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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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Hungary  Magician

31 Dec 2021 at 16:55

Thank you, more posts are coming next year! :)

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14 Nov 2022 at 15:03

An Honest Look (USPMGA....

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30 Sep 2022 at 19:47

Once More into the Loop

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

2018: A Minigolf Year in Review
31 Dec 2018 at 17:48 | Posted in: Personal | Views: 4269 | Comments: 1
2018: A Minigolf Year in Review
Putting at Matterhorn

I find writing a year in review blog in some ways self-serving, almost as if Iím bragging about all the cool stuff Iíve gotten to do in the year, but itís that diversity of events which drives me to want to write one for the site. Most of my blogs are focused on the competitive nature of our sport, rightfully so for the site, so I like to take the opportunity to highlight the expanse of experiences miniature golf has to offer. You may not be able to do everything that I have had the chance to but hopefully you will see something interesting and grab onto that one piece of minigolf to help further your own connection with the sport. I always feel incredibly lucky in that Iíve been able to do a ton of interesting things in this sport and that my work/life/family have allowed me to participate in so many activities. In some years I would have tried to do a top ten or rank the things that happened but in a year like this I think itís easier just to walk through the year. Itís hard to really say what is the best when each new thing brings some special. Even doing it this way Iím skipping some of the great courses Iíve played/replayed throughout the year just as part of my normal miniature golf travels. So for a small self-plug, you can always go see those over on The Putting Penguin. You can also browse my blog archive on this fine site for more information about many events in the list below.

One of the first discussable events in my 2018 minigolf year was visiting one of our local libraries on St. Patrickís Day for a
library miniature golf event . Iím not sure how much this has taken hold internationally but in the United States over the past five years using miniature golf as a way to raise funds/attention to local libraries has really ballooned in popularity. Thereís at least a half-dozen of these events a year just in my small home state and entire companies have been built on the premise. Iíve really enjoyed seeing it for a variety of reasons: 1) it gives me more courses to play, 2) they are generally interesting because libraries tend to be interesting (and older) buildings so you get to play through some unique and historical places, 3) libraries are great for communities, so helping raise funds and draw attention is always a win and 4) itís one way to show how much of a positive impact on the community our sport can have through what is a relatively simple concept. What other sport could effectively use a library like that? In case you have missed it, we have tried to highlight these events in our ďShh-Library MinigolfĒ series and will need to do a new one soon. You can catch the latest edition here.

In April I would get my first taste of competitive miniature golf for 2018, although this will be one of the few times where I do so as a complete observer and not a participant. I was lucky that a work trip to London coincided with the
British Masters being played in Sidcup, a short train trip from the city. I didnít know my exact schedule so I skipped trying to play in the event, which Iím a little sad about, but was able to get out to the site relatively early and watch the whole event unfold. It was actually pretty relaxing just watching the competition and taking pictures. The best part, though, was finally meeting some folks in person that I had talked to for years online (including my fellow blogger Steve Lovell) as well as meeting a lot of other folks on the BMGA tour. This will be the theme for a couple of events in 2018, but Iím always in awe how a small thing like rating miniature golf courses has 17 years later turned into me meeting people internationally (and getting to hand out the Tweed Jacket to the tournament winner). In the end I did get to at least play a round with Steve on the course and hope in the future I have a chance to compete in a BMGA event as they seem like a great group of people and a style of play that Iím used to. Playing in an international tournament like that is just another thing on my miniature golf bucket list.

May finally brought my first tournament of the year. With the schedule in the Northeast, thereís not a lot of tournaments early in the year so when the
US Open is held in May itís often the first minigolf tournament many of us get to play in a season. Talk about getting thrown into the fire. Luckily this year it was held at a course that had previously seen the tournament, Champions Golf Learning Center in Hendersonville, NC, so I wasnít flying totally blind into it. However, I was dreading the tournament a bit because my first outing there in 2015 was one of my worst U.S. Open finishes and the course is very difficult, especially many of the deuce putts. I was happy with the time I put in on the course though and it paid off in the end as I finished T-15th in a very competitive field . At one point I was even as high as 3rd, which was a personal best for any point during a U.S. Open. Iím just hoping I can continue to this good run at one of the two UPMGA major tournaments as we move to a new course this year.

