The GolfSixes format, which came to fruition in 2017 through a grassroots campaign implemented by the Golf Foundation with the European Tour Group and the R&A, has proven hugely successful in inspiring children to get into the game from an early age.
The Golf Foundation has reported that its GolfSixes League initiative is going from strength to strength and continues to have a very positive impact on junior members in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland.
The Golf Foundation’s 2021 GolfSixes League Impact Report reveals that with support from the R&A – the charity’s main backer – the GolfSixes League has become a game-changing format for juniors and golf clubs alike. golf.
This fun team formula is popular with children and appeals to parents, as the number of junior members increases considerably at participating clubs. Since its launch in 2017, when the inaugural GolfSixes took place on the DP World Tour, more and more clubs are committing to the GolfSixes League every year, and despite a pause in activity in 2020 due to Covid-19 , the initiative is proving more popular than ever.
The inclusive, fun and competitive six-hole team format where beginner golfers play in a league with other local golf clubs achieves its goal of increasing the number of regular junior players. More than 5,200 young people participated in 74 leagues at 386 golf venues in 2021, resulting in a 35% increase in the number of junior members affiliated at the clubs concerned.
Brendon Pyle, Chief Executive of the Golf Foundation, said: “We are further encouraged that more and more clubs are excited to take part in the program – an all-out endorsement of the format.
The GolfSixes League is therefore a winning formula that is great for golf and is poised to come back bigger and better in 2022.” GolfSixes League has become a crucial part of the Golf Foundation’s national HSBC Golf Roots strategy which introduces children to golf from all walks of life, creating golfers in the process.
The association’s team and its partners know that golf can change the lives of young people. Being part of a team, playing more golf, supported by families Golf Foundation tracking has revealed some interesting stats and quotes.
One of the young players involved said: “I liked being part of a team and figuring out what the best move was.” Other views included, “It’s like a mini Ryder Cup, I love it!” “I loved walking around with my mum and having her watch me.”
In 2021, the four home countries embraced the dynamic team ethos (mimicking the excitement of the Solheim and Ryder Cups) with adaptations tailored to their own regions. All recognize the same benefits: increased youth participation and membership, high player satisfaction and continued improvement in parent connectivity.
Some 83% of kids said being part of a team was their favorite part of the GolfSixes League, followed by playing different courses, becoming a better golfer and making friends. In 2021, the Foundation was encouraged to see 30% of players were girls (clubs are encouraged to field mixed teams).
PGA Coaches at the heart of the GolfSixes League PGA Professional coaches, who are at the heart of every GolfSixes League, have recognized that the format has created enthusiasm for the game of golf and have responded accordingly. Even with the organizational challenges around Covid-19, additional training sessions were held and players were offered follow-up training/playing opportunities.
They were encouraged to join the club to nurture their interest in golf and improve their skills. Interestingly, 21% of GolfSixes League players have joined some form of county golf program. Feedback from golf clubs included: – 86% of juniors said they were more likely to play golf more often; – 70% of children practiced/or went to coaching more than usual due to their participation in the GolfSixes League; – 90% of team leaders felt the league created a greater connection with parents and children.
Parents Discovering Golf and Reaching New Audiences Comments from parents included, “Both my boys have really enjoyed playing different courses, being part of a team and representing their club”. “A Brilliant, inclusive, fun and exciting format!” Excellent parental engagement and support remains a key feature of GolfSixes League.
67% of parents volunteered at events, the majority chose to be a chaperone/caddie, but others were scorekeepers or team captains. The Golf Foundation team believe that part of the appeal of the GolfSixes League is the ever-increasing connection between clubs and families it offers.
Parents and players were most likely to describe the format as “fun, friendly, organized and inclusive,” which is an indication of how welcoming golf clubs are to families. Golf clubs see increased revenue Clubs have benefited from this approach with increased revenue from the sale of food, beverages and clothing.
A third of parents were non-golfers, demonstrating that GolfSixes League has appeal beyond the traditional golf audience. Phrases parents used to describe the Golf Sixes League were: fun (89%), friendly and easy-going (77%), well-organized (77%), inclusive (65%), and meeting new parents/kids ( 59%).
The future: Good for golf, golf for good Brendon Pyle of the Golf Foundation added: “The response from clubs, parents and especially players proves that the GolfSixes League is good for golf as it helps to secure the next generation of golfers.
We are very grateful to the R&A and the home countries of England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland for their support. The GolfSixes League expands in 2022, with plans in place to support 120 leagues, 600 golf clubs and 7,560 players.
Through the fun, confidence and well-being it promotes in its young players, GolfSixes League is also an excellent example of ‘golf for good’.“