What really happened on the mini golf course

Tue, 07/31/2007 - 12:49pm
By: Kevin Wandra

Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods are widely considered three of the greatest golfers of all time. As for miniature golf, not one names stands out.

Well, for one day at least, I was the greatest miniature golfer of all time. OK, I’ll calm down and say I held that title for perhaps just one day in Georgia.

I earned it by defeating my colleague, sports editor Mike Boylan, in 36 competitive holes of miniature golf in grueling, 90-plus-degree heat last week at DixieLand Fun Park in Fayetteville. (I felt as though I was playing golf in the Sahara Desert. I could have sworn I saw a couple of camels walk by at one point.)

Mike and I staged an intense competition on the first course, Riverwalk. He didn’t pull out the victory until the final hole, reaching par on an unchallenging hole. (Attention DixieLand Fun Park: Make the final hole difficult by adding some obstacles, such as a sand trap, a ramp that the ball must be hit over, rats from Tinseltown running across the hole, etc.)

I lost by one shot. Mike’s miraculous hole-in-one on a previous hole did me in.
Mike took pride in his victory, throwing up his arms and declaring that it was the best thing that happened to him since the birth of his child and the Boston Red Sox shocked the world by winning the 2004 World Series, much to the dismay of this proud New York Yankees fan. I thought about contacting DixieLand’s security team to apprehend him, but I decided to let him get overconfident, setting himself up for a loss on the next course, Lakeside.

(OK, OK, Mike didn’t mention his child or the Red Sox following his win, but he was happier than Steve Martin after Martin inhaled the laughing gas in “Little Shop of Horrors.”)
I’m not Nostradamus, but that loss I predicted Mike would suffer on the second course? Well, it actually happened.

Mike began to unravel at the midway point of the second course. As he was setting up to putt, one of the kids playing behind us decided to tee off early, and he whacked his ball just past Mike, setting off Mike into a fit of rage.
Mike yelled over to the kid, “Come on, guys! We’re trying to play over here!"

I seriously thought Mike was going to pull a Lou Ferrigno from the late 1970s to early 80s TV show “The Incredible Hulk” and tear apart the entire park. Being the good guy he is, though, it didn’t take long for Mike to calm down and resume play. (Mike wasn’t actually that angry. I just thought I would describe his actions like that to get under his skin.)

When we reached the final hole, which, like the one that ended the first course, wasn’t difficult at all, I had a three-stroke lead. I three-putted the hole, defeating Mike by two strokes.

Mike added up the final score from both courses, and I pulled out a one-shot victory, 103 to Mike’s 104. It always feels good to watch a Red Sox and New England Patriots fan suffer the agony of defeat.

On a side note, Mike and I took part in two more competitions, both indoors: basketball and air hockey. I felt like Michael Jordan shooting the rock, drilling shot after shot en route to an easy victory in basketball, and in air hockey, I held off numerous comebacks by Mike to end the glorious day with a hard-earned 7-4 victory.

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