Interview with Filipe Costa
20 Apr 2019 at 13:47 | Published by: PatPenguin | Views: 1124 | News search
Filipe and team in London (Photo by Filipe Costa)
In November last year, an intrepid bunch of minigolf explorers from The Azores in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean visited Great Britain to take part in a club event. Filipe Costa, Duarte Mendes, Jose Garcia and Fabio Simoes competed in the Kent Open, representing União Desportiva Praiense Minigolf. They left a lasting impression on everyone who met them and made a number of new friends. Reporter Steve Lovell caught up with Filipe Costa to ask him about what made the group want to play so far from home and about the experience itself, as well his own course in The Azores. » Course Facebook
Steve Lovell - MinigolfNews (MGN): Hello Filipe, tell me a little bit about yourself?
Filipe Costa (FC): Hello, everyone. I’m 33 years old and I live in a small village called Agualva in the Azores, where we have a golf course (Terceira Island Golf Course), just between the two small cities that we have on the island, Praia da Vitória and Angra do Heroismo. I am married to Marilda and soon our daughter, Amelia, will be born. I started up a small minigolf business five years ago and before that, I worked nine years in computer programming.
MGN: How old were you when you first played minigolf and what did you like about it?
FC: I started playing minigolf in the United States. I was 14 years old and it was the first time I visited the USA. From then, I went there several times because I had a lot of family living there. I played in various fields because at the time I was practicing golf and as we were on vacation with the family. There is nothing better than going to play minigolf because everyone could play.
Quickly, minigolf fascinated me. In golf, I had already reached the Portugal national team but I was not interested in becoming a professional in a small island like Terceira, so I took advantage of the technical and teaching knowledge that came from this time.
What I like best about minigolf is a competitive and leisure sports practice that offers challenging moments of relaxation and fun, wellness promoters and contact with nature. It is an experience within everyone's reach without exception, that does not require special abilities, physical motor skills or particular technical dexterity to play it.
MGN: Tell us about The Azores, for people who have never been there.
FC: Our islands are very beautiful, the New York Times ranked it number nine on its list of places to visit this year, ahead of Zadar (CRO), Las Vegas (USA), Salvador (BRA and Costalegre (MEX). The lush green mantle, the giant volcanic craters, which are now lakes, from the natural springs that pour steam through the earth and the thousands of blue hydrangeas. For a selection of pictures of the beauty of The Azores, visit www.byacores.com.
MGN: You own the course in Praia da Vitoria, Adventure Island Minigolf. As well as the course itself, what else do you have there?
FC: I joined an already existing club here on Terceira island and we started with minigolf sport. Today, we are about forty minigolf athletes from the União Desportiva Praiense Minigolfe club, duly federated in the Portuguese Minigolf Federation, growing and showing what this model has the best, taking part in some tournaments in Portugal and also in the United Kingdom. I drew a field around the map of the nine islands of The Azores and created a unique business based on our islands with a support snack bar, where I also make several custom events for up to forty people.
Course Photos. Credit: Filipe Costa
MGN: Living on an island, do you get much chance to play in competitions in Portugal?
FC: We already participated in different tournaments in Portugal in fields with other types, such as Minigolf, Felt or Peter, but our club is focused on being the best in Portugal at Minigolf Open Standard (MOS).
MGN: Last summer, you first looked at playing in events in Great Britain. What made you want to play there?
FC: As more than 95% of the competitions in Portugal are on non-MOS courses, our club tried to play where there are the best players of Europe at MOS, and I have no doubt that where there are more quality players in this type of field is in the UK. These were the reasons that led us to participate in Sidcup at the Kent Open 2018 last year. The UK is and will be our favourite chosen destination whenever we want to play outside of Portugal.
MGN: You chose the Kent Open in Sidcup to the south east of London. Tell us about your time at the competition, the other three players that came with you and did you get to see London?
FC: Our participation in a event on the British Minigolf Association tour was very productive. It gave us a glimpse of what happens in high level competitions. We met very friendly people, family of miniature golf players. They helped us to get to know part of the city of London in two days which is without a doubt, a wonderful and charming city. We even saw the Queen enter Buckingham Palace because we were at the palace door when she was coming back from the one hundred year anniversary of the end of the First World War. That was quite lucky.
MGN: Did you do as well as you hoped? You finished joint 10th in a very large field.
FC: My 10th place in 44 top players was very good and prestigious for our club and Portugal representation. The first round was 40 (+4) and I recovered in the second with 35 (-1) and finished with 37 (+1). For me, who had just done an afternoon of training in Sidcup to know the field and play with a different ball was an excellent performance. It is a sign that in the future, we can have several top players, we have many good players in our club already, I am one of them. It is early to speak of results because I believe that sooner or later, there will be other players from our club that will also have good performances in other tournaments.
MGN: Do you hope this maybe the beginning of an exchange between Great Britain and The Azores?
FC: The destination of The Azores will always be open doors to receive you all, I can help with all the logistics on whichever islands you choose to visit. If anyone came to Terceira Island and wants to participate in any of our tournaments or vacations with your family, just let me know. I can offer the island tour if you choose Terceira Island. I did this recently with Brad Shepherd, Chris Jones and Alan Norman, who were long time players on the Great Britain tour. There are flights that make it very easy to exchange between The Azores and Great Britain if you like nature tourism. You can also choose to visit the Algarve in Portugal and enjoy excellent miniature golf courses. I invite you all to participate in our Portugal Open MOS at Albufeira Minigolf Park on 2 and 3 November. Come and join us.
Before concluding this interview, I would like to thank two people in particular, Sean Homer and Steve Lovell and for helping us a lot to our club when we moved to England They were relentless with us, and they helped us in everything we had doubts in or needed. A number of players provided putting equipment as well. União Desportiva Praiense Minigolf (UDPM) sends a huge hug to all Minigolf athletes.