THE old saying says drive for show and putt for dough and with $3,000 on offer to the winner of the inaugural Australian Mini Golf Open this week that’s never been more true.
The tournament will be played at Sydney’s Thornleigh Golf Centre this Sunday, November 6, with the winner walking away $3,500 richer.
Brainchild of Thornleigh Golf Centre owner Steve Aisbett, the tournament is aimed at promoting the concept that golf, and putting in particular, is for everyone.
“We can’t all hit it like Rory or Dustin Johnson but anyone can putt,” he says.
“I saw a mini golf tournament in America and the winner was a teenage girl from the Czech Republic.
“I just thought it was such a great concept and the fact anyone and everyone can compete, whether you’re an 80-year-old man or a 12-year-old girl, is fantastic.”
The teenager Aisbett refers to is Olivia Propovka, a regular on the Pro Mini Golf Tour in America who won an unprecedented ‘Triple Crown’ in 2013 when she claimed the US Open, US Masters and World Championships in one season.
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One of Australia’s best mini golf players is Allan Cox, a high handicap club golfer from Wollongong who has travelled to the US to play the US Tour in the past.
Cox, a former Australian champion, will be among the favourites at Thornleigh having aced all of the centre’s 36 holes in practice.
“It really doesn’t matter who you are or even if you play golf, you can compete in this event” says Aisbett.
“This is the first one obviously but I really expect it to get bigger each year and become quite the prestigious title.
“It doesn’t take a lot of physical talent to putt but there is a real skill in playing Mini Golf well and it will be fascinating to watch the day unfold.”
The tournament will see the top 50 do battle for the main prize over 36 holes of strokeplay on Sunday afternoon.
The entry fee is $50 which includes free practise all week at the Centre’s two courses, The Palms and Billabong layouts.
Interested players simply need to register and pay by 12.30pm Sunday with play to get underway at 1pm.
“I’m not sure how many we’ll have by Sunday but I expect it will be quite a few,” says Aisbett.
“$3,500 is a lot of money and I reckon there will be quite a few who fancy themselves decent putters who’ll back themselves to be a chance.
“And as the pressure increases the closer we get to the end it will be fascinating to see how people handle it.”
ROSS METHERELL WITH SOME ADVICE ON GETTING YOUR PUTTING GRIP RIGHT: