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Interview with Marko Nuotio


Finland 26 Mar 2009 at 19:42 | Published by: JJM | Views: 7468 | News search

Interview with Marko Nuotio
Marko Nuotio at Kirjurinluoto minigolf center in Pori, Finland.  (Photo by John Mittler 2000.)

Pasi Aho had an interview with Finnish minigolf player Marko Nuotio.

PA:
Many people know the minigolfer Marko Nuotio, but give us a description of the actual person Marko Nuotio.

MN:
Age 44 years, so I will go to oldtimers category next year... Single, living in Vantaa right now, and planning my future after 12 years of work at Nokia.

PA:
What other hobbies than minigolf are you involved with?

MN:
Minigolf is quite clearly my hobby number one. At other times I go to summer cottage, or sometimes play billiards if I get someone to play with me, which doesn’t happen very often.

PA:
Many people regard you as one of the true legends and icons of Finnish minigolf. (Though these words may sound like the best years are behind, already.) Marko, are you a legend in Finnish minigolf?

MN:
Maybe I wouldn’t use the word "legend". But it is true that I have been involved with the game longer than Finnish Minigolf Federation has existed, and I have seen and done quite many things along the way.

PA:
How, where, and when did your minigolf career begin?

MN:
My career began somewhere in the beginning of 1970’s, at the minigolf course of Sibelius Park in Helsinki. My older brother Ilkka was an active hobby player back then, and I visited the minigolf course with him every now and then.

I played my first competition in 1975, when I was 11 years old. The now recently deceased Ilmari Louko often played rounds with me, for a small money bet. He was an important person in the junior work of our minigolf club. Not that he would have lost much money to us juniors... but I always knew, when going to the minigolf course, that it would be easy to find a playing companion. Often we played all day together. Thanks to Ilmari for those times.

PA:
I am greatly interested to hear the own opinion of a player with so many merits: What is your greatest moment on minigolf courses?

MN:
I have seen quite some great moments, but the greatest of all must be the team gold medal at Nordic Championships 2002 in Pori, Finland. Sweden had nearly the same team that won gold at 2001 World Championships in Vaasa. Team Sweden seemed very self-confident after the first competition day, but we managed to keep them behind us, all the way to the end. The three last rounds of Tom Ahlberg as anchor player, 19-19-19, greatly helped our team, and lifted Tom to bronze medal in individual competition, after a tied score and sudden death play-off.

Also 2001 World Championships in Vaasa were one of my greatest experiences. An excellent team, great team spirit, and silver medal nearly within reach. Unfortunately our game wasn’t quite strong enough for a place higher than 4th, but we lost only 8 points to silver medalists. I wish that Jari Kinnunen had been with us, I think that silver would have been quite probable for us...

Personally my best memory is also from Vaasa, where I won gold at Nordic Championships 1994. After the bad felt game on first day, I already thought that all hope is gone. But my excellent felt game in the second day brought me back to the battle for medals.

We ended up in tied score with Kari Hakala of Sweden, so we played a six lanes play-off. The first six lanes didn’t make a difference, so we continued with a sudden death play-off from lane 1. At lane 2, which was German slide of the eternite course, I scored a hole-in-one, and Kari missed a few millimeters, so the game was over.

My best game of all time must be at 1991 World Championships in Oslo, where I was 5th after the eight preliminary rounds. But in the cup matches I met my destiny already in the first match against Petr Cipro, so I didn’t get a very high rank in the final scores.

PA:
As a counterpart for the last question, there must have been some less good moments too. Which of them has left the deepest mark in your memories?

MN:
Also this memory must be from Vaasa. In the first round of European Championships 1984, I got five points at the Flash lane of eternite. It took the best edge from my concentration, and the rest of the competition was quite tough work. I am happy that we got team bronze anyway, and also the individual gold went to a member of our club.

PA:
Does an "icon" like you have any own idols among minigolfers?

MN:
There have been some, especially during my junior years. Such names like Johann Wagner, Ronny Möller and Kjell-Åke Bengtsson maybe say something to those who played minigolf in 1980’s. Of the players of the present day, I cannot help marvelling and wondering at the performance of Carl-Johan Ryner. Without forgetting the Erlbruch brothers, mostly Harald nowadays.

PA:
Any idols outside of minigolf circles?

MN:
From outside of minigolf circles it is difficult to think of any idols. But this is a good chance to mention that my favourites in various fields come mostly from 1970’s and 1980’s: Pink Floyd in music, Johan Cruyff in soccer, and Wayne Gretzky in ice hockey, just to mention a few names.

PA:
In your youth, and maybe also later in adulthood, you were known as a player with a fiery temperament... not much like the many peaceful gentlemen on top of Finnish minigolf. How did you get into such hot beat, was it a conscious choice, or did you just go wherever the emotions lead? Nowadays all action on minigolf courses has become much calmer (also generally, and not only in your case).

