Golf Sixes: European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley wants six hole events added to schedule
The sport is seeking to follow in the footsteps of cricket in an attempt to capture a younger audience
European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley plans to introduce six hole tournaments complete with blaring music in a bid to shake up golf’s staid image.
Pelley succeeded George O’Grady last year and has already introduced measures aimed at tackling slow play as he tries to capture a younger audience for the sport.
However, Pelley’s announcement that six hole sprint formats could be included on the European Tour schedule from 2017 is a significant leap.
“Golf and tennis has to be a little more open to letting the youth actually participate,” the Canadian said.
“There’s no question that is something we believe in as well.
“Let’s be honest – and scientific data proves this – attention spans are decreasing as opposed to increasing and it’s completely different when the choice people have to consume content now is so different than it was 35-40 years ago.
“So you have to change, people’s time is so precious that golf – I think every golf course being built needs to be six holes, six holes, six holes – so that people can go at the beginning before they go to work.”
Pelley highlighted the success of Twenty20 cricket in boosting attendances as a reason for change.
“From our perspective, as the gatekeepers of the professional game, we are looking to create a format that would be six holes,” he said.
“That could be an hour, an hour and a half content programme... which would be very entertaining.
“Yes, there would be a shot clock, yes there would be music being played, and PA announcements, and players would be dressed a little differently, and maybe they would only play with five or seven clubs.”
Pelley said he envisaged players representing their countries “so you could probably see England playing Scotland in a six hole matchplay with time clocks and music and so forth going on and it would be an aspirational goal to be even remotely as successful as Twenty20 cricket.
“If you’re not prepared to change, if you’re not prepared to be innovative, if you’re not prepared to take chances, then I do believe that the sports that aren’t will fall behind.”