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How do you think COVID-19 will impact international minigolf tournaments in 2021?

- No Impact - All Happen as Scheduled

- Minor Impact - A Couple Change Dates

- Major Impact - Several Get Canceled

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Interview with Marc Chapman - Defending WCGC Champion

United Kingdom 03 Jun 2019 at 14:26 | Published by: PatPenguin | Views: 3673 | News search

Interview with Marc Chapman - Defending WCGC Champion
2018 WCGC Winning Shot  (Photo by Marion Homer, KMGC)

With the World Crazy Golf Championships (WCGC) starting this weekend coming in Hastings, what better way to build up to one of the most unique events in the minigolf world than to catch up with the defending champion, Marc Chapman of the Kent Minigolf Club. Affectionately known as Chappers on the tour, he has won a total of eleven titles, including the British Masters, the British Open, the British Doubles twice, as well as his lifelong ambition to be a world champion. Minigolfnews reporter Steve Lovell spoke with Marc on the eve of the 17th World Crazy Golf Championships to get his thoughts, his job as a Fencing coach and how psychology transgenders sports.

Minigolfnews (MGN): Hi Marc, tell us a bit about yourself. What were your interests when growing up?

Marc Chapman (MC): I’m 33 and live in Canterbury. Sport has always been a part of my life. I’m from West Kent originally but spent much of my childhood in southern Spain, where I moved with my family. Living on the Costa del Sol, it was hard to avoid having fun playing golf on some of the best courses in Europe. I returned to the UK in my teens. My dad was a Taekwondo instructor in his younger days, so my sister and I were encouraged to train and compete in this combat sport.

MGN: How did you get into fencing and when did you start to take it seriously? What level did you reach?

MC: I first encountered the sport of fencing at a school taster session, and quickly discovered it gave me much more freedom to be creative and express myself than the very rigid parameters of Taekwondo; I was hooked. By the time I left school, I was a youth international in Epee, but knew that I didn’t have the ability to become a top senior at world level.

MGN: The coaching side, you coach at several schools and clubs and also national level. Was this always your ambition? What skills do you need to be good at fencing?

MC: I had already started coaching part-time and decided to pursue a coaching diploma by moving to Budapest for a year to study. I now have my own business coaching fencing full-time in schools and sports clubs in the South-East, as well as being an athlete development coach for British Fencing. Fencing is the ultimate combination of technique, tactics and timing. It challenges the mind and body to perform under high pressure situations. Executing training programmes, pre-competition preparation, post-competition analysis, nutrition and psychology are also key parts to achieving within the sport. These skills honed as a competitive fencer, and now reinforced in my coaching, have certainly had a major influence on how I approach minigolf.

MGN: You started playing minigolf in 2009, with your most successful period around 2010-2011, picking up three individual victories. You were the first Briton to win the British Open. What are your memories of that weekend?

MC: I actually started playing in late 2008. I remember reading about an annual WCGC in Hastings in a Sunday supplement article. A little research online led me to the BMGA and Kent Minigolf Club. I was inspired to join! I played in the very first Cup Cake Classic a few months later, newly equipped with my Nifo Ryner left-handed putter and a few minigolf balls purchased online from Sweden. Within a year I found myself challenging for titles, winning my first at the 2010 Kent Invitational Tournament, then narrowly missing out in a play-off for the Kent Open the next day at Strokes Adventure Golf in Margate.

2011 was a fantastic year for so many reasons. I found a new consistency to my game as I gradually became more experienced and confident. Winning the British Masters in Margate, leading the GBR team at the first ever World Adventure Golf Masters (WAGM) event in Hastings, and retaining the British Doubles title at Dorridge with Chris Harding, would be highlights in any British player’s career. But the crazy few weeks in Stockholm and Sidcup at the end of summer really stand out. At the WMF World Minigolf Championships in Stockholm, I managed to assemble possibly the greatest GBR team ever to travel to an international event. These events effectively turn into a week-and-a-half long training camp with the combination of highly technical courses and intensive training sessions before you even get to experience the atmosphere of the event itself! Returning from Stockholm, I felt far more confident and in control of my technique and game, ready to perform at the British Open at Sidcup. All the talk before the Open was on the interesting new course choice and the possibility of finally having a first British winner in its fourteen year history. I personally liked the course and found that it suited my playing style. I started well, and was a shot behind going into day two, with the help of my course record 27 in round three. I remember acing hole 15 in the final round to bring the scores level with Michael Smith, which proved crucial as we both aced the volcano on 17 leaving us level down the last. The rest is history I suppose! My first major title and Great Britain’s first ever British Open winner. Coincidentally, no foreign player has won it since…

MGN: From 2013 onwards, your minigolf involvement lessened, why was this

MC: I announced my retirement from the regular tour at the end of the 2012 season as it had become more difficult to find the weekend time to play minigolf, due to my competition commitments in the world of fencing. My love for the sport has never diminished and I have always made myself available to offer support and guidance; also playing in a few events when possible.

MGN: You've had an obsession with the WCGC for as long as I've known you. What is so special to you about the tournament? Did you actually believe before last year that winning the World Crazies was ever going to happen?

