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Argentina  INESfun

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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United States of America  Smitty

07 Jun 2023 at 04:45

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

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United States of America  PatPenguin | 529 views | 0 comments

17 Nov 2023 at 13:07

A 2023 Masterful Experience

United States of America  PatPenguin | 3173 views | 0 comments

22 May 2023 at 13:19

We’re All Loony Here....

Hungary  Magician | 3374 views | 0 comments

30 Apr 2023 at 13:57

Season Started!

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United States of America Patrick Sheridan's blog« See all PatPenguin's blogs

The Heat is on...
14 Oct 2017 at 02:58 | Posted in: Competition | Views: 3916 | Comments: 0
The Heat is on...
Pat on Hole 11 at Rumble

Day 1 of the USPMGA Masters starts like most tournament days and Iím up by 6:30am and at Hawaiian Rumble by 7:15am for the player check-in and opening ceremonies. Everyone will meet at Rumble first before splitting into their respective courses for the first five rounds. Instead of doing any practice, I decide to chat with various folks that I havenít seen in a while, or just met, and go about the business of talking tournament and expanding the sport. The weather is warm, but not hot, and at that point the sun has stayed behind the clouds.

The opening ceremonies are great with honor guard, national anthem, and a speech by the mayor. All of the stuff you would expect from a major tournament. The only thing I donít like about the morning meeting (and Iím not being disparaging, just telling it like it is) is that there is virtually no explanation of the rules of the tournament. While most of the players have either played in the Masters or another USPMGA event, I know there are several newcomers and a few minute discussion of the basic rules (out of bounds considerations, that we follow honors play, stroke limits, how to move the ball out from obstacles, etc) would have been nice for everyone to hear. Even if they heard it before it takes no time to confirm everyone is on the same page. This is made more noticeable for me later in the day when I find myself in some discussions about the rules with folks who are playing the tournament for the first time. Itís important for our sport to make sure everyone is included because when people feel like they donít know whatís going on, they are less likely to play again.

Now off my soap box and onto the opening rounds. Iím paired with Paul Johns (a Putt Putter of some renown Ė you can catch him in action here) and Christian Adler from Austria, both first time players in the Masters along with myself. Weíre a quiet group in general and play at a good pace but as the play slows down (more on that later) we open up a bit and chat to pass some time. We all start off great, with 3 aces on 16 which is our first hole in the shotgun start. Itís great in a tournament like this when your entire group aces a hole. Thereís a great sense of shared joy. After that things slow down a bit and itís up and down for the most part during the first round and I finish with a 34, compared to Paulís 30 and Christianís 32. The pace of play is ok until we get to the 8 through 13 stretch. Holes 12 and 13 seem to be the hold up as the scores can get high there and people are spending a lot of time working the shots (12 is a difficult uphill putt and 13 is the volcano hole). This round the wait isnít too bad but it does slow down the rhythm of the putting.

As round 2 starts, the sun starts to peek out from behind the clouds and I know things are going to get sweaty fast. Luckily my play seems to heat up as I get an early ace and then go on a tear, acing 3 through 6 which is what the top players will be doing. Iím feeling quite good about my round, sitting at 6 under, until disaster strikes at an unexpected hole. I overcompensate on hole 11 after hitting it a little too hard in the first round and my ball skims off a rock leaving me too far away from the hole in a place where I have no idea how it will break. I miss that putt and skim it too far away on the other side of the hole. Now Iím in trouble, Iím sweating and while Iím telling myself to calm down and make the putt, I miss it again and leave a tap in for 4. Ugly. It ruins a great round and I finish with a 33. I close out the morning with a decent round of 5 aces and one bogey, for a 32. Itís nothing stellar and well off the leaderís scores but itís time for lunch.

