The golf industry is searching. Searching for a way to bring more players to the game. Searching for ways to make a game that increasingly takes five hours to play take less time. Searching for a way to offset the impact of the economic slowdown.
The essence of the game is there are two flags on each hole — a relatively straight forward hole and a difficult one. Here’s what the official PowerPlay site has to say:
PowerPlay Golf is a new nine-hole form of golf, where there are two flags on every green. You can score extra points if you take a ‘PowerPlay’ and go for the Black Flag, but you have a limited number of ‘PowerPlays’ in your round – choose wisely.
Famed British amateur Peter McEvoy is promoting the concept, and Forth caught on to it after reading about it on the Web. He answered five questions about the new game in an attempt to explain its appeal. Forth has the rights to PowerPlay golf in Canada — and with rumours of a made-for-TV type skins game coming utilizing the concept, it’ll be interesting to see whether this catches on.
G4G: How did you hear about the PowerPlay Golf concept?
I was on the European Golf Course Owners Association website to try to get some ideas of what golf courses were doing there. I came across a presentation that was done at the EGCOA Conference by Peter McEvoy, the Co-Creator of PowerPlay Golf. It sounded very interesting and the more I read into it and went on the PowerPlay Golf website it seemed like an exciting and fun way to play 9 holes of golf. It has become very popular in the UK, Ireland, Australia & South Africa and will be launching in the United States very soon.
G4G: What was the appeal of PowerPlay?
PowerPlay Golf is different than anything anyone has done with golf before. That in itself made it appealing to me as we have generally not followed the beaten path when it comes to how we run our golf course. I immediately thought of running weekday leagues run at off-peak times when our tee-sheet is empty. Generally speaking, most golf courses tee off golfers on the first tee in the morning, and in two hours they get to the back nine. Why not run a weekday morning league off the back nine, bring more golfers in and increase the revenue without really spending any money? The same can be done off the first tee in the evenings, after the twilight golfers tee-off. With the current state of the economy, golfers may not have the time or money, or both, to play 18 holes as much as they did.
PowerPlay Golf is not meant to completely change the way golf is played. Golf courses that offer PowerPlay Golf will maybe introduce it monthly into current leagues, or run weekly leagues or an occasional special event. Golf courses are not going to have to flags in their greens all the time.
One of the major plans for PowerPlay Golf is to showcase PowerPlay Golf worldwide with a made for television event. These events are hopefully going to be played this fall, using well known PGA Tour Players and will certainly be an eye-opener to the golf world. There are many testimonials from some of the top executives in the world of golf that have been introduced to PowerPlay Golf, and the response has been that the potential is huge.
G4G: Explain how it works?
Although at first it does look a little confusing, PowerPlay Golf really is a simple format.
PowerPlay Golf is played over 9 holes, with each green having 2 flags on it, one White (easy pin) and one Black (difficult pin). Three times on the first 8 holes, golfers must announce on the tee that they are going to take a PowerPlay, meaning going for the Black Flag. When taking a PowerPlay, if you get a Net Birdie or better, you receive Double points (Stableford point system is below). On the last hole, you have the option of going for a fourth PowerPlay to increase your points, but if you get a Net Bogey or worse, you lose 2 points.
This gives golfers that are behind a couple points that chance to catch up and adds the risk-reward element to the final hole.
The Stableford points system is used and is played off of a full handicap. When going for the White Flag, the following points are awarded. When taking a PowerPlay, if you score a Net Birdie or better, you double your points.
Net Bogey 1 point
Net Par 2 Points
Net Birdie 3 points
Net Eagle 4 points
Net Albatross 5 Points
G4G: These ideas have been floated in the past (concepts of things like 12 hole courses, six hole loops, etc.) Why do you think this one will work?
I looked into the 6 or 12 hole games, but the problem is that logistically they don’t work well for golf courses. Golf courses are designed to have two, nine hole loops, creating a great opportunity for a nine hole game like PowerPlay to work. As well, because it is nine holes, it is easier for golf courses to fit it into time slots that are wide open, thus creating incremental revenue.
For golfers, it opens up the door to something new and exciting. If you can imagine yourself playing with three friends, and it comes down to the last hole where you must take a PowerPlay to have a chance of winning. The excitement and adrenaline that you would feel would be great, especially if you are able to overtake the lead for the win.
G4G: Where are people going to be able to play PowerPlay?
PowerPlay Golf in Canada has just officially been brought into Canada within the last week, so as of now Copetown Woods is the only Official Venue. I have had conversations with a few other golf courses that are very interested and a couple that are going to offer PowerPlay Golf for sure. These courses will be named in the coming weeks, and will be added to the Canadian page or the PowerPlay Golf website (www.powerplay-golf.com) once they become an Official Venue.