MC: The WCGC is the reason I found the sport of minigolf in the first place. It’s been a great personal ambition to become a World Champion at something; so why not win the pinnacle of crazy golf?! I’ve loved spending time playing in Hastings over the years, returning annually to test myself against the iconic Crazy Golf course and the elements. It will always be a special event for me; even after winning it. It’s taken ten years to achieve. If I’m being honest I would say that I probably expected to win it sooner, back when I was playing regularly. But having said that, the list of champions is a very small, select group of all-time great players, proving that it must be one of the toughest tournaments to conquer in the game. There’s something about the continuous evolution of this course. Its owners, Hastings Adventure Golf, are constantly repairing, re-felting and re-painting the holes. The exposed seafront position with its changing wind strengths and direction, the savage sun-scorched afternoons or gusting storms that flood the holes are attritional. The fact that after six regular rounds, the top eighteen players have to play a seventh final round with the now legendary ‘crazy-crazy rules’ with the group’s three ball’s all in play; with hundreds of spectators watching every dramatic moment as the last few shots unfold under the spotlight of photographers and television cameras add a further challenge. It really is the ultimate test!

MGN: The WCGC 2018 is your greatest moment. You played exceptionally for the first six rounds, not dropping a shot. What was your technique and secret to playing so consistently?

MC: As I’ve said before, consistency comes with experience and confidence. Staying patient and focused is important too. No secrets; just lots of hard work. I was really pleased with how I played all weekend.

MGN: Like myself 12 months before, you went into the final round with a two-shot lead. You had the two of the very best in your group, Adam Kelly and Michael Smith. What was your plan at the start of that round to combat them? Talk me through that final round, in particular the 10th (where you took the four) and the final three holes? When did you think 'I've got this'? What does this mean to you to be a world champion?

MC: Michael is the undisputed greatest British player ever and Adam isn’t far behind. The truth is, trying to combat them won’t work; they’re too good! I can only focus on my own game, see what happens, and react; especially when all balls are in play at the same time. I dropped shots on holes 1 and 10 in the final round but gained a few along the way too. I was still confident as I approached the final three holes and was able to react with good aces on 16 and 17 to take the lead again. My second shot on 18 was one of the toughest I’d faced all weekend. Half of the hole was obscured by my opponent’s ball. Absolute precision was required to become World Champion. I trusted my ability to putt straight and I rolled it in perfectly. Only then could I relax and enjoy the moment: ambition fulfilled!

MGN: You have a very measured approach to minigolf. Is this something that fencing has helped with? How does that mindset help in a minigolf situation and what were you telling yourself over those final holes?

MC: My background in competitive sport has definitely influenced the way I approach minigolf. Taking things one hole at a time is a similar concept applied to fencing with its point-by-point approach. It helps you deal with the highs and lows of the round as they occur and keeps you level-headed. I was confident that I had the ability to play those last holes well enough to have a chance of winning. That’s all you can do. On that occasion, it was enough.

MGN: Having now achieved your dream of becoming World Crazy Golf Champion, is that it for you now?

MC: I’ll be back in Hastings this year to compete for the title again. I look forward to seeing the usual crowd of experienced players and catching up. The novice title is always exciting to watch and it’s always great to see some new players coming through. This year the new Junior event on the Friday evening will add something different with its shortened format for the under 14’s.

MGN: What else have you got your eye on?

MC: I’ve yet to compete in the USA at minigolf. This is something that increasingly appeals to me, especially having seen Olivia Prokopova’s recent successes there {including the 2019 U.S. Open win}, and the new MSOP tournaments with significant prize money on offer.

MGN: When you look back at your minigolf career, do you have any regrets or any other highlights?

MC: Whilst looking back is nice to do occasionally, I prefer to look to the future. I’m not ready to hang the putter up for good just yet…

Thank you to Marc for taking the time to talk with us and best of luck in WCGC 2019!




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Oceania Championships Held at Putt Putt Mermaid Beach

Australia 31 May 2019 at 13:38 | views: 3719 | Comments: 0

The first ever and 2019 WMF Oceania Championships were recently held on the immaculately prepared and maintained Mermaid Beach Putt Putt course on the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. Competition began on the 11th and concluded on the 12th May. There were 37 ...
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Oceania Championships Held at Putt Putt Mermaid Beach

Olivia Prokopova Wins Her Fourth U.S. Open

Olivia Prokopova Wins Her Fourth U.S. Open

United States of America 27 May 2019 at 14:07 | views: 4400 | Comments: 0

Tega Cay, South Carolina – For the second time in three years, Olivia Prokopova proved she could handle the heat of a USPMGA U.S. Open and finished at the top of a very competitive field for the 22nd running of the event. Mirroring the over 90 (F - ~33C) ...
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U.S. Open Interview with Course Owner and a Tournament Partner

United States of America 18 May 2019 at 13:48 | views: 3674 | Comments: 0

Tega Cay, SC – The 22nd United States ProMiniGolf Association’s (USPMGA) U.S. Open will be held May 24th & 25th, returning to South Carolina, once the home of the Open. After more than a decade of being held in Myrtle Beach, home of the USPMGA Master’s, the ...
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U.S. Open Interview with Course Owner and a Tournament Partner

Sweden Division 1 South Gathers at Gullbergsbro

Sweden Division 1 South Gathers at Gullbergsbro

Sweden 14 May 2019 at 13:15 | views: 3568 | Comments: 0

Swedish minigolf association has for the first time decided that team gatherings within Svenska Serien can be held on MOS courses. Last weekend both Div 1 leagues had gatherings playing on MOS. In the northern league they played in Sundsvall and in the southern ...
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 31 Oct 2021 (1 day)

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