The Current WAGM Champion speaks with us…

Well hello there again! I’m really getting into the stages of list making and stuff gathering ready for the trip. Making lists is one of my favourite things to do, so I’m in a very happy place right now!

I’m even happier because this week I had the great pleasure of speaking with Derice Shumilov Susoho, from Sweden, winner of the 2016 WAGM. Let’s find out what he had to say…

What got you playing minigolf initially?

I started playing minigolf by coincidence. I was on my way to my athletic practice and a man named Hans came up to me and asked if I wanted to try some minigolf. I gave it a try and aced my first shot and from that moment I have been playing minigolf!

It’s a fun memory that I often think about. That first stroke that gave me so much joy and memories the years to come.

How have you been training for the tournament?

I have been practising in my hometown and played some competitions. Nothing unusual, just to have quality time at the course and make the best of the time.

What are your personal goals for the tournament?

My goal for the tournament is to have a team medal, that would be fun. It would be even more fun if it was a gold one. For myself I want to play with focus and do my best. To not let things affect me and keep my mind on the game.

What have been you biggest achievements in minigolf?

I guess my biggest achievements are from last year’s WAGM. That was the first time I won a world championship in team and in individual stroke play. It really was a great feeling and still is.

Have you ever been given a coaching tip that really improved your game? If so what was it?

I guess everything that my coach Hans told me when I started playing. He taught me the basics and that has been what made me the player I am today.

What are you looking forward to the most?

To meet new and old minigolf players to make connections with. To build up my minigolf family and make new friends.

Would you like to share a non minigolfing fun fact about yourself?

I guess one fun fact would be that I dance samba. I have been dancing for quite a while and could not be without it. There is of course much more to me than the dancing but I will save that for my future conversations!

Apart from yourself – Who do you think will be the competitors to watch?

I actually don’t have an idea of other players than the Swedish ones whom will be competing in WAGM 2017. I would like that to be a surprise for the competition.

Tell us a little bit about what you do when you’re not playing Minigolf

I’m a student and studying to become a preschool teacher. I’m really looking forward for my teachers license and to start working.

Here’s Derice…

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Apologies but I don’t have a credit for this image- please let me know if you know who took it!

So another week closer, I still have a couple more interviews in the pipeline, and don’t forget myself, Simon and Alberto will be looking to interview lots of you whilst in Croatia!

Have a good week and see you soon!

 

 

A World Record holder joins us for a chat…

On more than one occasion, and in three different countries I have been fortunate to meet this week’s minigolfer in the spotlight, Pauli Kuikka. This gives you an indication of Pauli’s enjoyment of the game, and how he likes to combine his love of minigolf with his love of travel.

He’s very busy getting ready for the WAGM, but he managed to fit in answering my questions!

We know that Sweden is a big player in the world of minigolf – in your opinion how does Sweden keep creating such top players?

Tradition is the biggest reason and that it has been a working sport for 80 years. The clubs own their own facilities and there are many competitions and an expanded series game also allows you to measure better players and thereby gain experience and training.

I understand that you’ll be at the WAGM but not as a player – can you tell me more please?

That’s right, I’m in position as a leader and will not play.

I am responsible for giving the Swedish players that I selected to the championship the best possible conditions. This means, among other things, trying to ensure that the training is as optimal as possible, take care of planning and logistics and take care of things that occur so that players can focus on performing on the track.

Will you also be at the World Championships?

Unfortunately not, I would have liked to stay as an audience and listener, but I do not have the opportunity. (For the World Cup, Sweden has other leaders).

Who else will be coming from Sweden?

At The WAGM, I will lead 4 players who have been selected by me.

In addition, another 4 players from Sweden will participate and are organising their trip by themselves:

Pauli Kuikka, Askims BGK (Leader)

Derice Shumilov Susoho, Tantogårdens BGK

Alexander Dahlstedt, Tantogårdens BGK

Anders Lönnkvist, Kungälvs BGK

Torgny Kjellström, Kungälvs BGK

Jens Bergström, Askims BGK

Gunnar Bengtsson, Askims BGK

Robert Skyttberg, Askims BGK

Said Morell, Askims BGK

You played The Irish Open in Dublin where you achieved the world MOS record of 23, and you recently played in the Czech Masters – what do you enjoy about these international tournaments?

