What is GolfSixes?
GolfSixes is a new team match-play format organized by the European Tour, which was played for the first time in May 2017 at the Centurion Club in St. Albans, England. It featured 16 teams of two players representing a nation. The prize fund was EUR 1 million.
Sixteen pairs representing a country compete in four groups of round-robin. The top two in each group go through to the quarter-finals.
Using a Greensome Format, all four players tee off and the teams get to choose the best tee shot before playing in alternate shots. The team with the most holes won after a six-hole competition wins. Three points are awarded for winning a match; one is given for a draw. There are no carryovers for holes that are tied.
A Shot Clock is used at the fourth hole. Each player is given 30 seconds to play each shot. A violation of the 30-second time incurs a penalty.
On the first day, the teams are split into four groups of four. Three points are given for winning a match during the group stages. One point will be given for a draw. The top two teams from each group move on to the knockout stages.
The quarterfinals, the semi-finals, the playoff for the 3rd and 4th places, and the finals take place on the second and final day of the tournament.
The team with the greatest number of holes won after a six-hole contest is declared the winner of every match. They play using a Greensomes Format, also called Scotch foursomes, where both players tee off on every hole. After all the players drive and choose the best tee shot, they play alternate shots.
Alternate shots, or foursomes, is a playing format where the two players in a team use only one ball and take alternate shots until the hole is finished or completed. Both members take turns to tee off; one player tees off on odd-numbered holes and the other one takes the even-numbered holes.
At the fourth hole, a Shot Clock is applied. The players are given 30 seconds to play each shot and any violation of time incurs a stroke penalty.
Each team that finishes or completes each hole with the least number of shots wins.
What makes GolfSixes different from competitive golf, is the unique twist it has on each hole:
Hole One: walk-up music, pyrotechnics display, music, and the players are showcased on a big screen
Hole Two: money is raised for charity for each birdie scored
Hole Three: longest drive competition for men and women
Hole Four: Shot Clock is applied; players each have 30 seconds to hit a shot or risk a penalty
Hole Five: closest-to-the-pin competition on Par 3
Hole Six: final hole; players get to tee off on a tee box above the pool of the golf course
PGA European Tour
GolfSixes is an unofficial event by the PGA European Tour. The PGA European Tour is a golfer-controlled organization. Its main function is to capitalize on the income of tournament golfers.
It runs the top three men’s professional golf tours in Europe: the elite European Tour, considered the principal golf tour in Europe; the European Senior Tour, for players aged 50 and above; and the developmental Challenge Tour.
European Tour was established in 1970 by the Professional Golfers’ Association. It was transferred to an independent organization in 1984. Most of the tours are held in Europe but other tours have been organized in different parts of the globe since the 1980s.
How does GolfSixes work?
According to the European Tour, GolfSixes is played using the “fun and modified” Greensomes style or format. On every hole, both team members will have the chance to tee off. Then, each team chooses which ball they want to use to complete or finish out the hole.
The player of the tee shot that doesn’t get chosen takes the second shot. Then, both players take turns taking their shot. The team with the least number of shots wins that hole and is awarded a point for winning. If team A wins against team B for the first hole, the team scores 1-0. If team B wins the next hole, the score is 1-1.
Using a standard match play format, a team wins by leading by three or four holes, with two remaining holes to play. A team also wins by leading by three or two holes, with one remaining hole to play. No one wins on the third hole because there are six holes in all to play.
Sixteen teams are divided equally into four groups. Each team gets to face-off over a six-hole match. Three points are awarded for a win, one point is awarded for a draw, and none for a loss. In case of a draw, a play-off will be held to determine who wins.
The top two teams, from each group who finish after a round-robin at the end of day one, advance to day two. In case of a tie, the decision comes down to the differential by holes won. If the tie doesn’t break, the winners will be determined by a closest-to-the-pin playoff hole.
Knockout matches will be played until only one team is left and declared the winner.