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!
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!