Does golf need shorter, more exciting formats?

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Golf, like any other sport, has its fair share of problems. The ordinary person who has stepped foot on a course or spent some time watching a round on TV knows this and often associates the game with old-fashioned dress codes and staid traditions. There has been much agreement among golfers and non-golfers that the time it takes to complete a round is more often than not too long, and that the sport is not dynamic enough to attract and maintain a new and younger audience. This has been an issue and has been debated for some time, but can golf find alternative ways to attract a new and younger generation of players to boost participation levels?

Providing a fun, fast-paced and more exciting alternative to the much slower, traditional format has been something tournament organizers have certainly looked at. ExpressGolf powered by Tagmarshal is a recent innovation, an exciting golf event format in which a field of up to 72 golfers can play an 18-hole tournament in less than 3 hours. Developed as a counter to diminishing participation numbers – one of the most significant factors being lack of time – ExpressGolf uses the Tagmarshal pace of play management software to monitor and manage the field, imposing time penalties where necessary. 

Founder and CEO of ExpressGolf, Ian Kennedy, explains that while maintaining tradition remains a critical part in the success of the game, some minor adjustments can be made to ensure participation and excitement: “Golf is a game filled with tradition. Some of these traditions will stand the test of time, while other traditions need to adapt to the ever-changing demands from society. One tradition that will always remain is that a full round of golf is 18 holes. While golfers can still enjoy playing fewer holes, the majority of golfers want to complete the full 18.

“There is absolutely a need for alternative formats as the consumer is looking for ways to spend their time and money and, if golf doesn’t offer alternatives, then consumers will simply spend their time and money elsewhere,” continued Kennedy.

ExpressGolf uses the same rules of golf, playing quicker and is designed to “increase participation”, revenue and profit. The format offers fast, fun and exhilarating golf that guarantees results.

Golf clubs can benefit immensely from this product. Course operators using ExpressGolf can expect an increase in rounds during under-utilized parts of the season or day. With an increase in rounds and charging a premium “ExpressGolf Fee”, the tournament solution paves the way for more spend at pro shops and F&B, prompting increases in revenue in all areas of the golf facility.

“Top Golf is a great example of a fun alternative form of golf and is booming because of what it offers the consumer. ExpressGolf similarly offers golfers an alternative to slow and mundane rounds, by decreasing the time taken to play 18 holes by up to 2 hours. Now, that’s an alternative way of playing that ticks the big boxes of tradition and innovation,” added Kennedy.

The format, in professional tournament golf, can be used on Pro-Am day – seeing a finish in under three hours, giving more time for post-round engagements and pre-tournament range time for the pros. The ExpressGolf Professional Tournament version sees a limited field of professionals completing an 18-hole tournament in under one-and-a-half hours! 

ExpressGolf, leading up to the 2018 AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open, held its inaugural ExpressGolf Tour Challenge at the Four Seasons Golf Club Mauritius at Anahita. Germany’s Marcel Siem, a multiple winner on the European Tour, was pleased with his performance and the exciting format saying: “I loved ExpressGolf and I played the best golf that I have played all year. It was an absolute blast and I putted the best I have in ages. Playing with the fast pace is better for spectators as well. ExpressGolf is the way forward and I believe it will help everybody involved in golf.”

Ultimately, the goal is that this will grow the game by attracting a younger generation while at the same time retaining the traditions of the great game.

To find out more about ExpressGolf visit:

About Tagmarshal

Tagmarshal is a golf course intelligence and pace-of-play management solution that turns pace into an asset. The system uses small “tags” clipped onto golf bags or installed on carts which transmit geolocation data. Industry-leading algorithms identify risk groups with accurate, objective support to alleviate pace challenges before they arise. Public, private and resort courses using Tagmarshal realize substantial returns on investments through improved on-course experiences achieved with less staff as well as increases in daily rounds. Impactful and easy-to-use data analytics, weather data integration and geo-fencing complete the offering.