PowerPlay Golf – a shorter, more exciting way to enjoy golf – has been hailed a huge success at its worldwide launch, with some key figures in the sport claiming it could revolutionise the game.
Launched at Northwick Park by Playgolf plc, PowerPlay Golf uses two flags on each green and rewards golfers who take on the more difficult pin position – in essence a bold bid to create golf’s answer to Twenty20 cricket where aggressive and exciting play reaps dividends.
Some of golf’s leading figures were among the first golfers in the world to test the nine-hole format at Northwick Park’s revolutionary golf complex, which features replicas of famous holes from around the world.
Playgolf director Peter McEvoy, former Walker Cup Captain, said, “PowerPlay Golf is a punchier, spiced-up version that retains the values of golf but has exciting elements of risk and reward. In well under two hours you can compete in an enjoyable golf event, involving a high degree of strategy and skill, and have lots of talking points for the bar afterwards.
“I certainly don’t want to detract from the traditions of golf, but at the same time we have to find new ways to promote golf that suits modern, busy lifestyles. It has enormous TV potential within the professional game because tucking flags away in difficult positions is even more appropriate for the skill level of pros. But at the same time, it has the potential to teach amateur golfers about course management and to think like a pro.”
PowerPlay Golf is played over a maximum of nine holes, with two flags in each green – one white, one black – with the black flag representing the more difficult pin position and a ‘powerplay’ scoring opportunity.
At the start of a hole, players nominate which flag they are aiming for and double their Stableford score on ‘black flag holes’ provided they score a net birdie or better. Golfers must play three PowerPlay holes during the round, with an optional fourth ‘powerplay’ at a designated Par Three hole which offers a special ‘SuperPlay’ opportunity – a 30ft diameter circle around one black flag. A player can elect to go for the circle from the tee and if he successfully lands inside, he gains an additional 3 bonus points. But if he misses, he loses two points.
Playgolf chief executive, David Piggins, said, “Golf has to embrace the need to adapt to a modern lifestyle and Playgolf have always had it in mind to fulfill modern needs – hence our high-quality six hole course at Northwick Park. There is no reason why PowerPlay Golf cannot be embraced by any golf club to create a fast, exciting and interesting competition on their front or back nine.
“Our experience of staging the world’s first demonstration of PowerPlay Golf was hugely positive. We are determined to launch it as a professional event and we are progressing talks to that end. We feel a maximum nine holes is the right number to play. After all, PowerPlay Golf needs to be a shorter, more vibrant form of the game.”
A pilot event will be played through Middlesex golf clubs this year, culminating in a final at Playgolf Northwick Park.
Added McEvoy: “I can easily see golf clubs staging regular PowerPlay Golf events as part of their annual competitions schedule.”