Michael Smith tells all in interview
Putting superchamp Michael Smith has spoken to minigolfnews.com in a full-length interview. What we all want to know, of course, is does he give away any of the secret sauce that has built his minigolfing success to its current level of dominance? Let’s pick a few points from the interview to build a profile of Michael Smith: the man behind the putter.
- He played golf for a decade and got down to a handicap of 11.
- He is a fiction writer and is hoping to complete a fantasy series and a political romance trilogy.
- He is studying criminology at the University of Leicester.
In his own words
On his dominance: ‘I have a number of rivals who are technically excellent and extremely motivated who, to quote Alex Ferguson, want to knock me off my perch. People try and find different ways to beat me and it will be inevitable that at some point, I will have a dip in form. There are four or five people that are capable right now of being number one and I genuinely expect to lose it at some point.’
On match preparation: ‘I have a course note book for every course and that will include putt maps, not as detailed as some others, but it will include the putts I will get most often. I rarely look at them because of the 45 second rule to take the shot, by the time I get the book out of my pocket, turn the pages, look at it, I find it difficult to keep to that time limit. If I have enough practice time, I can commit things to memory.’
On his putter: ‘I get a lot of banter about my putter from fellow pros, saying it looks cheap, horrible, tatty. I’ve been very lucky that not only do I like the putter but it feels comfortable. There is no way on earth that I am going to change it. I have this fear that like Stephen Hendry, when he lost his snooker cue, he was never the same player again. I’m never planning on changing it.’
On his potential retirement: ‘Winning the WCGC meant I protected the ranking and gave me a new lease of life. It took some of the pressure away and was the key factor for me to keep going. I take things tournament by tournament now, which I think gives me a little more freedom.’
On what keeps him going: ‘I foolishly set myself the goal of overtaking Tim Davies as Britain’s greatest ever minigolfer. If I knew at the time all the effort and energy that would take, I wouldn’t have set it. Through good or bad, I am committed to seeing that through. There is one record I am after. Tim finished seven different years ranked number one, I currently only have five. I would love to at least get to 6 and then try and level it.’
In other news
Football celebrities have given minigolf’s image a boost by being snapped playing it in between matches. Paul Pogba and Gareth Bale have both wielded putters for the cameras in the last few days. Bale is a self-confessed golf nut who has a fantasy 3-hole golf course in his garden, and wants to be a golfer when he retires from football. World’s most expensive footballer Pogba was spotted at Manchester’s Paradise Island course in the Trafford Centre, probably trying to forget about Man United’s performances this year.
Newcastle city centre bowling alley Lane 7 is to open a crazy golf course. They offered a pop-up course for 12 weeks in 2014 which proved popular, and manager Charlie Snow is glad to see its return, which was overdue: ‘There was a lot of disappointed punters when we ended the golf the last time round. Its return is long overdue and we’re pretty certain it’ll be in big demand for the upcoming Christmas party season.’
Some videos have emerged of the course we reported on last week, created as part of Scotland’s Festival of Architecture. It is set up near the first tee of the Old Course at St Andrews for the Dunhill Links Championship.