It's always great to see our family growing here at Minigolfnews, so I take pleasure in introducing a new blogger/writer for our site from Canada, Mathieu Labrie. We haven't had much content on the sight from my neighbor's to the North so really looking to get to know about the minigolf scene there. After this first post, he'll be posting under his own username, so keep a lookout for them! If anyone else is interested in providing their viewpoint or helping the site cover other parts of the world, please let me know. Without further ado, let's get to the good stuff...
It is with great pleasure that I accepted Minigolfnews' invitation to report this summer about the minigolf activities in Canada. More precisely, I will focus on the tournaments organized by Mini-Putt.net which is the organizer of the provincial tour across multiple courses in my home province of Quebec.
A little something about me:
As far as I can remember, I was always a fan of recreational minigolf. I started playing competitive minigolf in 2012 and have participated in every Mini-Putt.net competitions since. I had my first international experience during the 2017 World Championships in Croatia. During the 2018 season, I plan on covering all 7 events organized by Mini-Putt.net in the province of Quebec and possibly some other local tournaments. The season starts with 2 preseason days before the official tournament on May 26.
In this blog post, Ill provide an overview of the history of the sport in my region along with the organization of the tournaments for those not familiar with how we do it here.
A bit of history and the type of courses:
Mini-Putt is a specific type of minigolf course that was created and founded in 1970 by Mr Jean Benoit. This unique type of courses resembles US Putt-Putt courses but are usually a bit shorter in length and the holes are always in the same order no matter which course you visit. The Mini-Putt concept was based around a franchise system where 2 courses layout exist for the owners to build: the 'mini' (yellow course in picture above) and the 'maxi' (orange course in picture above).
Over the years, many TV shows were produced mainly to promote the local courses and the construction of new ones. The spectacular personalities of many professional players and notable passion of TV commentator Serge Vleminckx helped the sport of minigolf to find a place in popular culture.
Mini-Putt.net was founded in 2005. It is owned and directed by Carl Carmoni a profesionnal minigolf player which started his career in 1970 and was made famous by his many memorable appearances on various Mini-golf TV series broadcasted weekly on national sports channels. This organization was created to help promote the sport of minigolf by allowing as many people to participate in an affordable and welcoming competitive environment and through various media appearances. The ultimate goal being to bring as many people back to minigolf courses which attendance was on the decline since the last TV series ended in 2000.
Since it's inception, Mini-Putt.net relies on a pro-am formula that Mr Carl Carmoni created which separates all players into 3 classes (elite, amateur and beginner) based on their experience and past results. Before every team competition, teams are formed by a random draw where a beginner draws an elite for his partner and amateurs draw within their group with the objective to create balanced teams and have a level playing field. For individual competitions, every class has it's own scoreboard and purse payout so every registered player can hope to win it's class or finish in the paying positions.
Mini-Putt.net's activities are limited to the province of Quebec where 2 types of courses exist: various independent MOS courses and the Mini-Putt franchise type of courses. Only the latter are used for competition.
You can visit Mini-Putt.net website for more information, including the schedule, results, players' profiles. Only available in french.
The Surface of actual courses is felt carpet over a concrete slab and boards are made of aluminum. Some variances exist made of wood or fibreglass boards but are not currently used competitively. There are 2 different courses layout called the 'Mini' and the 'Maxi', each using 18 unique hole designs always in the same order with very limited differences from one location to the other. The game is played with a golf ball and a golf putter. Only one golf ball can be used for the entirety of a tournament.
How a typical tournament is run:
All competitions are 1 day events; Each competition day starts with a team competition in the morning; Teams of 2 are formed by a random draw right before the start with the objective of creating the most balanced teams. Then in the afternoon, it's the individual competition where players are split into 3 classes based on their experience and past results. Most tournaments are 3 rounds of 18 holes where the lowest cumulative score is declared the winner.
Every tournament during the season allows players to earn points towards the President's Cup based on their finishing order. At the end of the season, the player with the most points is awarded the President's Cup. The highest finishing player of the amateur and beginners class in the points standings also receive a plaque as Champion of their respective class.
In order to stay connected with the sport's local traditions, all 7 special titles that were created over the years are contested every year. Those 7 tournaments can be considered major tournaments.
You can have a look at the different trophies and some past champions here.
If you want to have an idea of what the game looks like in action, there are a couple of webseries you can watch:
Coupe Mini-Putt TVGo 2012
Coupe Pro-Am 2014
There is also a video montage of TV series highlights created by Carl Carmoni