CEO Blog - GolfSixes Shines for FamiliesHasn't it been a long winter? We were all saying it but this weekend gone, the first May Bank holiday, GolfSixes has blasted away the winter blues. The Golf Foundation is fortunate to be working alongside the European Tour in bringing a new and innovative way of playing golf to a younger audience across the country, with its spin off initiative - GolfSixes League - using the 6 hole team format to encourage more junior golfers to play against other clubs in a local league just like you would in other sports such as football, netball or rugby.
Having spent the weekend at Centurion Golf Club as part of the second outing of GolfSixes, I was amazed by the number of families that the main GolfSixes event had attracted, and young families too, with mums and dads bringing nursery age children and plenty of buggies (of the pushchair variety!) around the golf course. Centurion kindly laid on a dedicated short 6-hole golf course for families only using the Golf Foundation’s Tri-Golf kit and staffed by Golf Foundation/England Golf Young Ambassadors. It was teeming with families all weekend.
The Golf Foundation also played its part in bringing youngsters to the event by arranging for 300 pupils from local schools to take part in School Games events at Centurion on the Friday (Pro Am day) and then on the Sunday the club hosting the latest fixture of the local GolfSixes League on the first 3 holes of the main golf course. With 60 children playing from 6 local golf clubs, there must have been over 70 parents watching and supporting their aspiring young golfers. Again, through the great partnership with the European Tour, the young players were lucky enough to be joined by a visit from the American Team - David Lipsky and Daniel Im - who gave impromptu tips and demonstrations on playing pitch shots, dealing with first tee nerves and playing ‘keep uppy’.
The School Games is a legacy of London 2012, a national programme run by our friends the Youth Sport Trust, to encourage more competitive sport in state schools. Thanks to the School Games and the Golf Foundation’s adapted formats of golf (Tri-Golf and StreetGolf), the sport is now an accepted part of the competition structure in primary schools across England and helps to introduce over half a million youngsters to the sport each year. Watching a Tri-Golf festival take place on the first fairway at Centurion, with 80 children focused and enjoying their golf experience on a lush fairway surrounded by beautiful pine trees, I have not seen a more spectacular setting for a mass participation Tri-Golf event. Again, the European Tour were so supportive in bringing to the children the Danish, Swedish and Thai players for a demonstration that they will never forget. ‘Six’, the pink mascot joining all of the activities, was also hugely popular with the kids particularly when he demonstrated his version of the ‘caterpillar’ in a break dance move!’
My thanks to the European Tour for driving change through innovation and for recognising the same aspirations within the Golf Foundation - we greatly value their partnership approach. We have a great product to sell to young people and their families, and GolfSixes confirms that the interest is there - Centurion also demonstrates how we need to innovate and market that offer, make it affordable for young families and perhaps most importantly make them feel welcome.
Brendon Pyle, Chief Executive