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22 Feb 2020 at 13:37

There are about 300 recesses on one golf ball, and thanks to them, the ball flies three times farther than a smooth one. ... Balls of the same size...

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Jason and team make this place beautiful and the tournament is fun and well run.

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Interview with Irish Minigolf Champion - Sean Kelly

Ireland 24 Feb 2018 at 15:12 | Published by: PatPenguin | Views: 23004 | News search

Interview with Irish Minigolf Champion - Sean Kelly
Sean Kelly  (Photo by Marion Homer)

The 2nd Irish Minigolf Open was held on February 10 and 11, 2018 and our reporter Steve Lovell was one of the participants. You can read his blog about the experience and check out the results and pictures at the links below. After the tournament he had a chance to catch up with Sean Kelly who won the Irish title at the tournament.

As we all know, the sport of minigolf continues to grow at a steady pace and it is always great to welcome new member nations into the WMF umbrella. One of the newer federations on the scene is the Irish Minigolf Associations, based in South Dublin. Coming out of that association is Sean Kelly. Sean is 19 years old and lives in Lucan, a few miles to the west of Dublin. He is a student, currently in his second year of a business and economics course at Trinity College. For the last decade, he's been a member of a golf club but has been swinging away ever since he could walk. What follows is a fascinating insight into expectations of a newcomer to minigolf and why the mental side is just as important as the putting itself.

Minigolfnews (MGN): Congratulations Sean. You are the new Irish Minigolf Champion. How does that feel to be a national champion?

Sean Kelly (SK): Thanks Steve. It feels great. After waiting a year to come back and have a second go at winning the national championship, it's a relief in a sense to finally have done it. The trophy is a very nice touch and it's safe to say my mam has it on display in the house for every visitor to see. I never thought I would be able to call myself the Irish Minigolf champion but it's a nice feeling.

MGN: This was your second crack at the Irish Open, having come runner up in the nationals last year. Did you think you could do it this time?

SK: I'm going to have to be honest and say I fully believed that I could take home the national title. Having been one of the only Irish players to have played last year, I felt like I already had a huge advantage over most of the field before we even started. Along with my prior knowledge of the course, I have great confidence in my putting, which I think was also a huge factor in helping me come out on top. Me and my friend Niall (who came fifth in the Irish tournament) went to practice on the Friday and we used some of the balls that had been left behind by some of the international pros (Karl Lakos and Christian Adler of Austria) the year before. We spent the practice session becoming used to some of the balls and I think this allowed me to have a much greater chance of making aces on holes I had no chance on doing so last year.

MGN: Bizarrely, your final score of 20 under was the same as in 2017. Looking at your rounds, you are remarkably consistent. What do you put that down to?

SK: My consistency is something I pride myself on. Obviously when it comes to putting, it helps to have a solid set up and stroke but I believe your mentality is more important. Something I have improved for my own golf game the last couple of years is the mental side of the game which is very applicable to minigolf. Going out on the course with a set game plan and sticking to that game plan no matter what is the foundation of a good mental attitude. It's about taking advantage of the momentum gained when the putts fall but more importantly it's about being patient when they don't. You can either be your own best friend or your own worst enemy out there and I think it's fairly obvious which one I try to be when I play. If you can consistently keep your head on your shoulders, you'll consistently get the scores in.

MGN: What attracted you to want to play in the Irish Minigolf Open and how much did you know about competitive minigolf before you took part?

SK: I first heard about the inaugural Irish open about a month before it took place on the radio. I was immediately attracted to it having always been a fan of the sport, playing whenever a course crossed my path. I'd never been out to the course in Dundrum and so I went out one evening with some friends to check it out. Being satisfied with my performance but more importantly having thoroughly enjoyed myself, I decided to sign up to the Open. I knew very little about competitive minigolf before I took part. I'd seen a couple of videos of the Masters that takes place in America. I was initially surprised to see the players take the game so seriously but decided to withhold my judgement as I'm an advocate of not knocking something until you try it. When I got to the Open the first year I took part, I was still surprised to learn about the seriousness of the competition. Seeing the pros with their equipment and level of commitment that they possessed was a strange experience at first. However, having played the game competitively twice now, I can completely understand why the pros play the way they do. It's their hobby and just like golf is mine, they'll do as much as they can to play as well as they can.

MGN: You're a pretty good golfer by all accounts. If I'm right, you're playing off of 5 (handicap). Other than the obvious differences, how does putting at minigolf and at 'big' golf compare?

SK: Yes, I do play off 5. There really isn't much of a difference for me in the way I play the two. For me, there's the two obvious differences: the course and the equipment. Apart from that they're both about getting the ball in the hole in as little strokes as possible. Although one thing I have noticed is that when you're putting on a green in golf there's really only one way to get the ball in the hole. Where as in minigolf an element of creativity comes into it, something that I love about the game. Being able to apply your imagination and explore all the possibilities of getting the ball into the hole is what really separates the two for me and makes minigolf that little bit more exciting.

