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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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United States of America  Smitty

07 Jun 2023 at 04:45

Jason and team make this place beautiful and the tournament is fun and well run.

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Hungary  Magician | 5278 views | 0 comments

31 Dec 2023 at 17:32

End of 2023

United States of America  PatPenguin | 10712 views | 0 comments

17 Nov 2023 at 13:07

A 2023 Masterful Experience

United States of America  PatPenguin | 9480 views | 0 comments

22 May 2023 at 13:19

We’re All Loony Here....

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From which country will the World Adventure Golf Tour Final (April 27-28, 2024) come from?

- Czech Republic

- Sweden

- Germany

- United States

- New Zealand

- Austria

- Wales

- Finland

- Slovakia

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Total 1 votes, since 27 Mar 2024.

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The Women of Team USA

United States of America 04 Jul 2018 at 07:05 | Published by: PatPenguin | Views: 26569 | News search

The Women of Team USA
(L to R): Paula, Olivia, Vanette  (Photo by Vanette Block)

Although many miniature golf tournaments have separate women’s prize divisions, one of the best parts of the sport is that the players play mixed for the overall top prizes. Despite this level of fairness, we continue to see that in minigolf tournaments, including this year’s World Adventure Golf Masters (WAGM) the overall number of female participants is still much lower than the males. One of the unique situations this year was with Team USA, who for the first year since their debut in the WAGM fielded two women on the team, Vanette Block and Paula Gay. Paula was a returning player who had taken gold in the Senior Women division in 2017. This title would be passed to Vanette who snagged the gold this year. The uniqueness was not in the number of competitors – it was in who was coaching Team USA – 23 year-old Olivia Prokopová, who many of us know from a variety of international tournaments (and who have probably lost to her in many of those tournaments) and who was tasked with leading a group of competitors that were many years her senior. Our editor, and fellow American, Pat Sheridan caught up with the Women of Team USA to get their perspective on the tournament.

Minigolfnews (MGN): Vanette, tell us a little bit about your background in minigolf and getting onto this year’s team since to a lot of our readers you’re an unfamiliar name.

Vanette Block (VB): I grew up playing competitive Putt-Putt golf. I was away from the sport for 17 years until I met Bob Detweiler in the spring of 2005. He encouraged me to play in that year's {USPMGA} Masters tournament. I played and won the Amateur division. I would eventually win the 2006 US Open Amateur and the 2007 Masters Amateur. I stopped playing mini golf for about 10 years, focusing more on Putt-Putt, but came back to play the Masters these last two years, and the US Open this year.

MGN: Did you have any expectations coming into the tournament this year?

VB: I was hoping to be competitive at the highest levels in the senior ladies’ division. I would have been disappointed not to make the podium but knew that was a possibility.

Paula Gay (PG): I had high expectations of placing in the top 3 this year or defending my gold medal.

MGN: Did you feel any added pressure to ensure the team/yourself won a medal after Paula’s success in 2017?

Olivia Prokopová (OP): I didn't feel any pressure because I’ve known my team so well for many years and I know that USA has many, many great putters. I believed that we had a chance for any medal in any category but it was so hard because American players don´t play with European balls and it is so hard to have many chances to win a medal. I also know if we are playing WAGM with just golf balls, American players will have the biggest chance because it is our sport, just golf balls and golf putters, so they are best with that! But I think we did a great job at WAGM 2018 with European balls because Vanette’s gold medal in Seniors woman is so amazing and also four players were in top 18 players, I am so happy for that!

VB: No pressure. Paula was super supportive of me being on the trip. We are competitors but friends. We love and respect each other. My fondest hope was for us to be on the medal stand with her. It did not matter to me the finishing order, as long as we were together.

PG: I didn't feel added pressure but I did feel the need to play well. Starting first off the tee was not really a problem as I am a fast player so I really liked it especially in the first round.

MGN: Like all of us in the US, you’ve played against Olivia for many years now. What was it like having her as a coach? What, if anything, do you think she brought out in you that another coach might not have?

VB: Olivia was fantastic! She was a great comfort to me when she was near on the course. She gave perfect advice on some questionable deuces. Her genuine caring for every member of the team was priceless.

PG: Olivia is such a sweet likable person and having her as our coach was just great. She knew the course and was a great help when we had questions concerning different holes and shots. She brought out the best in us with her encouraging words and fist bumps when we aced or parred holes.

MGN: Olivia - you were clearly the youngest member of Team USA and you also happened to be the coach – what was the biggest challenge with that situation?

OP: It was my first experience with real coaching but it gave me so much experience. So, first I was so proud that I could be member of that great team and second it was a big challenge there make success because I can´t play there.

MGN: Did you have any strategy when it came time to teach the team the ropes? Did you find you have to take different approaches to different individuals on the team?

OP: I practiced there many times before WAGM 2018 and also I knew that course from past, so I had all lanes for the team, I borrow them clubs and balls and all deuces putts. So they had a full service from me. I know that every player is different and every player has different style of practice but I fit to every player. And I think I found the right way for every player.

MGN: What was your favorite part of coaching the team this year?

OP: Everything. At first, I was so unhappy that I can´t play but I was with perfect people and great friends. I had a wonderful time with them, so much fun, many smiles and I love them so much. They said that I was everything – I was driver, coach, translator, friend and also my parents were part of our team – they were guides in Prague and my mum ironed our shirts and my grandma baked for us some cakes. (Editor's note: in my experience, any time someone’s grandma makes baked goods for you, you are in good hands!)

