By Duncan @ DEVEL Golf
Last week’s blog covered the lack of knockout events in men’s professional golf, so it’s great to see the Aberdeen Asset Management Paul Lawrie Match Play return this week. Does pro golf need to not only embrace match play, but also other formats?
The European Tour’s chief executive, Keith Pelley, last week stated that had golf been invented now it would have been over a twelve hole format. It’s certainly an interesting statement - the demands of modern life seen as holding back more people from playing golf.
Pelley also discussed the possibility of playing short six hole events with music to replicate cricket’s 20/20. I learned to play golf on a nine hole course which had the added advantage of allowing for three or five hole “loops” to be played depending on time/daylight.
I can’t say I ever played with loud music blaring (I’ll try anything once) but I used to love trying to beat my best score over each loop so I can see the attraction of six hole golf.
Lots of the new courses I have played in recent years seem to be moving away from having natural loops, making the six hole format difficult. Often by the time you reach the sixth green you are at one of the furthest points from the clubhouse. New formats such as Sprint6 are championing six hole golf and encouraging a brisk pace of play.
Personally, I like to play quickly, so hopefully they find enough courses to play it on. With any luck course designers in future will build courses with “loops” for players to adopt six hole golf.
I can definitely see the advantage of having “sprint” events. If you look at the PGA Tour stats, Dustin Johnson leads the scoring average for the first nine holes of any tournament and also leads the overall scoring average (at time of writing).
But Dustin aside, players such as Retief Goosen, Jamie Lovemark and Tim Wilkinson sit inside the top ten for front nine scoring average at tournaments. In comparison, these guys are 44th, 58th and 62nd on the full scoring average (at time of writing).
The point of these stats, as I mentioned last week, is that different formats will yield different winners. Some athletes are more suited to the 100m, others to the marathon. If you were to conduct a poll I’d bet most people could name the current 100m Olympic champion over the reigning Olympic marathon champion. So maybe shorter golf events are the way forward?
With these ideas, and fantastic new venues such as Topgolf changing the way people play golf, there can be no doubt the sport is evolving at the moment.
The Devel's Advocate is our resident golf blogger. With long experience of covering golf there aren't many issues he doesn't have an opinion on!