British amateur launches PowerPlay Golf in India

India hopes to do for golf what they have done for Twenty 20 cricket.

The sports-loving Indians may not have invented either game but they have provided the platform to enhance the spectacle thanks to their huge fan base.

For instance, T20 cricket, courtesy of the Indian Premier League, is a multi-million dollay industry in India where the world’s top players gather every season to play for regional teams around the country.

Now, a British amateur golfer and course designer, Peter McEvoy, is hoping the advent of PowerPlay Golf can have the same crowd-pulling effect on India’s golf fans as T20 has done for cricket.

At a press conference in Mumbai, McEvoy unveiled his plans for the game, which involves golfers playing over nine holes and having two flags to target, with bonus points and nett birdies on offer for those selecting the tougher black flags.

McEvoy, a former Walker Cup captain, said he was inspired by shortened versions of sports that have done well globally, such as T20 cricket, sevens rugby and five-a-side football. He said in an Indian online news portal:

“We realised the audiences were dropping steadily maybe because golf was taking too long. So we came up with a shorter and exciting format for golf too. We believe in the mantra that half the time, twice the excitement.”

The “PowerPlay” part is a term also borrowed from cricket. In cricket, powerplay is when a team chooses to bowl under certain fielding restrictions. In golf, each golfer has three powerplays within the first eight holes in which they must go for the more difficult hole.

PowerPlay Golf shares another aspect with T20 cricket in that both games originated in England.

According to the news report, the first game was played on February 6, 2007 by 16 British golf journalists at the Playgolf Northwick Park course in London.

Seven months later, Surrey 3-handicapper David Kemp won the first ever National championship at Hampton Court Palace Golf Club.

The sport has since been played in 140 courses in UK, 14 in Australia and 30 in South Africa. The first dedicated PowerPlay golf course is being built in East Kilbride, Scotland, says the report.

India will play its part in popularising the game with the Signature Club Golf Championship, involving more than 40 clubs all over the country. It tees off on September 26 and ends on December 14.

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