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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 Kingdom  Squire

18 Sep 2020 at 10:40

It's almost Halloween once again! Check out my blog post with <a [...] look at Halloween-themed miniature golf courses and events in 2020</a>.

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United States of America Patrick Sheridan's blog« See all PatPenguin's blogs

Guest Post - Farmington Glow Golf Tournament
04 Aug 2020 at 14:11 | Posted in: Competition | Views: 684 | Comments: 0
Guest Post - Farmington Glow Golf Tournament
Final Tournament Results

Posting this on behalf of Dylan Koerner, a local minigolfer from Connecticut, USA.

My name is Dylan Koerner. I am here to talk on my team’s win at the Farmington miniature golf glow ball tournament 2020 in Farmington, CT. This was the second year of the glow ball tournament and it is a two-man best ball event. This meant that my partner Brian and I would both play the hole and we would write down the best score. I knew that we had a chance to win because we were third-place last year and we both knew the course very well, having both shot 35 in tournament play on our own ball. What I didn’t know was how little that would matter with all of the changes that Doug, the tournament host, had made. {Editor's Note - Farmington Miniature Golf is a classic obstacle style course that has been holding a local tournament for almost 40 years. You can find our latest article on it here.}

Let’s start with the obvious changes. We used glowing golf balls as the name of the tournament suggests. These golf balls were tough to work with. They had a hollow sound to them when they were struck and their “glow” wasn’t consistent throughout the ball. It was just two light sources inside the ball which made the ball appear lopsided as it rolled. Also, the starting time was late at night, 9:30 PM to be exact. My partner Brian and I got there early and it was a good thing we did. The explanation got started around 9:15, something that wasn’t posted in the sign up flyers and something a few latecomers didn’t expect. But starting early was a good thing, as Doug had made a few changes to the course that needed some explanation.

To those of you who know Farmington miniature golf course, these changes I’m about to describe will be fairly easy to imagine. To those who don’t, imagine your favorite tried and true course being altered by a mad man who knew the course inside and out, and feel free to skip over this part as it’s a lot of babbling on if you don’t know the course. With that disclaimer out of the way, let’s see what Doug did to this course:

On Hole 2, the tee was moved back and offset to the right and...placed on top of two tires? This made what is normally a fairly straightforward bank shot incredibly awkward not only because of the weird stance and putter swing from trying to hit off of two tires, but also because the angle had changed to where the most optimal shot involved a second bank of the left wall before hitting the normal angle to get to the hole.

On Hole 6, which is normally a two-level hole, you needed to bank it off the back wall before going down one of the two large holes to the bottom level. This made the hole difficult as you had to hit it hard at a certain angle to hit the back wall and avoid the worst of the two large holes while also not hitting it so hard that it comes back down the starting ramp towards you. The good news is if that did happen you didn’t have to try it again and could play it normally.

Hole 7 has three choices normally but one of them was never chosen because it was virtually impossible to get through the “teeth” on the right side. Doug set up a ramp to fly you over the teeth to make that one a viable option. I liked having it there even if I never used it since I’ve gotten aces going the other two ways.

On Hole 8, you had to take the position of the worse of the two shots and use that score. This hole was usually an ace-able one but if you went to far it left you with a long two putt. To me it kinda makes sense to do something different like this for a hole that was so hit or miss, but this explanation was done poorly so that no one was sure whether to pick up the closer ball or simply have both players take their second shot from the worse spot (kinda like a bad version of a scramble).

Hole 13 also had a moved tee pad to the left side of the hole, except the tee pad was on a wheel barrel even farther left of the holes edge. This makes it an elevated tee leading to a straightaway over a ramp in the center leading towards the hole. The square brick normally at the center of the hole that you bank it off of had moved behind the hole making offline shots shoot away from it.

Finally Hole 17, the infamously hard double wave hole. This hole is where a 6 almost ruined the chances of one champion’s run at their annual mini golf tournament (held incredibly early in the morning instead of late at night like this one) and the hole Pat and I both got a 3 on in our heated battle at that same tournament last year (see his detailed summary of my excruciating loss
here). They decided to put a platform behind the hole and a ramp aimed at the hole on the corner of it. Your choices were to hit it straight over only one hump instead of two and play the hole normally from there or go for the ramp leaving a chance of you being out of play after your tee shot because of a bad bounce or roll off the ramp. This actually added a bit of excitement as your chances at getting an ace on this notorious hole go from nearly impossible to at least somewhat possible.

I believe that this aspect of the tournament was incredibly creative but also too much at the same time. Many veterans of the course and newcomers were perplexed as Doug rattled off these complicated and varied changes to the course. There were signs or obvious visual cues that he placed on the course to denote that something was different but I felt that the six different changes were too much. In short, less is more. I advise for next year to keep two maybe three of these changes and not so many I can’t remember half of them until we walk up to them.

My quick summary judgement: I didn’t like Holes 2 or 13 due to the weird putting stroke you had to do. Eliminate these two next year. 6 was an interesting twist that just needed to be explained more clearly. Keep it. Hole 7’s ramp should be a permanent fixture as no one should go through the sawtooth direct path. Please keep it. Hole 8’s rule was dumb and was inconsistently done throughout the tournament. Eliminate that. Hole 17 I could take or leave it. The hole was weird but I liked it because...well you’ll see.

