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:-
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!