Interview with Markus Janßen, No. One of the Seniors WMF Ranking List
27 Aug 2014 at 08:55 | Published by: mindthegap | Views: 10345 | News search
Interview with Markus Janßen (MJ), Germany, 1. MGC Mainz
This interview was done on the 18th of August 2014. Interviewer was Karsten Hein (KH).
KH: Congratulations to becoming the number one of the Seniors World Ranking List! And congratulations to your latest merits: The silver medal at the Seniors German Championship and the team gold medal at the Seniors European Championsship in Murnau.
You habe been in the seniors category for nearly 4 years. The World Ranking List is calculated by the tournaments of the last three years. How can it be that you have stormed the number one within less than 4 years? Were you surprised or did you expect to become the number one at the beginning of April?
MJ: Thanks Karsten for the wishes about my current world ranking number and about my last two medals of this year.
It was clearly a surprise that I became the number one in the worlds seniors ranking list. Even a lot more I was surprised about the media echo. I had a TV broadcast company on our minigolf course in Dormagen for 4 hours, two huge newspager articles and also one page in my company magazine and now the minigolfnews interview ;-)
But back to your questions. Directly in the first year I performed very well with the second place in strokeplay at Künzell and over the year there were a lot of different winners (Busche, Lundell, Viberg) cause of only miniature golf in Rozemai and felt golf in Appelscha. I can play all relevant systems on my same level. Maybe that pushed me up to the top.
KH: You are on the top of the World Ranking List for seniors for the first time. Our readers may ask theirselves: Who is Markus Janßen? Could you please introduce yourself?
MJ: I'm 49 years, born in Duisburg, Germany. I had my first tournament in 1979. I play for 1. MGC Mainz, and I'm president of MGC Dormagen-Brechten and cashier of BGC Uerdingen, my first club. I was the honorary general manager of the Minigolf Marketing GmbH, the marketing company of the German Minigolf Association (DMV), for 4 years. For one period I was the media manager of the EMF. My profession is accounting and controlling, at the moment I work as a global service delivery manager for the internal IT of a big German pharmaceutical company. Have you ever heard anything about Aspirin?
KH: A research on your merits lead to the following list:
- 1x men's team gold (2000)
- 2x senior's team gold (2011 + 2014)
- 1x senior's team silver (2013)
- 2x senior's individual silver (2011 + 2013)
- 2x gold
- 1x bronze (with MGC Mainz)
- 4x men's team gold (1993-1995 with MGC Mainz, 2008 with Dormagen-Brechten),
- 2x senior's team gold (2013 + 2014 with MGC Mainz)
- 2x senior's individual silver (2011 + 2014)
Which of these medals do you value most? What would you say were milestones in your minigolf career?
MJ: I have all of them in good memory, every medal has their own story, also the second places. In 2000 I played on position 6 in the last round, against Carl-Johann Rhyner and the former seniors number one Reinhard Schuster. Both of them are well known in the minigolf community.
KH: I'd like to come back to the German Championship at the beginning of July. You were leading for a long time, but Robert Kullick overtook in the last combination round. Are you happy with the silver medal or do you more feel you have lost the gold medal?
MJ: It was just one stroke at the end, but Robert performed very well in the last round. That's sports and pushes to try it better next year.
KH: You won the team gold medal at the Seniors European Championship, and your result fit well into a great team performance. But in the individual ranking you "only" reached the 8th place. After the first day you found yourself somewhere around the 20th place, as I remember. From day two on you played much better. What was the matter on the first day? And what brought you back into an excellent game after the first day?
MJ: You are absolutely right with my performance during the first day, even my results on concrete were very lousy. Three times a 3 and no luck on the lanes 3, 4, 9 and 16 and in addition the start in the second eternit round with 6 over after 9 lanes with no fault hurts me hard. This just describes my situation but did not explain the matter, but sorry I have no idea. What brought me back? Maybe to think about my practice results.
KH: The silver medal at the German Championship and the team gold medal at the European Championship fit into the chain of your merits in the last years. I remember we once talked about your plans, and you told me which tournaments you wanted to focus on. Did you plan your career as a senior player thoroughly to reach a leading position in the World Ranking List?
MJ: Due to the fact that it is no longer necessary for me to play in the German Bundesliga (I did it for nearly 20 years), I can focus more on the German and the European Championships. The position in the world ranking list is the result of these preparation, so I think.
KH: You used to play for MGC Dormagen-Brechten, but in 2012 you changed to MGC Mainz. What was the reason for the change? Was it the strong seniors team in Mainz? Or did you want to "come home" as you used to play for Mainz before the time in Dormagen-Brechten?
MJ: Both of these. I tried to build up a seniors team with the old fellows of Dormagen-Brechten, like Michael Neuland, Stefan Bremicker and Jochen Sturm. But it didn't fit, so I remembered my friends from the 1993ff times, like Bernd Szablikowski, his brother Axel, Patrick Behringhausen and Alice and Roman Kobisch. We discussed these possibility during the German Championship 2012 in Berlin and came to the decision to build up a team in the following year with the focus to get a medal in the team competition.
KH: On the other hand you are still the president of the club in Dormagen-Brechten. Is there still a strong connection to your former club?
MJ: Being a president of a club is more a management position. Actually both activities (Manager and Player) are working fine. Now Dormagen-Brechten is also going to form a seniors team.
