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!

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!!

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