The GolfSixes League - a junior league inspired by the European Tour - is set to expand significantly this year and promises to attract even more juniors to the game.
The Golf Foundation initiative will reach more than 200 golf clubs this year, a number that has doubled since 2018 as GolfSixes League proves highly popular with club management, PGA professionals, parents and – most of all – the kids.
GolfSixes League was inspired by the European Tour’s GolfSixes, the shorter-form, team competition held at Centurion Club in 2017 and 2018, and is set to be hosted in Portugal this summer.
GolfSixes League means quicker six-hole matches against other clubs in a fun ‘Texas Scramble’ format – a great way of building confidence among new players. The matches are designed to create a sense of belonging in junior sections, while also forging a respect for practice among young players. In 2018, squads of 12 boys and girls represented their golf clubs playing weekly team golf wearing coloured team shirts with GolfSixes branding.
National charity the Golf Foundation is “delighted” with the 2018 results; Since last May, 24 leagues were staged across 22 UK regions, involving 102 golf clubs and 1,160 juniors playing 161 fixtures. Some 25% of players were girls, and there was a 34% increase in membership at the clubs involved (42% in England). Six county leagues in England were so popular they decided to stage their own extra winter leagues in the build-up to the 2019 season.
Iain Fulton, PGA Head Teaching Professional at Belton Woods GC in Lincolnshire, said:
“The GolfSixes League has been a fantastic project and opportunity for the young golfers to play a different format, new courses and meet other young players. Everyone at the club has thoroughly enjoyed every game.”
Lester McCalmon, Club Coordinator from Swansea Bay GC, said: “This is a fantastic format. You can see the increase in confidence and enjoyment of all who took part. Many parents noticed an improvement in their child’s social skills.”
The Foundation team was recently buoyed by news that The R&A is to provide £2m to the charity over the next four years to support its drive to inspire more youngsters into playing golf and to increase the retention of juniors within clubs, with a focus on increasing participation among girls. This backing, plus the support of HSBC, Sport England and the Home Golf Nations, will enable GolfSixes League to be staged across more than 40 leagues in 2019, involving more than 200 golf clubs, with more than 2,000 young people taking part. England will see an expected 36 leagues, including six that will be funded by County Golf Unions from Suffolk, Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and Gloucestershire. Thanks to support from Wales Golf and Scottish Golf, GolfSixes Leagues in these countries will also expand, with seven leagues in Scotland and three in Wales as the initiative grows.
What is the value of the GolfSixes League?