After lunch Iím paired with Harry Sykes, another Putt-Putter. Despite the fact that I have what I am sure is a dehydration headache, I shoot out of the gates hot after lunch and post a 30. Iím feeling good but slip in the final round of the day to a 35. Harry has an impressive second round as he aces holes 8 through 13, which are not the normal ones you go on a run with. That is except for Tony Varnadore who shot a record breaking 22 in his first round. Everyone in is in awe as to have 14 aces in one round on Aloha requires the perfect combination of skill and luck, and usually you donít see both of them working together in the round. The only bad part of the day is that the pace of play is a crawl, with a huge backup around holes 12 and 13. Thereís a point in time where we are backing in the sun between holes 9 and 10 for so long I joke that we could have held an entire game of cards or dice while we waited.

The time right after the final rounds sees everyone standing around, looking at scores, trying to get the pairings for the next day, hydrating like crazy and generally relieving the aces and bogies of the day. The next day some of us would talk with Bob Detwiler of the USPMGA and urge a move toward electronic scoring to help us get the scores much more quickly and to help publish them to everyone else real time. Itís one of the few things missing from this major tournament.

As if I hadnít played enough minigolf, I decide I need to get to more courses while Iím in Myrtle Beach, which is the minigolf capital of the world. Thereís at least a dozen huge courses here and Iíve only played a fraction of them. Highlighter and I decide to play the two courses at Mt Atlanticus, which is further into Myrtle Beach and one I last played in 2004. We then break for some dinner and head out to Dragonís Lair miniature golf and play two more rounds there. The day ends with me staring at my computer screen and urging my fingers to work the mouse so I can post some of the media I collected during the day.

I let myself sleep in a few more minutes today and Iím at the Rumble just after 7:15am. In an interesting turn of fate, Iíll be playing the morning three rounds with John OíLeary and Lee Stoddard, two guys Iíve played a ton of minigolf with in New England and we quickly dub ourselves the New England threesome. I do actually practice a bit this morning, especially the few holes after 15 which is where I will be starting the morning. I want to get the round off to a good start. The weather is much nicer with the sun staying behind the clouds, the humidity down a bit and a nice breeze. Itís nice enough that I donít even notice the weather, which is how it should be.

After a quick players meeting we are off and I start my first round with three straight aces. Unfortunately I wonít see any more that round and give back strokes to end with a 37. Disappointing but it will be all up from there as I get some good aces, and drop a few bogies, to finish the morning with two 35s. The second one even coming with a 4 on hole 8 after I took a bad 3 on hole 7, which is usually an easy deuce and a decent ace hole. With Lee and John shooting similar 3 round scores itís no surprise we are near each other again as Iím paired with Lee and John is in the group in front of us. I have another two decent rounds with a 34 and 35 and Iím overall happy with my day. I took on the tougher course and came out ok. One thing that was noticeable is that I dropped probably 4-5 shots because I didnít put in the time to chart all of the deuce putts like I normally would if I had more time. The scores are so close that those shots could have meant another 4-5 places up the leaderboard.

Was my minigolfing day done? Heck no! After taking a care of a couple of things at the course, Iím off to play another round at Cancun Lagoon with Highlighter. That course has 3 nine-hole courses which is kind of unique. It also makes the 5th course I need to review for The Putting Penguin, so Iíve created quite the queue there. Then I get the chance to talk about Minigolfnews.com, the Masters and the bright future of miniature golf in (hopefully) the World Games and Olympics with Brian Katrek on PGA Tour radio. Brian has been playing the Masters the past couple of years and after getting a chance to chat with me a bit about what I do wanted to have me on. Itís a nice 10 minutes and I think I represented our sport well to the golfers out there catching the show.

After that I decided to stay in the rest of the night to catch up on some things (including this blog), watching Boston University (my Alma Mater) play college hockey on the computer (with more college hockey on TV) and hopefully get a good nightís sleep. Since Iím not in the top 35 Iíll be completing my final 2 rounds on the Rumble at 7:30am tomorrow. The top players tee-off later in the day and I look forward to capturing a lot of pictures and videos to share. Iíll be doing one more post after the tournament wrapping up the final day and weíll have the full Masters article on the site next week.

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