It was shortly after the U.S. Open when I got my first taste of what would be a few different media forms for miniature golf this year. Back in 2014 we were lucky enough to have shot some video with Amanda Kulkoski who directed
Through the Windmill . She has been taking it through the film festival circuit and finally got a chance to make a New England premier in the New Haven film festival. We took the 40 minute ride down to Yale to check it out and while we wished for a bigger crowed, the film was great and it was awesome to see so much about the sport and people that we love up on the screen. While itís focus is certainly the United States, many of my international friends will recognize names in the movie and I hope at some point it will be available on a streaming service near you. Itís a great little watch and just another drop in the bucket of our goal to get miniature golf out to as many people as possible.

The summer months is when my miniature golf year really gets cooking but I ended up a little sidetracked for personal reasons when it came to one of my local tournaments, the Farmington Miniature Golf Tournament. Iíve done well in the tournament in the past but still am chasing that elusive win. This year I got to play spectator on the second day, which was fun because I got to see my friend Highlighter win the tournament and I got to try my hand at a little bit of
miniature golf commentary. I actually had a lot of fun with that video and if I can manage to get more video shot of other tournaments I will give it a go again. I know Iíve mentioned it in many a blog post but that type of coverage is what is going to help move our sport forward, even if itís only done by us in the business at first before we can get more major coverage. The coverage of the Masterís this year (more on that later) by NBC and Vice was great but ultimately both clips were under 10 minutes and neither captured the hole to hole drama in that tournament, especially in the final few rounds. Itís just as exciting as any other golf tournament and maybe even more so because of the ace factor that you donít get with ďbigĒ golf.

On the heels of that tournament came the
Maine State Dolphin Open. Ever since our first trip to Boothbay weíve been enamored with the course, the tournament and the area. Itís always a great late-season trip and Maine in September is wonderful, especially after most of the tourists have gone away! Iíve especially liked the tournament the past few years since I won in 2016 and finished 2nd in 2017 and again in 2018. Itís a course I can practically play in my sleep at this point, but it still presents the challenge of consistency to keep up low scores through the rounds which have varied from 6-10 rounds depending on the year. In retrospective, however, this year was a bittersweet. In November course owner Lee Stoddard passed away. He had been sick the past couple of years but was still working on the course in September when we played and event played in the tournament (he won his own tournament for the first time in 2017). Nonetheless it was still a shock to the miniature golf community and he had touched so many lives as an owner (his was the first course outside of Myrtle Beach to host the U.S. Open), a player (was induced into the USPMG Hall of Fame) and a friend (always had a kind word on the course). Weíll all miss him and I know our whole community hopes that the miniature golf can continue, as weíre looking forward to having at least one tournament in his honor. Iíd hate to see such a good course slip away from the world but understand the business and difficulties in transition so hereís hoping it works out for everyone.

Speaking of knowing the difficulties of things Ė up next in my year was running/playing in the
Matterhorn International Pro-Am. I love the fact that Autumn over at Matterhorn has agreed to run a tournament as itís great to have something else on the miniature golf calendar for the year. If I had the time and resources Iíd try to get two-three more out there during the year just to expand the reach. While we didnít have as many pros sign-up as I would have liked, the day was otherwise as success. The amateur division had a great time and it was competitive (including a first place playoff) and the pro division had some great drama in it as well. Iíve been meaning to find time to do more detailed statistical analysis of the tournament (because Iím a nerd) but even the high-level stuff we did right after showed some interesting trends. Personally, I finished 4th again which I donít think is too bad considering how much my attention gets split that day. Iím looking forward to doing it again this year. My goal again will be trying to both grow that pro division as well as the media coverage of the event since itís the biggest (in terms of payout) tournament that we have in Connecticut.

