Last weekend the Putterfingers.com mini golf team took on a second competitive challenge following our maiden event (the Putterfingers.com Sussex Wasps Open, which you can read about here). Rather than building up to big tournaments gradually like sensible people, we just steamed straight in and had a crack at the World Crazies, the annual festival of putting held every year at Hastings Adventure Golf.
The experience we gained was invaluable and it was amazing to watch the game’s top players in action. It is also a testament to the inclusivity and non-elitist nature of the mini golf world that we were able to enter such a prestigious tournament without having to qualify. Mini golf is truly a sport for all.
Friday saw us in the Team event, and the kindest thing that can be said is that we did not come last. A lack of preparation on our part and having a team consisting entirely of novices was never likely to result in crazy golf glory, yet we felt the sting of defeat keenly and this spurred us on to do better in the Individual event on Saturday.
Saturday’s weather was much nicer after Friday evening’s chilling breeze off the sea. The rounds went more quickly because we were three to a hole rather than six for the Team event. The stewards introduced a 30 second per shot rule to keep players flowing round the course and we did more or less stick to that, though there was something of a slowdown among the top groups as they focused harder and harder on making the cut for Sunday.
Our best player was Jon Clarke, who despite minimal practice and being new to the game (as we all are when it comes to competitive play) scored 37, 41 and 43 to end up in 32nd place in the Novice category. With regular practice and more tournament experience Jon could be one to watch.
By competing at this level, the team gained a newfound respect for the game and for those who play it well. We got hands-on experience of some of the game’s technical aspects, such as the fact that the World Crazies permit the use of only one type of ball. Each player receives an official competition ball at the beginning of the tournament and must play with that ball only. So there is none of the cleverness of using a variety of balls with different weight and bounce, as we had seen at the Sussex Wasps Open. This a great leveller that puts the focus on pure skill by eliminating tactical ball selection.
We would like to give a particular thank you to Steve Lovell, who made the time to show the Putterfingers.com team round the Crazy Golf Course during practice time on Friday with some pro tips on how to play each hole.
We enjoyed the atmosphere of the World Crazies. It was fun to be watched by passersby over the hedge, to play alongside leading players and of course to enjoy the doughnuts and ice cream from the kiosk on the course. We just might be hooked.