Looking back on the BMGA 2016 Season
19 Mar 2017 at 12:16 | Published by: PatPenguin | Views: 2520 | News search
Editor's Note: Thank you to Scott Lancley and Martin Greenhead for putting together this below recap of the BMGA 2016 season. With so many events on their schedule it's great to get a season in review before jumping too far into the 2017 season which has already kicked off with success. You can always visit their page (linked below) for more information about their events. » BMGA Website
British Minigolf Association had another packed and successful 2016 tournament calendar both on the domestic and international front. The year was dominated once again by one player, Michael Smith (Captain of Midland Mini golf club), who won all but two of the twelve strokeplay tournaments in 2016.
The season started off indoors in February with the English Open returning to The Lost City course in Nottingham. Michael Smith took the title with a 5 shot lead over Sean Homer.
The first outdoor event of the season took place the following week at the Planet Hastings Crazy Golf Open which once again was contested over all three of the Hastings courses and hosted in the special style of Ted McIver and his array of prizes for the Top 16. Michael Smith took the title, with Sean Homer finishing 5 shots behind for second place.
The second club event, Midland Open, hosted by Four Ashes golf centre, in Dorridge, was to be the last event to be seen on the old course. Michael Smith won, with the Wasps team members of Nuno Cunha and Steve Lovell closely behind.
Moving in to April, the British Masters took place at Splash Point, Worthing, for the fifth year in a row and the battle for the tweed jacket was as intense as ever. Steve Lovell put up a good fight, pulling level with Michael Smith after 3 rounds but Michael pulled out a second 29 to finish 2 shots ahead – the tweed jacket was on his back after an absence of two years.
The singles action paused at the end of April as the Club Championships took place at tough Strokes course, in Margate. Eight teams from five clubs contested the title with the Kent Spitfires of Kent Minigolf club, victorious for a record fifth time, beating the CEMGC 2&1 in the final match.
The first major of the season was the British Championships at Wroxham Barns, Norfolk. Adam Kelly took the title, with Michael Smith a shot behind. Sean Homer won the Senior title and Will Donnelly and Ruth Burke retained the Junior and Women titles respectively.
The tour made its second trip to Hastings in June, with the World Crazy Golf Championships taking place on its usual Crazy Golf course, but in a new (and slightly drier) Summer slot. A large 71 player field contested the title with Michael Smith winning with Sean Homer once again in second place and Mark Wood taking the third spot. In the Novice category, Ed Pope took the title beating Matt Bray and the rest of the participants by 5 strokes.
In July, the tour stopped off in Essex with the CEMGC Open and the British Doubles Championship being contested at Dunton Hills, Brentwood. Michael Smith won convincingly with Steve Lovell and Mark Wood 9 shots behind. The Doubles Championship took place the following day, the Vespas team of Steve Lovell and Nuno Cunha, saw off the challenge of Geminigolf (Ruth Burke and Steve Sturdy).
Later the following month, the Splash Point Open was staged, not surprisingly, at Splash Point. Could Michael win there for the second time in 2016? Yes, he certainly did, with the Vespas behind him, Nuno Cunha taking second and Steve Lovell picking up third place.
After the Summer break the tour stopped off in Hastings for the third and final time. The final Major event, the British Open, took place on the Hastings Pirate course, a favourite with the players with the tourists getting close to the action, with crowds gathering along the promenade. After a tense final round, Michael Smith won the title with 2 holes to go in the final round, with Adam Kelly in second despite two rounds of 24.
The tour returned indoors in October returning to Treetop Adventure Golf in Cardiff, for the second year in a row to contest the Welsh Open. Michael Smith took his 9th title of the year with a commanding lead of 12 ahead of Seve Kukielka. Russell Crocker retained trophy for the top local novice.
The final outdoor & club tournament of the year was the Kent Open at Mr Mulligan’s Dino Golf, in Sidcup. Will Donnelly, of Midland Mini golf club, took the title for the second time with Kent’s Andy Exall and Sean Homer in second and third.
The last event of the year was the season finale Star City Open in Birmingham, thankfully indoors given the biting Winter winds outside. Michael Smith once again took first place after a play-off with Martin Greenhead, Michael clinically winning with an ‘Ace’ on the first hole.
A great end to a fantastic domestic season, Michael Smith stood at the top of both the BMGA Order of Merit and the BMGA Shield (formerly know as the Season Only Rankings.). Winners of Cat 2 and Cat 3/4 BMGA Shield were a family affair in which Paul Johnson (Dad), and Owen Johnson (Son), taking their respective titles.
2016 closing Order of Merit
2016 closing BMGA Shield
On the International front, Great Britain fielded teams in 4 events, kitted out by our sponsor Urban Crazy. First off were Steve Lovell, Paul Preston and Adrian Amey at the Nations Cup, in Vizela, Portugal, a great learning experience on the minigolf lanes.
Six players (Mark Wood, Steve Lovell, Martin Greenhead, Andy Wilde, Paul Preston and Adrian Amey) took part in the World Adventure Golf Masters in Pristina, Kosovo, the inaugural tournament in the country. A special mention goes to Steve Lovell who made the cut for the super final.
A large squad traveled to Lahti, Finland to play in the Senior Championships, with Derek Bentall, Sean Homer, Tony Kelly, Adrian Amey and Dave Donnelly being coached by Adam Kelly.
Finally, James Rutherford, Adam Kelly, Freddie Blackburn-Shaw, Will Donnelly, Chris Wood, Ruth Burke and Adrian “Air Miles” Amey went to Vizela, Portugal, coached by local player and familiar BMGA Tour Pro Nuno Cunha.
The BMGA always welcomes international players to the World Crazy Golf Championship (in June), and our British Open (in July), which in 2017 will be both contested on the courses of The Hastings seafront. Look out for the future information on both events on our official website.
The BMGA and its members, would like to thank Martin Greenhead (who is mainly responsible for this 2016 season wrap-up), and Tony Kelly for their voluntary work over the last 2 years as part of the BMGA Executive Committee. We’d also like to highlight the work of Keith Kellard over the last 10 years as part of the EC, and in a supporting role with our IT needs. Many thanks gentlemen, and may your putting continue to head for the hole, and drop!