MN:
It was just pure emotions. In younger age I threw a few putters to the sea near our minigolf course, in competitions as small as a weekly club tournament. Nowadays I can keep the emotions much better under control. Also the putter has remained the same for nearly 20 years. I am getting old, I guess. ;-)

PA:
This will be a rarely asked question, but somehow in your case it seems natural to ask: Who is the best minigolf referee that you have met?

MN:
I cannot name anyone particular, but a good referee is invisible most of the time, yet takes action when there is any problem or uncertainty among players, for example concerning the rules of moving the ball from wall. Margus Jaago has been closely controlling the time limits at international competitions, perhaps making the game roll a bit faster. Kosti Salonen maybe has a different opinion about this. ;-)

PA:
You have seen many countries and places in your minigolf travels, maybe more than anyone else in Finland. To which minigolf course, to which competition, and to which city do you always want to return, yet once more?

MN:
The most pleasant place must be Kloten, Zürich, Switzerland. Not because of the city (nothing wrong with it), but because of the great annual tournament and a beautiful minigolf course. I have played the Kloten marathon every year since 1985, but I haven’t had much time to see the city itself, Zürich.

In Finland, Vaasa is the most pleasant competition city, without any complaints about the other cities.

PA:
How does your near future in minigolf look like? Still looking for a place in the national team? Practice rounds coaches vs. juniors at the junior championships of the summer? Sibelius Park MGC dominating the national team competitions in Finland?

MN:
I am always looking for a place in the national team. I hope that my skills are still good enough to be there fighting for the colours of Finland. We have already agreed about junior coaching duties, both for Nations Cup and European Championships. It is great to see the game also from this viewpoint, and trying to help the team to good performance with my experience and skills.

Sibelius Park MGC has become much stronger for the next year, as Finnish Player of the Year 2008 Aki Sillman joined our lines. Our primary goal of the season should be qualifying to European Cup.

PA:
Finally, I ask you to give the next address to my navigator. Whom should Finnish Minigolf Federation web team interview next?

MN:
This was perhaps the most difficult question. There are so many options and interesting personalities, it is difficult to choose one only. But I choose one of the most interesting persons, we should go to the younger generation and take Aki Sillman, Finnish Player of the Year 2008.

» original article (28 Feb 2009) in Finnish language

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Comments (3)


Finland JJM (John Mittler)

30 Mar 2009 at 20:18
I see social demand here for some historical photos...

Kjell-Åke Bengtsson:
http://www.melekh.net/mg/photos/Kjell-AkeB_1981NM_Askim_JW.htm

Marko Nuotio:
http://www.melekh.net/mg/photos/Gronlund_1982EC_Liechtenstein.htm
http://www.melekh.net/mg/photos/SMGK_1984ESM_Vaasa.htm
http://www.melekh.net/mg/photos/SMGK_1980s.htm
http://www.melekh.net/mg/photos/Nuotio_1986EM_Wohlen.htm
http://www.melekh.net/mg/photos/Nuotio_1987JEM_Eskilstuna_AA_2.htm
http://www.melekh.net/mg/photos/Nuotio_1987JEM_Eskilstuna_AA.htm
http://www.melekh.net/mg/photos/Nuotio_1988ca_Vaasa.htm
http://www.melekh.net/mg/photos/Nuotio_1990ca_Vaasa.htm
http://www.melekh.net/mg/photos/Nuotio_1994NM_Vaasa.htm
http://www.melekh.net/mg/photos/Teija_1995NM_Gladsaxe_AA_3.htm
http://www.melekh.net/mg/photos/Finland_1998EM_Porto.htm

About this 1975 photo I am not sure... the guy on the left looks a bit like Marko:
http://gardengolfer.com/photos/1975_Turku_SMGK.htm

Portugal AS (André Silva)

30 Mar 2009 at 19:40
I too remember Johann Wagner, Ronny Möller and Kjell-Åke Bengtsson, so I guess that makes me a bit old. Nice interview from a player I remember to see playing at the youth category.

Finland roope (Rolf Bergstrom)

28 Mar 2009 at 17:34
Thank you Pasi, it,s a great interview from Marko Nuotio, one of the best player from Finland in least 30 years, of cause, every one of us have a time to go up and down in ouer long carrier, but Marko is also one of the longest (pro) minigolf player in Finland ho have also full experience, of more than 1000 minigolfbolls from 1965 to 2008 and also 100 % gentleman in all compotition when I played also with him. Marko, welcome next year to Finland,s Oldtimer (Senior) Minigolf team.

Best Regards
Rolf Bergström ( Senior player in Finland team)



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