In recent years I have played competitions in both the United States; Japan; England; Ireland and the Czech Republic. The biggest reason I did this is to combine two things that I like: travelling and playing mini golf. It’s fun to visit other countries and it’s a perfect combination to combine vacation and competitions. For my part, I like to play on all four of the mini golf surfaces, but I play the best on MOS surfaces and there are not so many competitions in Sweden on the MOS. Another very nice dimension is that I thank the participants around the world and get lots of new friends.

(I agree Pauli – making new minigolf friends is a real bonus to competing!)

What was the best minigolf advice you were ever given?

Over the years it has become even clearer that the advice I was told early is the best –  work out a lot, but do not forget it’s going to be fun!

What are you looking forward to in Zaton?

I’m looking forward to several things; To meet old acquaintances and that the WAGM truly becomes a worldwide starting field with players from 5 different continents, and that Sweden hopefully defends the gold.

Who are the players to look out for in September?

It is fun that many youngsters are involved, and I believe in English Will Donnelly. Of course I think last year’s medalists are guaranteed to be dangerous this year, which means that Derice Susoho, Karl Lakos and Veronika Reed will be in contestants in their classes.

Then I think this facility fits US players better than last year’s course so in senior women I see Paula Gay as favorite and will be very surprised unless any of the American oldboys take a medal.

But the player you probably should look out for is the multiple champion from Germany, Martin Stöckle.

And finally, do you have an ‘interesting’ or ‘fun’ fact you’d like to share?

I Have played miniature golf since the 80’s (I switched direction, I played golf for a few years but have gave away the clubs from the other side!) Recently in YEC at Askim I was staff on the concrete path 7 for a little while and saw for the first time a ball split into 2 parts …

Thank you for your time Pauli, and in case some of you don’t know who Pauli is, here’s a photo!

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Photo by Marion Homer

We’ve updated the YouTube channel where we’ll be adding videos, so don’t forget to subscribe to the WorldMinigolfSport channel!!

That’s all for this week, I’ll be competing in the CEMGC Open this Saturday, and The BMGA British Doubles Championship on Sunday, both at Dunton Hills in Essex – wish me luck!!

Can you believe it’s August already?!

Hi there and welcome back!

I’ve been busy this last week arranging interviews with players, and organising more of the media coverage with my Partners In Crime – Simon and Alberto. We’re super excited about the way we’re going to bring both the WAGM and Championships to life for you – so if you’re not yet following on Instagram or Twitter, what are you waiting for?!!

Twitter – @WorldMinigolf

Instagram – WorldMinigolf

I have an interview from one of the female competitors this week – Paul Gay, the sole female player in Team USA! It was great to catch up with Paula and learn about her involvement with minigolf, and her perspective on the upcoming tournament.

First of all, Paula, thank you very much for spending time answering my questions! I have asked this of everyone I’ve interviewed so far, what got you playing minigolf initially?

I have a very unique and personal history with mini golf as my dad, Tracy Moore, built mini golf courses around the country back in the early 1960s and built and owned one in Augusta GA where I was born and raised and live today.

He won a National mini golf tournament in 1965 and passed away a month before he was to defend his title. They had a memorial tournament for him in the mid 1970s and I told my mom that I wanted to start playing.

The rest is history as they say and I have been competing ever since except for the early years that we were raising our two boys. I got involved with Bob Detwiler’s tournaments in 2014 when I competed in the Masters of Mini golf in Myrtle Beach, SC.  I was thrilled to win first place in the women’s division that year as Olivia Prokopova did not play because of a wrist injury.  She is such a great player and a sweet young lady that I have grown to love and one day I would love to be as good as her.

Have you represented USA internationally before?

I have never represented the USA before but am so excited to be chosen to represent not only the USA but the women that love this sport as much as I do.