KH: While I was doing a research on the major tournaments you have played in the last 3 years, I realized that you don't play league matches for a team regularly - only occasionally. As the league system is the basis for minigolf in Germany it's surprising for me that a player of your quality is not a steady part of a team in a higher league like 1st or 2nd Bundesliga. When you played for Dormagen-Brechten you were a part of their Bundesliga team for a long time. Mainz also has teams in the 1st and 2nd Bundesliga. What's the reason for not playing for a Bundesliga team?
MJ: After 20 years playing Bundesliga it is a question of prioritization, motivation and making holidays. This year I was in the US watching ice hockey.
KH: The German Felt Masters is a recently introduced championship in Germany, exclusively run in matchplay. I've seen that you weren't as successful as at other tournaments there in the last two years. Do you like strokeplay more than matchplay? There has been a controversial discussion about matchplay since it was introduced. What's generally your opinion about the two modes at championships?
MJ: My preparation for that tournament is really as small as possible, but I can have some experience in matchplay and on felt (Lahti is coming). Being successful was not my focus on that. After that tournament we went immediately to Murnau, preparing for the European Championship.
KH: I'd like to come back to the roots. You live in Krefeld near Düsseldorf in the far West of Germany and started playing minigolf for the club in Uerdingen, a suburb of Krefeld. How did you become a minigolfer? Can you tell us about the first years?
MJ: My grandma lived right across the street of the Uerdingen minigolf course. So she played with me and gave me some money for the fee and of course an ice. After one year of kicking the ball irregularly across the concrete lanes, someone of the club asked me to join the club and play minigolf as a sport. This was 1979. I skipped my football career and started playing minigolf. A very good decision! Right in the first year we got the second place (kids class under 14) with the team during the German Championship in Mainz. May be this was the setting for second places and the relationship to Mainz ;-).
KH: You started playing minigolf on concrete. When did you play on an eternit course for the first time? For players starting on eternit it's a lifetime dream to play an 18 in a competition. When you started playing on eternit courses, how long did it take to play the first 18 in a competition?
MJ: The first time I played eternit was in 1982. In the youth we played against clubs from other systems like eternit or cobigolf. In my first round I was very happy, played 29 - for minigolfers on concrete a green round. A guy in my group played 19! What a lucky man, I thought. I could not believe it! His name was Reinhard Neitzke.
KH: He was the later national coach, wasn't he? So did he inspire you to do the same - play 19 or even better on eternit? And when did you actually play your first 18?
MJ: My first 18 was many years later. It was during the German Championship 1996 in Düsseldorf, the next was just 5 months later in a Bundesliga match in Schriesheim.
KH: Which system, do you think, is your weakast: concrete, eternit or felt? And which system are you best on? Have you ever played on an adventure golf course?
MJ: I think it is still concrete, but I like also felt very much. I played adventure golf two years ago in the North of Germany. It is very interesting for minigolfers if you can score a hole in one and you need some barriers. From a marketing perspective adventure golf can push our sports, we should also keep an eye on this. Golf is an Olympic sports, is adventure golf not the same?
KH: Were you disappointed about the adventure golf course in Northern Germany? By my experience there are two types of these system: Those which look more like small golf courses - mostly greens without barriers. And those which look more like imaginative concrete courses with a felt surface and barriers - and the option of some rebounds. Which type of course was it where you played on?
MJ: A hole in one must be possible in a calculated way not based on luck. These are my requirements.
KH: I agree adventure Golf should be integrated more into international competitions. This is the aim of the WMF. The 2011 introduced World Adventure Golf Masters is a first step in this direction. Would you like to eventually participate in that tournament? Or the British Minigolf Open, taking place on the Pirate Golf Course in Hastings this year, where the WAGM took place 3 times?
MJ: If I had the time, I would be very interested in participating in the WAGM event at Hastings. But for that I haven't got enough holidays.
KH: You used to work as an honorary general manager for the Minigolf Marketing Company within the German Minigolf Association (DMV) for 4 years. What was your job there?
MJ: When I started working for the company it was in a very lousy position. Less sales and negative profit. By developing new products and sign some valuable contracts the company developed very well to a high profitable company.
KH: Besides playing minigolf you have voluntary jobs in clubs and associations, and you sell minigolf balls - do you have any free time for other leisure activities?
MJ: During winter time I watch, as a fan, ice hockey matches of the Krefeld Pinguins, who are now also playing in the Hockey Champions League against the teams of Denmark, Finland and Sweden.
KH: Who, do you think, are the best minigolfers in Germany and the World at the moment? Is there someone who is like an idol for you? Or was there someone in the past who inspired you?
MJ: I have no idol, everybody should develop their own style. During my time in the Bundesliga I played very often in the same flight with Walter Erlbruch. I was often impressed by his "hole in one" game. From the style I copied something from Anders Olson.
KH: What are your plans for the future?
MJ: After a Championship is in front of the next Championship. I plan to go for the next two in Askim and Lahti (if the coach wants me in the team), after that we will see.
KH: Ah, I see, the German saying "Nach dem Spiel ist vor dem Spiel" (After the game is before the [next] game), coined by the former German football national coach Sepp Herberger. So never rest and always prepare for the next competition. Is this your attitude?
MJ: Yes it is. The focus is on Askim next year and I've started collecting information about Lahti right now.
KH: Again congratulations to the No. One in the World Ranking List, the silver medal at the German Championship and the team gold medal at the Senior's European Championship, and all the best for the future!
MJ: Vielen Dank!
Links associated with Markus Janßen, all in German language:
»Seniors World Ranking List (WMF)
»Facebook website of Markus Janßen
»Markus Janßen's minigolf club MGC Mainz
»Interview by Rheinische Post
»Article about a practice round with Markus Janßen by Rheinische Post
»Interview by WZ-Online