When discussion of representing your country at golf comes around, most people think of the Olympics or World Cup.
For the first time, Australia will send a team to compete in this year’s World Minigolf Championships in Croatia.
Perth golfer Dave Maiolo, who was drawn into the sport through a Facebook page, says when he was asked whether he was interested in representing Australia he thought “why not?”
“It’s a once in a life time opportunity” Maiolo told the Inside the Ropes podcast.
“I like the sport and golf as well, so why not give it a go? My involvement now in the sport is getting deeper and deeper – it’s taken over my day job really”.
While the sport may still be a bit of hit and giggle in Australia, in Europe it’s no laughing matter. No clowns or windmills as one might expect, instead it’s rubber balls, specialised putters on felt courses with loops and angles.
“They take it very seriously. The Swedish are renowned for it and the Germans, some of those guys are going around in 20 or 21, they are hitting 16 hole in ones in a round. Its big business over there, they love it” Maiolo said.
Maiolo, who is set to meet his Australia team-mates for the first time when he travels to Melbourne later this month, admits he is still somewhat of a novice and is still awaiting delivery of the specialised putter and rubberised balls, which are being sent from the World Minigolf Federation in Germany to his house in northern Perth.
And even then he is still likely to be at some disadvantage to the Europeans.
“The guys have got 20-30 balls in their bag apparently – the guys in Europe know what they’re doing,” said Maiolo, who plays off 15, and has set-up a funding page to help pay for the trip to the world championships in Croatia.
“They’ll use a different ball for a different lane and off they go.
“There’s over 10,000 different types of balls to be used and you can use a different ball on every hole. It’s made up of angles – it’s a bit like billiards really.”
Maoiolo has been practicing at Wembley’s new mini golf facility and, with The Vines also building their own course, he hopes the sport will begin to take off in Australia.
He hopes to start up a league when he returns back from the world championships, which run from September 20-23 at the Zaton Holiday Resort in Nin, Croatia. Maiolo is also set to compete at the World Adventure Golf Masters at the same location from September 11-12.
Listen to the full interview with David via the embedded audio at the top of the page.
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