I have never been out of the United States except on cruises and I am looking forward to traveling to Croatia for this tournament.  First of all it will be a wonderful traveling adventure for me to see other parts of the world, especially Croatia, and then to be able to compete with other countries and other women players will be so exciting.  

How do you feel being the only female in the team?

I am so excited to be the only woman on the team this year and I think only the second woman to be on Team USA.  Astra Stanwyck represented the USA back in the early 2000’s so like I said earlier, I am thrilled to have been chosen over so many other great male putters.

I would love to see more women get involved in mini golf as we can compete as well as men can with practice, patience and perseverance.

How have you been training for the tournament?

I would love to be able to practice and play more but unfortunately life and work get in the way. (Not to mention that we have a 16 month old grandson and a new one on the way in November.  So my husband James and I love to play papa and nana and keep him as often as we can which is at least once a week).  I play in about 6 tournaments a year and am trying to practice for this tournament by playing at my home course in local weekly tournaments.   My husband, James, plays in some of the tournaments as an amateur but doesn’t like to practice and play as much as I do. I am so very thankful to him for letting me travel out of the country with my mini golf buddies (and as some say, Paula’s Posse’) and to fulfill a dream come true.

What are your personal goals for the tournament?

My goals for this tournament are to be able to support my USA team members, who are like brothers to me, by playing the best that I can and being under par as much as possible and then I am hoping to bring home a medal in the senior women’s division.

What have been you biggest achievements in minigolf?

My biggest achievements in mini golf include a women’s national title in 1981.  Masters of Mini golf women’s division: 2014 1st place, 2015 3rd place and 2016 2nd place.  US Open of Mini golf : 2015 1st place, 2016 3rd place and 2017 2nd place.

Have you ever been given a coaching tip that really improved your game? If so what was it?

Some of the great coaching tips that friends and fellow putters have given me over the years include practice, practice, practice.  It can take a lot of repetition of drilling on each hole to learn all the shots and breaks that each hole has.  Sometimes we are out on the course we are learning for 10 to 12 hours a day.  Some people don’t understand that but that is one of the things you have to do to compete on a professional level.  Another tip I learned is to try and practice in the same shoes that you are going to compete in as different shoes can throw your stance off and cause you to stand differently with different shoes.  I also like to stay on one hole and drill repeatedly until I am comfortable with that hole instead of just hitting say 3 or 4 balls on a hole before moving on.  These are some of the things that have helped me over the years and I still do them.

What are you looking forward to the most?

What I am looking forward to the most about this trip is being able to travel internationally for the first time and seeing the beautiful country of Croatia.  I have heard that it is a travelers paradise and one of the most beautiful countries to go to.  Being able to go with my mini golf buddies and practicing on the beautiful course they have at the Zaton Holiday Resort makes for a trip of a lifetime. Thanks so much to Bob Detwiler and USPMGA, Jon Drexler, our coach and mentor, and Matt Bellner and Chromax for all they do to support mini golf and Team USA.

Would you like to share a non minigolfing fun fact about yourself?

A fun fact about me is that when I tell people that I meet that I am a Professional Mini golfer they just look at me funny and smile as most do not know that they have professional Mini golf.  My family, friends and church friends that know me, all love to hear about my adventures and where I am off to next and how well I did in my tournaments.  I am also a Massage Therapist and Esthetician by trade and have been for 13 years.  I love helping people feel better and love my job because unlike a lot of professions, I have great job satisfaction.

Thanks to Paula, and here is a photo of her so you can say ‘hi there’ when you meet her in a few weeks!

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Photo by John Ventura

So that’s it for another week, more interviews to come, including the Captain of GB’s WAGM squad, a top Swede and also a German champion!

Until next time, happy putting!

Marion

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome back old friends…

Good afternoon from a not so sunny corner of Great Britain!

This week I caught up with Maciej Mądrowski to talk about Poland’s return to the international arena and to learn a bit more about Maciej and his other passion – cars.

Poland are playing in the World Championships.

So Maciej, what got you into minigolf?

When I was a kid in mid 90s, an adventure type course opened in my town and I was hooked. I used to play at least one round every day after school. Of course in those days in Poland nobody knew of eternit courses, different balls, or the WMF for that matter. We played with a standard golf ball, putter and in complete ignorance of European Minigolf. But it was brilliant fun, a whiff of western world in a still grey and gloomy post-communism polish province.

What keeps you playing after all these years?

Fast forward ten years and I returned to my town after graduating university to start a business and joined the local minigolf club established in the meantime. I received a minigolf putter and a very basic set of balls and was told to forget everything I thought I knew about how to play. But the fun was still there! Especially because we met friends from other clubs and started participating in tournaments both home and abroad.

We’re still nowhere near the level of our German, Czech or Swedish players  – the whole minigolf scene here is about 50 people, but we have hopes for the development of our game and work with the Polish Ministry of Sport towards creating a Polish Minigolf Federation. Creating a new sport that wasn’t there before is quite interesting, so I’m definitely looking forward to that.

And now you have a team representing Poland at the World Championships! How many players will be in the squad?

There are currently four players, all men, who confirmed their participation, but we still have our hopes up for assembling a national team, and bringing at least one woman player (negotiations are ongoing).

What preparation will you do in the build up to the tournament in September?

Training in Poland is difficult, as certified minigolf courses are scarce, but surely I’ll try to attend as many tournaments as possible.

So, moving onto another passion of yours, cars – will you be driving to Croatia from Poland?!

I’m taking part in a classic car rally that goes from Poland to the Basque Country in the first half of September. I’m driving my 1983 Polski Fiat 125p, a family heirloom given to me by the first owner, my grandfather. I had a plan to drive it from Spain to Croatia for the Championships, but that would mean over 10k km in the old Fiat, which isn’t the most reliable car, to say the least. Still, a few days after I return from the rally the four of us from Team Poland are starting the journey by car to Croatia for the World Championships.

It’s well documented that some sports players have superstitions they follow, I’m curious to know if you have any?

I’m not really superstitious at all, so no lucky charms for me. I wear a heavy wristwatch and I noticed my stroke is different without it, so I hope not to lose it during the championships.

What are you hoping the Croatian experience will bring you?

Most of all I’m hoping to meet friends – old and new! The fondest memories I have from Bad Munder, the only World Championships I participated in, are of meeting great people from around the world, passionate about minigolf, like me. I think this time even more countries will participate, which is great news. Improving my game is obviously the most important thing sportswise, so I’m hoping to return home a better player.

Do you have a ‘fun’ fact you’d like to share with everyone?

Did you know there’s tri-course tournament being played in the Tri-City area of Poland every year? It’s almost like a cross between minigolf and a car rally. One day, three courses, over 100km of driving between them, only one round per course and almost no time for training. The Tri-City Tournament of the Three Courses we call it. Loads of fun!

(That sounds amazing Maciej!)

One more question, who are your players to watch at the World Championships?

I honestly couldn’t say, especially because my favourite national team isn’t participating in the World Championships, just in WAGM!

I don’t know many players, that’s kind of why I’m so excited to go to Zaton and meet new people. But I can tell you this, when I was in Bad Munder, I remember a matchplay duel for the mens quarterfinal between Filiph Svensson and Walter Erlbruch, and the incredibly exciting sudden death overtime which lasted for so many lanes I thought it wouldn’t end! So instead of naming players, my hope is to witness another epic duel like that!

Thank you for your time Maciej – and for all of you who have not yet met Maciej – here’s a photo of him:-

Maciej

Copyright: Przegląd Olkuski 2011

So there we are, it was great to catch up with Maciej, and if you’ve ever thought about playing in a Polish tournament, I can recommend the Polish Championships at Krynica Morska – a fantastic course in a great setting!

I have some great interviews coming in the next few weeks, and if you have a story to tell, just get in touch!

Have a good week and keep practising, it won’t before we’re all in the sunshine in Croatia – can’t wait!

Marion

 

 

 

 

 

 

T-Minus Eight weeks…

Happy Sunday wherever you are reading this!

