Last Wednesday, 44 intrepid Golf Monthly forumers and staff got to sample golf’s new PowerPlay format for themselves in a special event at The Grove in Hertfordshire, the only English course to have hosted a WGC event.

This new format is played over nine holes using Stableford scoring with a couple of crucial differences – a second ‘black’ flag on each green usually in a tougher position, and extra points on offer for success when playing to the black flag.

Pictures: PowerPlay pictures gallery

Each player must use three black flag PowerPlays in the first eight holes with an optional fourth available on the 9th. Nett birdies or better score double Stableford points, with no downside until the 9th where if the gamble goes wrong and you score nett bogey or worse you lose three points.

Great fun was had by all trying to work out where best to use their PowerPlays with lower handicappers generally favouring the lower stroke index holes in search of nett birdies rather than gross birdies elsewhere.

At the end of an exciting nine holes, the master strategist turned out to be 11-handicapper Stewart Farrell, who chose his PowerPlays wisely, making nett birdies on all four to boost his score by 24 points. His winning tally of 33 eclipsed runner-up Tim Burnett – who converted three of his four PowerPlays – by three.

Unluckiest man in the field was Gary Mitchell who racked up an amazing five gross birdies in nine holes… but only one of them on a PowerPlay hole – the tough 5th – where he amassed 8 PowerPlay points. His 27-point return did at least give him the consolation of 3rd place.

Read what our select group of forumers thought of their first PowerPlay experience here.