defending Champions Ireland, Sweden, Thailand and England Women. Ireland’s Paul Dunne & Gavin Moynihan are considered a front-runner again, but Alex Bjork & Joakim Lagergren of Sweden is my pick for the week. England’s Meghan MacLaren has earned deserved plaudits for speaking out against inequality in the sport, but it was her golf that did the talking as she finished runner-up in the Jordan Mixed Open; proving the ability of herself and her female counterparts to compete alongside the men. MacLaren will play alongside Florentyna Parker.
Australia, France, Wales & Germany Women make up Group C. Scott Hend & Wade Ormsby give the Aussies a strong chance, and France’s Matthieu Pavon, playing with Romain Wattel, is one of the headline names. Finally, Group D has been touted as the toughest pool with South Africa, Italy, Spain & Denmark. George Coetzee & Brandon Stone of South Africa is honestly the strongest duo, but Nacho Elvira is a decent partner for Jorge Campillo, who boasts five Top-3 finishes and a win this season.
This will be the third edition of GolfSixes, but each year the European Tour continues to innovate and experiment. Sometimes it will work, sometimes it won’t, but ultimately this is developing golf. And besides, it should be fun!
Written by Joe Carabini