MGN: Paula – did you have any advice for Vanette playing in her first WAGM?

PG: I just encouraged Vanette to play like she always does and when she would get nervous, I would try to calm her down. She is a great player and I was so proud of her winning the gold medal in senior women.

MGN: Vanette- What was the biggest surprise for you in the tournament?

VB: Although many spoke English, it was great to figure out ways to communicate with those who didn't. The genuine warmth and camaraderie from many players I had just met, stays with me. Closest to my heart were certain players from Ghana, Slovakia, Great Britain, Austria, New Zealand, Sweden, Germany.

MGN: You had a great couple of scores to start the tournament. Did you find yourself scoreboard watching at all or could you remain focused?

VB: I did not watch much for myself, more for my teammates. There could be 10 shot swings a round on that course, so I just focused on the next round. Having my first three rounds under par was a better start than I could have hoped for. Making the first hole of the tournament set my mind at ease a bit, but hands were still shaking for quite awhile.

MGN: Walk us through the last couple of rounds. While the scores were close you did have the edge going into the final round. Were you nervous? Any particular holes jump out at you as you were trying to close?

VB: I was extremely nervous having taken over the lead going into the final round. Was solid until hole 4. I lipped what I thought was an ace and ended up somewhere I had never been. Missed the deuce and ended up down a long hill near the tee area. I had not been there all week. Best case scenario was to attempt a layup for four- which I did accomplish. But that was by far my worst start. Not a good feeling to be two over par after four holes, headed to hole 5 which was a bogey hole. I would go on to finish the round two over par. Under more pressure than I had ever experienced, after a dreadful start, I was quite thankful to play the final 16 holes even par.

MGN: In the WAGM the number of male participants still vastly outnumbers that of the female – what do you think we can do to get more women into this tournament and even out the field?

VB: I am hoping that any publicity that Olivia, Paula or myself can generate through our success would inspire more women to play. I was in a National Putt-Putt tournament two years ago. Of the 99 entrants in all the divisions, I was the only female player. We need more female players to draw more female players. It is a Catch-22. I think more women would feel more comfortable to play if there were more women in the field.

PG: I would love to see more women play in minigolf but other than try and talk to women and tell them how much fun it is to be able to play this great sport, I am not sure what we can do to get them out there.

OP: It is very hard answer that question. Adventure golf and adventure minigolf is still primarily a man’s world and that makes it difficult for women. I am very happy that I will help with anyway to get more women to adventure golf. One way can be project which I promoting for 2 years - 2 disciplines on WAGM. First for player of European balls (AM), second for players with golf balls (AG). That will help for more players from each countries and I think it will help for more women.

MGN: What is your biggest takeaway from having the opportunity to play in the WAGM?

VB: I loved playing with people from all over the world who are passionate about the sport that I love as well. We are all competitors, but members of the same small family. It is up to all of us to see that competitive putting lives on.

PG: I love being able to travel to other countries and meet all the great players from a variety of countries and I am so thankful that Bob Detwiler and the USPMGA has allowed me to be able to compete for my country and last year bring home the Gold for my division.

MGN: What are you looking forward to next on your minigolf calendar?

VB: I will play as an Amateur in the Masters in October.

PG: My next minigolf tournament will be the Masters in Myrtle Beach. I would love to see more tournaments in the southern part of the US so we can compete more than just twice a year (US Open and Masters).

OP: First I will have sharp exam in June where I will play with my sparing partners for 3 rounds without practice for 5 days at 6 adventure golf courses. Next, I will have 5 days Olivia camp for kids then we will play Czech Masters with golf balls. Next, I will graduate at my college and then I will go to USA in September where I will play US Masters and MSOP. I am looking forward to everything!

MGN: Thank you to Vanette, Paula and Olivia for participating in this interview.

» Final Results




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Interscolar Tournament Saucache Arica School Tournament Held June 29

Chile 01 Jul 2018 at 13:20 | views: 19982 | Comments: 0

On June 29th, the Interscolar Tournament Saucache Arica School was held in Arica, Chile at Saucache and Colegio Arica College. More than 60 players in different categories. children, youth and parents and teachers, participated in the 9-hole circuit. The ...
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Interscolar Tournament Saucache Arica School Tournament Held June 29

Minigolf Heating up in Canada

Minigolf Heating up in Canada

Canada 29 Jun 2018 at 17:12 | views: 22861 | Comments: 1

After the first two rounds of the Mini-Putt.net Tour held at Mini-Putt Terrebonne the previous 2 weeks, a picture pefect day was awaiting a great field of 30 players on June 16 at Mini-Putt of Trois-Rivieres for a full day of competition on the Maxi (Orange) ...
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Interview with Rainey Statum

United States of America 27 Jun 2018 at 16:59 | views: 24858 | Comments: 0

Most of us who have ever picked up a putter have made a journey that has made them the person they are today. Rainey Statum is not only no exception to that rule but an incredible example of how not to let life get you down. At the World Adventure Golf Masters in ...
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Interview with Rainey Statum

Swiss Precision Takes Overall World Adventure Golf Masters Title

Swiss Precision Takes Overall World Adventure Golf Masters Title

Czech Republic 23 Jun 2018 at 17:29 | views: 22496 | Comments: 0

Horní Bezděkov, Czech Republic – On June 16 and 17, 2018, the best adventure minigolfers from around the world came to the Adventure Golf Horní Bezděkov – course “Za Scrubem” to participate in the 2018 World Adventure Golf Masters (WAGM). 95 registered ...
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