By Neal Maidment
The unifying power of golf was in evidence at the final of the inaugural Mini Golf Championship of WA at Collier Park GC on Saturday.
With 26 teams, an age range of 8 to 70+ and a mix of traditional golfers and those who have never stepped on a fairway before, the event was a celebration of all things good about golf.
Players had reached the final via qualification rounds at five mini golf courses across Perth and the South West, with prizes up for grabs in the Open, Junior and All Abilities categories.
With a two-ball better-ball format in play, the competition was close and intense with whoops of celebration echoing around the course signifying a hole-in-one or a lengthy par save.
The Junior competition was won Ethan Hews and Jackson Tait (pictured below), talented amateur golfers from The Vines and Joondalup CC respectively, who romped to a sizable margin of victory with a three-under-par 18-total of 43.
This left them eight strokes clear of Allayna Engel and Greta Abrahams, who pipped Kai Newcombe and Lachlan Loughbrough on a countback. The win earned Ethan and Jackson $500 cash between them, as well as golf goodies courtesy of event sponsor Drummond Golf Osborne Park.
The Open category was a much tighter affair that went right down to the wire, with Ross Nagle and John Taylor winning on a countback from Luke Johns and Mike Caves after both teams finished on 47.
Ross and John (pictured top), who both play at The Vines CC, had only reached the final as first alternatives after another team withdrew but they made the most of the opportunity to seize the title and the $1000 first prize.
“We’re absolutely stoked, it’s incredible to be state champions in any form of golf,” John told GolfWA. “Mini golf is a lot of fun and when we saw this event advertised we thought we’d give it a go and here we are. Now we’ve got bragging rights for the next 12 months!”
“We’ll definitely be back to defend our title next year,” added Ross. “We’ll be going back to the club, telling everyone about it, and getting them on board to try and beat us in 2024!”
There was also an All Abilities competition, which was won by Harry Pigdon and Tom Robertson, who shared the $500 top prize.
The event represents the first time GolfWA has staged a state championship in an alternate form of golf and Neil Goddard, GolfWA’s Operations Manager, was delighted with the successful staging.
“There was some serious money being played for today, but the biggest take-out for us was how much fun and enjoyment we saw across the field,” he said.
“We had grandparents competing with grandchildren, mums and dads with their kids, and juniors from as young as eight getting their first taste of competitive golf. It’s rare to see such variety in a single golf event and we look forward to seeing this tournament grow in the coming years.
“Our sincere thanks to all who competed in our inaugural championship. We hope we’ll see you again in 2024.”
Mini Golf Championship of WA final results
1st (c/b 47) = Ross Nagle & John Taylor
2nd (47) = Luke Johns & Mike Caves
3rd (49) = Kerrie Holmes & Richard Holmes, Ruby Cotton & Valerie Khuu
1st (43) = Jackson Tait & Ethan Hews
2nd (c/b/51) = Allayna Engel & Greta Abrahams
3rd (51) = Kai Newcome & Lachlan Loughbrough
All Abilities Category
Winners = Harry Pigdon & Tom Robertson