There are now eight weeks until we all move across the globe from our minigolf homes to the Zaton Holiday Resort in Nin Croatia! (www.zaton.hr)

The Social Media Crew of Simon, Alberto and myself have had a flurry of correspondence this week with Pasi and Evgeny from the WMF, and we are confident that you will be fully informed of all that is happening on the lanes, and sometimes, off them!

If you haven’t already done so, please ‘like’ the Facebook page –www.facebook.com/minigolfsport and follow us on Twitter@WorldMinigolf and Instagram worldminigolf

We’ll be ramping up the competition excitement through these pages, and you don’t want to miss out!

This week I caught up with Greg Newport, Captain of Team USA. Some of you may be aware that Greg is the 4th ever sanctioned perfect 18 in Putt-Putt history at the Professional Putters Association’s (PPA) Virginia Open. What an achievement!

I asked Greg about his start in minigolf and what he considered to be his proudest  achievements so far…

I started playing minigolf in local tournaments at courses in the Charlotte, North Carolina area where I grew up back in 1984. The reason I started was because I wanted to do something that I could beat my brother, who was the athlete of the family. I had a lot of fun, so when I found out there were other tournaments around, I started travelling to tournaments around the US in 1989.
I played in USPMGA tournaments starting in 2006. My proudest moments would have to be when I won the USPMGA US Open in 2007, winning the USPMGA Masters National Championship in 2009, firing a perfect 18 on a minigolf course similar to felt just last year as well as winning the bronze medal in the senior division of the WAGM.”

I then asked what disappointments Greg has felt, and what he took away from these:- 

“I’ve been very fortunate that in my career I haven’t had many disappointments, but the ones I’ve had just made me want to practice harder and make sure I set my mind on the prize I want.”

We moved to tournaments and what the calendar looks like for Greg, as well as his thoughts on the WAGM in Croatia.

“Generally I play in about 30 events a year here in the US, while last year’s WAGM in Kosovo was the first international tournament for me.
My expectations this year is to try to medal. Last year was our first international experience on a wonderful course in Kosovo, so with a year under our belts we want to challenge for a medal.
All teams will be tough, especially Germany and Sweden, but I think we have a shot to medal. We have some players without international experience, but all of our players have competed routinely against the best in the US, and now we will be competing against the best the world has to offer. Jon (Jon Drexler, team coach) has acquired some equipment to help us get prepared for this year’s event, and I think we will be ready.”

As at the WAGM last year, the team are sponsored by Chromax, so I asked Greg if they were going with a one ball strategy:-

“My plan is to use a Chromax ball on most every hole. As was the case last year, I’m sure there will probably be a couple holes where a European ball will be needed, such as the water jump hole where a dead bounce is needed. I certainly want to thank Chromax for sponsoring this year’s team, without their help this would not be possible.”

I was delighted to see that the team includes a woman – Paula Gay, and I’m hoping to get some thoughts from Paula as the lone woman in the squad!

“Paula Gay is a great addition to the team. She is an outstanding player and a better person. She is not the first woman to represent the US, as Astra Stanwyck played for the US in the World Championships back, I believe, in 2005.”

I asked Greg who he thought were the players to watch at the WAGM:-

As far as players to watch, internationally I think Daniel Vlcek from the Czech Republic is on top of the list. I watched him play in Kosovo last year, and I was really impressed with his preparation and execution. It seemed like nothing got to him at all, and he finished runner-up in last year’s WAGM. One to watch for the US I think is Rick Culverhouse, he is on the team for the first time, but his preparation is second to none. He’s a great player here in the States, and he will be on his game in Croatia.”

Greg added:-

“I want to give thanks to Bob Detweiler and the USPMGA for sponsoring the team as well as Chromax. I also want to thank Jon Drexler for all the work he puts in to make this possible. He is so committed to making it easy for the team to play, and does a lot behind the scenes. I am honored and humbled to be selected as the captain of Team USA, and we will do our best as well as enjoy the time we spend in Croatia.”

