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PowerPlay Golf - The New Way to Play Golf
April 14, 2011

It's faster, it's cheaper and it's more exciting - could PowerPlay Golf become the next big thing in the game?

Golf is a traditionalists' sport, associated with plus fours and dodgy jumpers, four hour rounds and long afternoons propping up the 19 th hole. But it's this ageing image of the game that is damaging for the next generation of players.

In our fast-moving society, four hours - well six, by the time you add in the pre-round warm-up and the post-round beer - is simply too much time for many to squeeze into their busy lifestyles, and that's damaging the number of new players entering the game.

Step in PowerPlay Golf - an innovative nine-hole, two-flag golfing format that's designed to inject excitement into the game and more importantly take half the time of a traditional 18-hole round. It's the brainchild of Peter McEvoy OBE, former Walker Cup captain and one of the most respected amateurs in the game. "Golf's big dilemma is the speed of play," said McEvoy "we wanted to introduce a new form of golf that would take less time but provide the same enjoyment and excitement - just like Twenty20 has done for cricket, or 5-a-side in football - with the ultimate aim of increasing participation in the sport. The Eureka moment came with the idea for two flags and PowerPlay Golf was born."

Yesterday McEvoy's vision became a reality when PowerPlay Golf's first Tour event IGNITION , appropriately named to signify the support of the new title sponsors, car manufacturer Saab, was announced to the world's press.

PowerPlay Ignition will be staged as the curtain-raiser to the European Tour Wales Open at Celtic Manor on Bank Holiday Monday 30 th May 2011. Golfing legend Gary Player headlines a stellar field of 12 players from across the world's tours that will test their skills in the new two-flag game. Joining him for the ultimate shoot-out are reigning US Open Champions Graeme McDowell and Paula Creamer, European Tour stars Paul Casey, Thongchai Jaidee and Ian Poulter and Major Championship winners John Daly, Ian Woosnam and Helen Alfredsson. Three young stars of the future Frenchman Victor Dubuisson, Swede Caroline Hedwall and German Maximilian Kieffer complete the line-up.

Speaking at the launch at Celtic Manor yesterday, PowerPlay Golf spokesman Colin Montgomerie, OBE, eight time Order of Merit winner and Europe's victorious Ryder Cup captain in 2010 said: "Stand by for something very special. Golf around the world is about to discover a new dimension. We believe the time is right to launch a new format which complements the long form of the game, and adds fresh impetus to the sport. To have the support of Gary Player, who is a golfing icon, is deeply significant."

PowerPlay has already been successfully piloted in thirty countries with over 70% of golfers saying they were interested in playing or watching the shorter form of the game. This figure rises to more than 84% of younger players who say a version of the sport with an emphasis on excitement would appeal to them. This research triggered significant investment from multi-sports group Convers Sports Initiatives to roll out the two-flag game globally.

"Convers Sports Initiatives is expanding rapidly and PowerPlay Golf is a flagship property for us," said company Chairman Vladimir Antonov."

So what is PowerPlay Golf?
In simple it's a round of golf played over 9 holes with two flags on every green, an easy target (white flag) and a tricky PowerPlay pin (black flag). Golfers score points in the same way as a Stableford using their full handicap allowance, except they are given a limited number of PowerPlays and on these holes can score double points, but only if they record a net birdie or better when playing to the Black flag. Golfers must nominate their PowerPlay hole before taking their tee shot and must take at least three PowerPlays in their first eight holes. There is then the option to choose a bonus PowerPlay on the 9th , but if they take this and score a net bogey or worse, three points will be deducted from their scorecard.

This faster, fun format is designed to create extra pressure and more excitement, ideal for TV viewing and also for speeding up play, which is anticipated to last no longer than 3 hours.

Gary Player, nine-time Major Champion and golfing legend said: "You are standing in the middle of the 18 th fairway at Augusta National tied for the lead; what do you do? Do you go for the pin? If you hit it right you make birdie and win. If you don't, you make bogey and lose. Risk versus Reward - one of the toughest decisions a champion has to make. PowerPlay Golf is an exciting new competitive format where golfers attack tougher pin positions to achieve better scores. Now you can experience true risk versus reward on every hole and find out if you have the mind to manage the course correctly and take the right risks at the right time."

Giving back to the game
In addition to creating a more exciting and faster format of the game Peter McEvoy has worked closely with Golfing Unions and Federations from around the world to ensure that PowerPlay Golf gives back to the game. The first PowerPlay event, Ignition, is a perfect example of this. Although there is a generous player prize fund of £350,000 - £100,000 for the winner - 20% of that prize money must be pledged to the charity of that player's choice. World Number 7, Englishman Paul Casey has already chosen the English Golf Union (EGU) as his elected charity. "The EGU were a huge support to me when I was a young lad growing up," said Casey. "This is a fantastic opportunity to thank them by giving something back and providing support to our future generation of English champions."

Want to watch PowerPlay Golf Ignition?
PowerPlay Golf Ignition will be played at the Celtic Manor Resort's 2010 Course on Bank Holiday Monday 30 th May 2011. The event will be a unique opportunity for spectators to witness some of the greatest players, from both the men's and women's tours, test their skills in a new, exciting challenge. Day tickets to PowerPlay Ignition cost just £15 with season ticket holders to the Wales Open getting in for free. For more information visit www.powerplay-golf.com

PowerPlay Golf goes global
Although PowerPlay Golf Ignition is the launch event; it's just the start of what is set to become a global PowerPlay Golf Tour. There are already two follow-up events scheduled for 2011, the second PowerPlay Golf event in Asia on November 7 th and the third PowerPlay Golf event in the United States on November 25 th , each featuring an eclectic 12 player field of male and female Tour stars of all ages. The new quicker form of the game will be broadcast to a global audience and is expected to attract greater TV viewers thanks to the prospect of three hours of guaranteed sporting drama.

How can I join in and try PowerPlay Golf?
Over the next 12 months golf clubs across the UK and around the world will be encouraged to become PowerPlay Golf Official Venues by registering on the PowerPlay Golf website. Registered clubs will be sent a pack containing PowerPlay Golf flags and other branded materials. Clubs can then choose to hold PowerPlay Golf days following which participating golfers can register online to earn PowerPlay Dollars, enabling them to climb the PPG World Rankings and compete in user-generated PowerPlay Golf leagues both locally and around the world.








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