Now then back to the actual tournament. Brian started us off with a solid putt that left an easy two, but it wasn’t needed as I aced the hole bouncing it off the back. It was a strong start that led to an even stronger finish (more on that later). After that it was the first creative hole. I led off and promptly hit the right wall and bounced off the course. Brian thankfully kept it on the course but missed the two leaving us even with our thought of getting a 2 on every hole. We made easy 2’s until hole 6. I didn’t do well with this newly required bank shot but Brian thankfully had practiced this shot out of boredom enough times before that he made a good first putt and got a good roll out of the pipe for a 2. On Hole 7 I put us close going a normal way leaving Brian to try the new ramp...bad idea. It bounced off the course. I made what would be our last 2 for a while.

Hole 8 shouldn’t have affected us. Both Brian and I know how not to mess this putt up. However Brian left himself the longer two putt and missed making us over par. We then both got awful bounces inside the castle and both made 3. We both didn’t go down the correct pipe on the Well and got a 3. Brian went in the water on 11 and I missed a long two putt for another 3. We both hit the barn door next hole leading to two 3’s. It seemed that we were getting off the rails with five 3’s on the card in a row. Luckily we held it together and got 2’s the rest of the way out.

We peeked at the leaderboard after Round 1. Our 41 left us in a tie for second place with a few notable competitors right behind us as well. The defending champs were one ahead of us. Basically Brian and I knew that despite our horrible stretch in the middle of the round we were by no means out of it. We just needed something sub-40 to guarantee a shot at the win. We started off with a 2 this time and followed it up with a 2 from Brian who successfully banked it off the rugged concrete walls three times after teeing it up from off the tires leaving him just short of an ace. I made comfortable 2’s for the team on holes 3-5 when we got back to 6. I hit it too hard and came back off the course, leaving the hole up to Brian. Despite watching me blow it, Brian had confidence in himself. Normally I wouldn’t trust him having this level of confidence but in this case it turned out to be well founded. He banked it off the back wall and found the correct large cup and got a perfect roll out of the pipe for an ace. Brian’s boredom from waiting on other golfers finally paid off! We got 2’s on hole 7 and 8 but hole 9 got us both again leaving us with an 18 on the front 9. We had a chance.

Our chances got better after Brian got another ace this time on the well which was fortunate as I found another wrong pipe. We were now one under par...and due for another awful stretch. We took 3’s on three of the next four holes oddly enough taking a 2 on Hole 13 with ease despite the change. We righted the ship coming in by having tap in 2’s on Holes 15 and 16 leaving us with a chance at breaking 40 like we planned. The only thing standing in our way was the dreaded 17th. Brian went first and flew it onto the green comfortably leaving us a good chance at a 2. I flew it off the ramp, off the pebbled concrete, over one side wall, off the side wall, and back into the hole for an ace! My second one ever on the hole even if this one was much less traditional. We were now hoping to finish even by getting an ace on the final hole but it wasn’t to be. Still a 37 on the final round with three aces felt wonderful, but would it be enough?

We took a look at the leaderboard and saw we had the lead. The defending champs shot 46 on their second 18 and someone else shot 41-40 leaving us three shots clear of them overall. We felt confident we had this in the bag as we grabbed our hot dog and chips that we got for being part of the tournament and regaled our friends about our triumphs. When it came to the results being announced at almost 11:30 PM, we heard exactly what we expected until 3rd place when the defending champs were announced. We figured they would’ve been 2nd which meant someone behind us could’ve swooped in. As it turned out someone did. Two college aged girls matched our 41-37 scores and tied us for first place leading to a tie breaker by scorecard. In the whirlwind of the hole changes announced by Doug at the beginning he also mentioned that there wouldn’t be a playoff but instead a matching of cards starting with the first hole of the first round. My face of worry disappeared as he said this. I smiled broadly knowing that my ace on the first hole had won us the tournament. After everything, my first putt was what ended the tournament and we took home first place. This meant we got a bit more than our money back that we paid for participating and two tiny trophies with no labels that looked like they came out of one of those old machines that cost a quarter back in the day.

Overall the event was definitely unique and interesting. Most mini golf tournaments aren’t team events...nor are they held at night...nor do they involve drastic changes to a third of the holes on the course. That said I like the differences this tournament brought as it really made it stand out. I believe there is still plenty of room for refinement with the timing of the rules and the pacing of rounds and the changes to too many holes. However, the big takeaway for me is that this is a way to expand the types of tournaments that a mini golf course could offer. It could bring out a different crowd that might not want to mini golf around a bunch of kids during the summer or people who want a way to have some socially distanced fun since bars are currently closed due to the pandemic. I think the tone struck the right balance between fun and competitive and offered something unique as a gateway to the big annual tournament happening on Saturday, August 22nd. I’m glad to have my first tournament win under my belt after playing in tournaments for five years, even if it means sharing it with my best friend.

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