The Perfect 18: Putting’s holy grail

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Are you sure, Salvador?

What’s your best ever minigolf score? How close was it to a perfect 18? We’d like to share a superb animated video about the elusive holy grail of putting glory: the almost impossible perfect round of 18. Directed by Jeremy Johnstone, through live action interviews and illustrations by Mickey Duzyj, the short film tells the story of a perfect round putted by Rick Baird at a Putt-Putt tournament in Virginia on April 9, 2011.

For those who don’t know, Putt-Putt is the trademark of a franchised chain of Fun Centers in the USA with their own brand of putting and their own league. The main differences from minigolf are:

  • Par is always 2 on every hole.
  • A player finishes their hole before the next player takes their first putt.
  • Holes are designed so that a hole-in-one is always possible, though not easy.
  • The courses are not ‘themed’. Obstacles are limited to simple geometric shapes.

Differences aside, hitting a perfect 18 is a phenomenal achievement in any type of mini golf and it has been done just 3 times in Putt-Putt history. This lovely short film captures the tension as Baird holes out again and again and the other players at the tournament start to gather round to watch. It ends with actual video of the final putt and celebrations. The animation style is a bit like The Walking Dead. Only in this short film the zombies are replaced by an equally terrifying enemy: the fear of missing a putt after 16 holes-in-one, then 17 …

Well done Rick Baird, your name is in the history books. But why did you have to spoil it by saying in an interview ‘There is much more skill involved in Putt-Putt than in Minigolf’? Surely the world’s minigolf stars would disagree!

The other two perfect rounds in Putt-Putt are buried so far in the past that details are scarce. The last one was some time in the 1950s. In minigolf, lots of people have scored 18 on eternite, but on other surfaces it has never been done in an official national or international tournament.

How close have you come to minigolf nirvana? Reply in the comments!

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