I want to make sure everyone knows who Greg is, and can give him a hearty ‘hello’ when you meet him in Croatia, so here’s a photo of him:-
Greg Newport by Lisa Johnson.JPG
Photo by Lisa Johnson

Thanks to Greg for his time, and I look forward to bringing you another profile next week, but until then, may your putts be solid and your aces plentiful!

Marion

The lull before the storm…

So here we are, mid July and the teams for the WAGM (Click here for the list ) and World Championships (Click here for the list) have been announced.

Right now, in all of these countries, tough team selection decisions are being made, team kit is being ordered and final travel preparations are put into place.

I will be highlighting the USA team in the next few weeks, finding out how they make their selections, and what sort of preparations are required to bring a squad over to Croatia from the US.

Poland are returning to The World Championships after a long break, and we’ll be speaking to the team spokesman Maciej Madrowski very soon.

We want to know how you decide which minigolf balls a team chooses to take to an international tournament – there are, after all, hundreds to pick from!  Leave a comment in the comment section below this post!

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Do you have a minigolf nickname? If so, tell us about it – where did it originate from? Or is this, as I suspect, just a British thing?!!

Simon, Alberto and I will be the subject of an interview after the tournaments for Minigolf News, and we are going to be working with Minigolf News over the coming months to ensure you all get to see and here what’s going on.

If you would like your team to be featured here, and at the tournament, contact me at mrsmarionhomer@yahoo.co.uk, or leave me a message in the comment section below and I’ll be in touch.

I look forward to getting to know more about you all in the coming weeks, but until then, happy putting!

Marion (Double Trouble) Homer

Minigolfing in Croatia, Part Three

Hey there, happy July! Can you believe we’re another month closer to The Croatian adventure?!

This week Simon, Alberto and I have been discussing how we’re going to cover the two events in September. I know when GB are taking part, I can’t resist keeping up with the scores and it can be a very tense day at work, so our aim is to bring the tournament to you – whether you’re actually there in person, or watching from another part of this wonderful planet of ours.

I also caught up with Alberto, the Italian part of our merry band of three, and I found out what got him into minigolfing and his plans for the tournaments in September…

Alberto Pirovano-Italy 🇮🇹  44 years old from Monza,

“I started playing minigolf sport many years ago in 1984, after two years of summertime golf played in Sanremo, where my brother and I usually spent our evenings playing minigolf too.

In 1985 we followed the Elite European championships at our home course in Monza and we fell in love with minigolf sport. That year was also great for our career, in fact my brother and I with another young player won the Italian junior team championships.

In 1989, at only 16 years old I won the Italian Master championships, where after one year of tournaments, the best 20 players were qualified. (The youngest player in the competition, winning another three times). Three times I won the Italian championships with my team (2004, 2006, 2010) and four times I won the Italian ranking too.

My life and my passion for minigolf crossed again when in 1997, my father, my family and our company decided to build a minigolf indoor course in Vedano. An important economical sacrifice but after 20 years we are very happy to have done it. Every year we organize a night marathon with players and pairs from more than 15 countries and this is the best moment for us; we spend more than six months making the tournament perfect.

I’m an architect and at the same time the manager of our sport center in Vedano. I have great job satisfaction but also great responsibility. This means I don’t have as much time now for minigolf aa I want to spend time with my great family. I play some important tournaments and I try to give my support to our minigolf team of MC Monza.

I have spent time at international championships as a player, coach, head coach, manager and spectator so I will try to do my best in Croatia 🇭🇷 to promote our sport and to make all the people interested in this event happy.”

For those of you who don’t yet know Alberto – here’s a photo…don’t forget to say hello when you see him in September! Alberto covered the Grand Prix in June at Zaton resort, so Simon and I will be relying on him to show us around!

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It’s the British Open in Hastings next weekend, the last major of the GB calendar, and a number of our International friends are going to be there, I’m hoping I’ll be able to catch up with some to find out their thoughts, ahead of the WAGM and Championships.

Please share this with your friends and through your social media outlets, it would be great to get to as many minigolfers as we can, and maybe give an insight into our world to those friends who don’t play!

So for another week, I’ll bid you a fond farewell,

Marion