Since the European Tour has announced the GolfSixes tournament, there's been a lot of talk -- at least, here in America -- about the new format. While those of you in Europe and elsewhere around the world may be familiar with it, we aren't. So I did a little research to try and come to a simple explanation for those of us who aren't used to it.
The format is called greensomes, and it's not something we see over here in the USA very often. I say 'very often' because we do see it at least once every year. It's used in the Shark Shootout but there it's called modified alternate shot. You might think of it as a cross between foursomes and scramble -- both players tee off, choose the best shot, then the other player hits the second shot and they alternate until the ball is holed.
If you saw any of the Vivendi Cup / Seve Cup events, you've also seen this format. It was called greensomes in that event.
Golf Monthly UK's page about greensomes says that this format is more forgiving because not every shot counts. A team struggling off the tee might still score well if just one player is driving well, while in foursomes, every shot counts. It's a good choice for an event that is meant to be more fun for spectators to watch, since they're more likely to see good golf.
And just as an interesting sidenote, the About.com page about greensomes says there's an alternative version called gruesomes (I also found the name bloodsomes used elsewhere), in which each team uses their WORST drive instead of their best. And to make sure that it really is the worst drive, their opponents get to pick which drive they use.
Now that sounds like an interesting alternative format for a tournament! Perhaps the European Tour might consider adding a round of that...