Friendships, family and fun were the common themes as the inaugural R&A GolfSixes Challenge was hailed a success.
Staged at Woburn last Saturday ahead of this week’s AIG Women’s British Open, the short format event was organised by The R&A in partnership with England Golf and proved to be popular for all involved.
Played on the Marquess’ Course – where defending champion and R&A ambassador Georgia Hall and a world-class field will compete from Thursday – the GolfSixes Challenge saw 48 players tee it up, forming eight teams and representing 22 golf facilities.
The Sixes format – an initiative created by The R&A supported Golf Foundation – helped to foster friendships and fun within a family atmosphere, while the day also involved a lunch and prizegiving.
World class venue
The winning team featured Paul and Dominic Hoskin (from Benton Hall), Adrian and Edward Stephenson (Leighton Buzzard) and Ray Ripsher (Bush Hill Park) and Fiona Llewellyn (Woburn). Fiona stepped in for Ray’s wife, who was unable to play, while six players from Woburn finished in 2nd place.
The GolfSixes Challenge gives participants the opportunity to enjoy playing a world class venue on the eve of a major championship and mirrors The R&A 9 Hole Challenge, which was again held on the eve of The Open at Royal Portrush earlier this month.
Both The R&A GolfSixes Challenge and The R&A 9 Hole Challenge are central to the organisation’s wider drive to promote shorter forms of golf as ideal ways to enjoy playing the sport in less time, either recreationally or competitively.
Duncan Weir, Executive Director – Golf Development and Amateur Championships at The R&A, said, “The GolfSixes Challenge played at Woburn was The R&A’s first venture using this format and we were delighted with the success of Saturday’s event.
“It is a great addition to AIG Women’s British Open week and we received very positive feedback from all the players.
“The inaugural event gives us something to build on when staging it again at Royal Troon in 2020.”
Growth in format
GolfSixes continues to grow in popularity, notably given its success in encouraging more young people into the sport. For example, GolfSixes Leagues reached 102 golf clubs in 2018 and will be enjoyed by more than 200 this year, with the Leagues proving highly popular with club management, PGA professionals, parents and children.
GolfSixes has also been a popular addition to the European Tour schedule, with Ladies European Tour players also involved.