MGN: Your playing partners for day one this year were Niall Gibbons, who finished third, and Adam Kelly, who won the overall title. What is it like being in a group with someone like Adam, who is exceptional around Dublin, and what did you felt you learned from watching him play?

SK: It was a great experience playing with someone like Adam. Being able to witness one of the finest players of the game is something I'm glad I've gotten to do. To see just how good you can be at the game was eye opening. Of course, Adam himself was an honour to play with and a true gent. Adam was very accommodating to me and Niall and encouraged us the whole way through. I was glad to see him become the deserving defending champion. I learned a lot from Adam. He explained to me about the putters they use and what the differences between all the different balls are. From watching him play and now understanding the equipment I was able to see the rationale behind why and how he played each hole they way he did. I think playing with Adam will benefit me going forward and I thank him for his help and knowledge.

MGN: Do you think playing minigolf can make you improve your putting at golf?

SK: Funny you mention that Steve. After playing in the Open last year, I went on to have a successful summer playing golf. Much of this success was due to the vast improvement in my putting. I think where the minigolf helps is in being able to read the greens and find out to get the ball into the hole. It also made me realise that I should be putting every putt to make it. Also, after playing on holes with no direct access to the hole and monstrous hills in the way you really appreciate the straight putts on the greens a lot more.
MGN: What would you say to people who might want to enter next year?

SK: Go for it. You have nothing to lose and even if you don't think you'll win a prize, it's a great weekend out. I can't say enough how enjoyable the weekend is. It's great fun and if you put a bit of practice in you might even win a prize.

MGN: Do you think in the next few years that we could see someone from Ireland challenging for the overall title?

SK: That really depends. If some of the Irish players put in some solid and consistent practice I don't see why one of us couldn't contend. It'll take a lot of work and practice but hopefully with time we will slowly get better and better and work our way up the scoreboard.

MGN: The general buzz that the international players got from the Irish competitors was that you were all really willing to learn and interested in the sport. Do you think this could develop into more events in Ireland over the coming years?

SK: I hope so. Some of the players are very keen to start something and we have established a Facebook group chat. On my part, I would very much like to play more than the one weekend a year I make it out to the Irish open. However, it's a question of time and commitment for me as I'm sure it could be for some of the others as well. For me personally, I have a busy life that I would find it hard to play every week in and also a long commute out to the minigolf course. However, it seems likely that we will get together every now and again for some practice and hopefully with some improvement we can hold an event of our own.

MGN: Many thanks for your time, Sean, and we hope to see you back on a minigolf course very soon.

SK: Thanks for the opportunity to do this Steve.

» Final Results
» Irish Minigolf Association Facebook




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Education Through Miniature Golf - Part 5

World 18 Feb 2018 at 13:50 | views: 22089 | Comments: 0

The topic of the educational miniature golf has been hot in the social media world. In our last installment (Part 4) we covered 3D courses, art and education and one class that combined a ton of disciplines into one learning objective. The articles we've select ...
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Minigolfnews 09 Feb 2018 at 13:40 | views: 19722 | Comments: 0

With most of 2018 sitting before us like a freshly swept lane, we wanted everyone to know about the variety of opportunities there are to get involved with Minigolfnews.com and the world of miniature golf. We hope that some of you take us up on these so we can ...
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Interview with Past BMGA Chairman Sean Homer

United Kingdom 06 Feb 2018 at 14:21 | views: 24137 | Comments: 1

Stability of leadership in an organization helps to ensure that the organization is steering towards the right goal. Over the past 11 years, the British Mini Golf Association (BMGA) had such stability as Sean Homer guided the group as the Chairman. Recently Sean ...
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Interview with Past BMGA Chairman Sean Homer

Gary Shiff Wins Balmy Ice Breaker Open

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United States of America 31 Jan 2018 at 13:44 | views: 20253 | Comments: 0

Having a tournament outside in the Northeast United States in January is always a crap shoot when it comes to the weather. With the name "Ice Breaker" in the title, one would expect below freezing temperatures and a lot of snow and ice on the ground, but this ...
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Ireland 24 Feb 2018 at 15:12 | PatPenguin
Interview with Irish Minigolf Champion - Sean Kelly

World 18 Feb 2018 at 13:50 | PatPenguin
Education Through Miniature Golf - Part 5

Minigolfnews 09 Feb 2018 at 13:40 | PatPenguin
Join the Minigolf Family!

United Kingdom 06 Feb 2018 at 14:21 | PatPenguin
Interview with Past BMGA Chairman Sean Homer

United States of America 31 Jan 2018 at 13:44 | PatPenguin
Gary Shiff Wins Balmy Ice Breaker Open

Sweden 28 Jan 2018 at 15:15 | PatPenguin
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Elmer Lawson Slays Monsters in First Leg of Winter Tour

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