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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  CamillaM

06 Dec 2021 at 09:04

Success only comes with effort and a never give up attitude. Proud of you that you have come so far. I wanted to be involved in this game too but...

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

Could I Beat Biggy?
03 Jul 2021 at 12:17 | Posted in: Personal | Views: 509 | Comments: 0
Could I Beat Biggy?
Lining up what would be a critical putt to tie the match on 16

One of the nice things about minigolf as a competitive person is that there always seems to be something out there to quench the thirst of trying to get the better of fellow putters. It ranges from major international tournaments, to virtual putting events, to local course tournaments, to local weekly leagues. Or in the particular case I’m about to write about, a local journalist with an excellent surname, who thought throwing down the minigolf gauntlet would be a good story series for his paper. Enter David Biggy of, the now in its 3rd season, “Can you beat Biggy?”.

For my non-East Coast American readers, Biggy writes for The SandPaper a newsmagazine that covers Long Beach Island (LBI) in New Jersey, which is just South of the (in)famous Jersey Shore so many folks might be familiar with. One thing LBI has is a lot of minigolf courses, so this idea of doing challenges and holding them at different courses meet the needs of a few different spots of a local paper. When the first series was announced in 2019, I hadn’t heard of Biggy before and I wondered if he knew there was this world of competitive minigolfers right outside his backdoor that would jump on this challenge. Despite wanting to bring a bit of baptism by fire to the event, 2019 was a busy year for me in the minigolf world and after spending time for Holey Moley and the World Adventure Golf Masters, I wasn’t able to squeeze in a weekday trip 3.5 – 4 hours down the coast just to play a round of minigolf. I was happy when I saw my comrades at O-Street Mini Golf take him on in the open series (and winning). At that point I figured it was a one-year and done sort of thing and into the back of my mind it went.

The lovely year of 2020 came along and lo and behold, Biggy was back at it! Not only that but he seemed to hit it off well with O-Street and was getting into more of their events, so this was becoming less of a one-off thing and more something tied to the larger world of competitive minigolf. Unfortunately the events were held only a few months into the pandemic and when I first heard about it there was still a lot of uncertainty around travel, etc. As a result, I couldn’t make a good decision to take that trip to New Jersey from Connecticut and so I let that summer pass by as well. By the time the O-Street tournament came along later in the summer, things were clearer and I hoped to meet Biggy when I traveled down there for that but our paths didn’t cross.

When Biggy announced the 3rd season for this summer, everything looked like it was going to fall in place so I jumped on the opportunity to take him on. I made sure my fellow penguin Mandy could make it as the other half of our pair and scheduled our week against him for late June. The way the schedule has worked out so far in 2021, having this bit of competition on the calendar has been quite welcomed. When the U.S. Open moved earlier in the calendar and to Florida, it took an event away that I was planning on attending in May. Other than filling that spot with another short challenge (more on that in another blog), there was a desert of competitive events until the Matterhorn league starts in July and my first event of the year in August.

All packed up and ready to go I left my house around noon on Thursday and Mandy left her place in Maryland a little earlier. We were scheduled to play Biggy on Friday morning so our goal was to head down with enough time to potentially practice on the course we were scheduled to play and get in a few more rounds at different courses in the area. Of course, Northeast American traffic tends to have a way of throwing monkey wrenches into plans and after some significant delays we both made it to the hotel, somehow within 5 minutes of each other even though we were coming from opposite directions hundreds of miles away with no other coordination than a “I’m leaving” text. Given the distance between the hotel and the course (another 30 minutes) and the fact that we wanted to be back in time to watch that night’s episode of Holey Moley, we made the decision that we’d fly blind in the competition without any practice on the course and just play a couple courses more local to the hotel. At the very least it was still some sort of practice since it had been several weeks since I’d been on the minigolf course in any serious manner (i.e. without my kids), and the two courses we played were well-kept, fun and had some unique holes.

Friday came along and after a nice breakfast at the water’s edge I finally got to meet Biggy in person at
Jen’s Links at the northern tip of LBI. There are two courses there and he had us playing the High Tide course. We had managed to play about 6 of the holes before he arrived but for the most part we’d have no advantage. One thing we did have going for us was that it is a Harris course, so while I may have never played these specific holes, I was familiar with the style and how they typically played. I know Mandy was in a bit more for the fun and experience, but I was definitely in it for the win. I didn’t want to take it too seriously (if I had, I definitely would have gone up the night before to scope out the courses), but I did want to win for my personal reputation.

Before reading my account of how we got to the end, I suggest you read
Biggy’s actual story for the event. Yes, it will spoil my dramatic telling of it (and cover some of the same ground), but the whole point was to get him a column for his paper and I want to support that.

After some quick introductory videos, we teed off. Given we were the challengers, we teed off first so my goal was to play most of the holes safe unless I lost honors. With that Harris background I knew that for the most part it would be a deuce game since so very few Harris courses provided a ton of easy aces. Everything started off well as I carded the first deuce to Biggy and Mandy’s threes but the tide turned after Biggy went two-one to my three-two on the next two holes. Down by 1 three holes in I had 2 thoughts: 1) Don’t panic- there was a lot of minigolf left and 2) I hope I didn’t underestimate Biggy. I knew he was decent, and had the advantage of knowing these courses, but I figured my experience would carry me. We’d each swap a bogey over the next 5 holes leaving him still one ahead as we made the turn. Mandy also wasn’t far behind us, just sitting three strokes in back of me.

Was doubt creeping in at this point? Perhaps a little. As much as I would have been able to take losing and would have spun it my own way, deep down I wanted to win. I don’t think I would be any good at the competitive side if there wasn’t at least some level of drive like that even if the core of playing minigolf is still the fun. Like many rounds of competitive minigolf, it ended up coming down to one decision and then a bit of luck. Hole 16 had a new obstacle on it that, which was a “Plinko” style ramp that had been placed in the middle of the previous ace line that you would expect from a Harris course. Despite being wildly out-of-place, it presented a decision. Do you try to use the ramp and potentially get an ace, and perhaps not a bad 2 position, or do you go around and play for the two the whole way. With Biggy having honors, I got to see his result before I made my decision. With an unlucky bounce at the top of the ramp and having it come back down, he would end up carding a 3 for the hole. Having never played this hole before, I wasn’t confident in my speed for the ramp or how the ball might react to something putted too hard (to make sure I didn’t have it roll back down), so I decided to play for the safer shot. This involved going around a post and spinning it a little off an out-cropping of bricks. It was not without its challenges, though, as with a Harris course an errant crack was always in play. Luckily, I got a good shot and nailed the two putt to pull even with 2 holes left. In a longer tournament, one hole like that might not matter but in just one 18-hole round you had to make each decision count and I feel like those types of ones are where many years of playing competitive minigolf gives me an advantage over most people.

The goal now was to deuce the next two holes and not make any unforced errors, which I successfully did. Thankfully (for my record, not for Biggy) he had a bad bounce on 17 that lead to a bogey and that was the match. I would go on to win by 2 and Mandy would sit a few strokes behind Biggy. He would be the only one of us to get an ace in the round, carding and early bounce shot on hole 3.

Being the minigolfer he is, that wasn’t the end of our day with him even if the competition was over. We’d go on to play the other course at Jen’s Links, have lunch and then enjoy a round at a 60 year old classic course in the afternoon before Mandy and I had to brave Friday night traffic on the East Coast. All in all, not a bad way to spend about 24 hours at the shore!

The views expressed in this blog are solely the views of the writer and do not represent the World Minigolf Sport Federation (WMF), Minigolfnews.com or any other organization that the writer may be associated with unless expressly stated in the blog.

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