YouGov survey on golf shows the need for GolfSixes-style events

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir January 31, 2018 13:12

A major survey on what the British public thinks about televised golf events suggests the industry desperately needs to support alternative versions to the traditional model.

The YouGov poll of 17 sports found that golf was far and away deemed to be the most boring to watch.

Seven in ten respondents said it was either quite boring or very boring, and just 11 per cent said golf is exciting to watch.

More women than men said they found golf boring, far more people under 50 said the same than over 50 and more northerners than southerners also find the sport dull to watch.

Even other sports that the public deem to be boring to watch, such as cricket, darts, snooker and Formula 1 motor racing, had nothing like the negative perceptions that golf has, with between 49 and 58 per cent of respondents saying they were boring, and 18 and 32 per cent saying they were exciting.

Rugby Union, football, gymnastics, tennis and athletics were the only sports considered to be more exciting than boring.

“The adage that golf is a way of ruining a good walk has been misattributed to both Mark Twain and Winston Churchill over the years,” said a YouGov spokesman.

“However, the sentiment remains strong with the British public, and YouGov can crown golf as Britain’s most boring sport. Overall, 70 per cent of Brits who have ever watched the sport say that it is boring, including 52 per cent who say it is very boring.

“Golf holds a long lead over the next most boring sports.”

The results suggest that events like GolfSixes, a two-day European Tour tournament, which took place at the Centurion Club, Hertfordshire, last May, and involved nations competing against each other over six-hole golf amid amphitheatre-style stands, a fan zone featuring Q&As with players, ‘caddie cams’, on-course player interviews, music and fireworks are increasingly necessary to address the image problem the game has.

Nathan Homer, chief commercial and marketing officer of the European Tour, said: “Combining team golf, pitching nation against nation, with the intensity of a shorter format, we are delighted with the success of last year’s event. Innovation is at the heart of what we do, and we plan on bringing more fan engagement and new concepts to this year’s GolfSixes.

“Nearly 20 per cent of all attendees in 2017 had never been to a European Tour event before, and we hope that GolfSixes will go some way in attracting new fans of all ages to the sport. Taking place over six holes, in such close proximity to our fan zone, ensures there will be entertainment throughout the weekend.”

On Saturday May 5, the teams will be split into four groups of four teams, with the top two teams from each group progressing to the knockout stages. The quarter-finals, semi-finals, 3rd/4th place play-off match and the final will all be contested on Sunday May 6.

Three points will be given for winning a match, with one point given for a draw. The matches themselves will be played in a greensomes match play format.

Both days’ play will be shown live on Sky Sports in the United Kingdom, around the globe on the Tour’s world feed network and on Facebook Live.


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir January 31, 2018 13:12
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  1. Corptaxman February 1, 18:54

    I quite agree with the previous comments. It is not golf per se that is boring but the (a) the presentation on tv (it is quite formulaic and predictable – even the comments!) (b) the slow play and (c) the seemingly never-ending stroke-play tournaments. Match play engenders more excitement and involvement, and tournaments need to be geared more towards viewers than the players who no doubt hate to be knocked out! But .. establish what the aim is, and then cater for it. Golf itself can be a visually stimulating and immersive experience – but not as it is currently played for normal TV ‘shows’. I frequently get bored watching it on TV and often lose the will to watch who wins.That can’t be good for the sport in general, although I’m not sure it will filter down to grass-roots play other than via the general image detering younger players form starting.

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  2. peekay February 1, 18:30

    Golf Sixes is an irrelevance to this survey. I love golf and attend tournaments when I can. The atmosphere at a tournament can be breathtaking and fascinating. I have taken many a non golfer who have found it to be one of the best sporting days out they have ever experienced.On the other hand, I agree watching golf on TV is often very tedious and boring – much down to the style of TV coverage. Too much talk in the studio , ludicrous swing analysis and other nonsense. Show more of the golf being played with commentary that adds to the clarity of the shots being watched. The last 2 rounds at Troon with Stenson & Mickelson head to head was breath taking drama of the highest quality even on the telly. Lets not turn golf in to the circus like the 16th at The Phoenix Open

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  3. peekay February 1, 18:16

    It’s a big leap to say the results suggest that events like Golf Sixes are increasingly necessary. What is needed is to speed up standard format play. I love golf but get frustrated at the length of time taken to play shots – interminable discussions with the caddy. Pros need to get on with it – and be perpetually ‘on the clock’. Bag carriers can give yardages on arrival at the ball – suggest a club & thats it! From then it is up to the player to decide the club and hit it. We all like watching and playing with quick players who get on with it. Penalise faffing about with penalty shots and watching golf will again become a thing of great pleasure and joy.

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