Right around the time of that tournament was also when we started hearing about a new miniature golf reality television show that is in development and is scheduled to be on ABC called
Mega Miniature Golf. We had been originally contacted by both the producers and casting company to get some information about the sport of miniature golf as well as to help spread the world of the casting. Soon thereafter I also found myself in the thick of the casting process, shooting videos for the application, doing on camera interviews and filling out all sorts of forms! It was great to see the interest they have had in the pro players as well, taking the time to send someone down to the Masterís to do some of the interviews and Iím hoping that I see a lot of folks I know on the show (perhaps including myself). While I think miniature golf (and specifically the culture around tournaments) might make for a great season-long documentary type show, this type of exposure to the sport, especially if there are pro players involved, should be nothing but good overall. Since ABC is owned by Disney, who also owns ESPN, who knows if this might lead to something in the future where putting returns to the Worldwide Leader (perhaps something like a KPMG employee taking on a KPMG sponsored golfer in a miniature golf match Ė hint hint).

Speaking of the Masterís, I was off to Myrtle Beach again this October to follow up my inaugural event, this time bringing my family down for a weeklong vacation. Despite some of the distractions that traveling 800 miles by car will bring with it, as well as some lost time due to some crazy weather, I felt like I had a good week overall in both practice and on the course even if I didnít finish where I wanted to. It was again great to see some big-time media coverage (NBC and Vice News) there both during the final days and throughout the event, even if the resulting spots were less than 10 minutes. Itís a least a step in the right direction in terms of getting the word out there about the tournament. Like with the U.S. Open where it took me a while to chip away at the standings, I feel like I can do the same at the Masterís so long as I can keep playing it each year (which I have plans to unless unavoidable things come up). Either way, itís incredibly fun to meet up with so many people across the miniature golf spectrum while there and to just enjoy the overall atmosphere of such a major miniature golf event (and to have some fun
shooting videos.

After the Masterís the year tends to wind-down a bit when it comes to putting. Right after the tournament the book
Amazing Strokes hit the shelves and we found ourselves in another piece of media this year, with a chapter on The Putting Penguin (as well as coverage of MinigolfNews and international putting). Weíre so happy to be recognized in a book that covers so much of the miniature golf landscape and hope that we can continue to do reviews and push recognition of the sport as much as we can. Iím actually still trying to get through the whole book (itís 600 pages!) but thus far itís been a good read and Iíve found out even more that I never knew about the sports roots in the US as well as some background of players on the tour. I think thereís still a ton of space out there for more books about miniature golf, especially diving into certain aspects of the sport both domestically and internationally, and hope some folks come along to fill those voids in the coming years. Would be great to see our own space on the shelves of Barnes & Noble someday!

My year really wrapped up as it began, reviewing a course for The Putting Penguin. In what may be my last work trip to London for a while, I took advantage of yet another indoor pub entertainment facility,
Putt Shack. While I really enjoyed the minigolf experience at the two Swingers courses in London, Putt Shack offered something different and was a blast to play with a big group. While it still maintains the traditional feel of minigolf, and skill does come into play, the interactive courses, electronic scoring and creativity of design was like nothing weíve seen before in an entertainment center like this. I can really see this type of concept taking off in other worldwide cities, especially if the cost structure is there because the entire place seemed to be having a ton of fun. Itís just thrilling to see what people have been doing in pushing the traditional boundaries of minigolf and expanding it beyond just the windmill and waterfall places so many of us have known for years (and donít get me wrong Ė still enjoy!).

All this for the year and that doesnít even cover the work Iíve been doing for Minigolfnews. While it was an admittedly slower year, especially the second half, for the site than I would normally would have liked, I am still proud of what we are doing for the sport. Weíve got some great blogs, weíre still covering a lot of the major tournaments and thereís always an interesting article about the sport thrown in there every once and a while that you wonít see anywhere else. Iím hoping that 2019 will bring both a little more time for me to get articles on the site as well as more interest in people wanting to write for the site so we can keep it going and continue to be a source for great miniature golf news. Every major sport has a website where you can find schedules, results, articles and comprehensive coverage and we need to be no different. So, if you are interested in helping, you know where to find me! I hope everyone has a great 2019 out on the miniature golf course and I hope I can continue to bring you lots of coverage as well as meet more of you in my travels!

Comments (1)

United States of America PatPenguin (Patrick Sheridan) | Delete

05 Jan 2019 at 14:08
"The views expressed in this blog are solely the views of the writer and do not represent the World Minigolf Sport Federation (WMF), Minigolfnews.com or any other organization that the writer may be associated with unless expressly stated in the blog."

You know - I'm the one who said we needed to start using this and I've been terrible about making sure it has been included!
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