World golf championship, May 2019: Mini edition

Jeff and I renewed our fierce mini-golf rivalry on the weekend in a match that was filled with drama and a lot of crowds. We went to Eaglequest on Mother’s Day and mothers got to play for free. We had people in front of us and behind. The place was packed. It was a little weird, as last summer the crowds were minimal. Admittedly, it was insanely hot at the time, too, so maybe people were avoiding heatstroke.

I was set to rumble with a pink club, but sadly there were no pink balls, so I chose yellow.

Jeff was more color-coordinated, with both an orange club and orange ball.

It started out surprisingly cool out, hence the jackets, but warmed up as we progressed, just like the competition!

I started out with an early lead and through the first nine holes lead 29 to Jeff’s 35, a comfy six stroke margin. Keep in mind that the course is a Par 2 for every hole, so we were both already well off the ideal of 18.

Something weird happened on the second half of the course, as my verve swerved, right into the sand traps, out of bounds and everywhere except in or even near any hole. Jeff began closing the gap. In fact, we tied on three of the latter holes, but Jeff came out ahead on five. This meant that on Hole 18 we were tied at 57 each. My lead was gone. The final hole is a straight shot up the middle, though there are two uphill slopes. I used brute force when finesse was demanded and shot a par 5. Jeff shot a par 3, completing his come-from-behind victory and winning 60 to 62.

Still, it was fun all around and it perfectly sets up the revenge match later in the summer. Maybe I’ll play better when I’m sweating like crazy.

Mini-golfing maxi-years later: The Revenge

I thought it had been three years since I last went mini-golfing, but a quick check reveals it was in May 2012, over six years ago. Egad. I was so much younger back then. Six years, at least.

Back then Jeff and I played to a near-tie, with him edging me with a score of 61 to my 62. It was all in fun, of course, so the score doesn’t really matter.

Still, I yearned for revenge. Or to at least get a few more holes at par, managing a mere 4 of 18 last time.

And so we set off yesterday, back to Eaglequest Coquitlam. The stream was curiously a little healthier now, and there was even a small working fountain. I say this was curious because we are in the middle of a heatwave when I wouldn’t have been surprised to see everything dry as the hardpan in Death Valley. It was about 33ºC, so we were grateful for the shade trees. Fortunately, mini-golf is not exactly a high-impact workout, so the sweating mainly came from it just being really, really hot.

And good news! I managed to score par on 6 of 18 holes, proving dumb luck can count for something. Two of these were actual holes-in-one. Sure, it’s just mini-golf and I wasn’t going to win millions of dollars and then get caught in some kind of sensational scandal after, but it was still neat to watch those two balls plunk down into the cup after just one swing. Unlike Hole 14, where it took 7 swings (Jeff waited until Hole 16 for his 7-shot).

In the end I did get my revenge, with a score of 56 to Jeff’s 61. Yes, after six years away, Jeff returned to the course and got the exact same score. It’s a little weird. I improved, though I have no rational explanation for this.

But it was fun. We shot video, though Jeff is apparently a videophobe, so I only shot him playing through part of one hole. He captured my entire stellar 7-shot performance on Hole 14, though. I may post the video at some point. For now you may observe me missing on my fourth shot.

Missed by *that* much.

And the official™ scorecard:

Golfing in the miniature

Back when I was unable to gamble legally I accompanied my parents on summer vacation to, among others places, Reno, Nevada. As Mom and Dad were not heartless monsters, they found fun things for us underage types to do or better yet, activities we could all indulge in that didn’t involve one-armed bandits, roulette tables and such.

One of those activities was mini-golf at a stupendously elaborate mini-golf course outside the city. In retrospect it may have been outside of Las Vegas but I remember it definitely being in Nevada. Each hole was elaborately dressed with windmills and tunnels, hills, chutes, all the zany obstacles you expect at a deluxe mini-golf course. I’d always wanted to play again and finally, over 30 years later, I did just that today with Jeff.

The course we played on is far more modest than that Nevada wonderland — the 18 holes at Eaglequest Coquitlam (by coincidence we did indeed see an eagle up high in the sky overhead) are all rated at par 2 and while they feature a variety of layouts, slopes and obstacles (rocks or pilings) they’re pretty basic as mini-golf goes. But while the presentation wasn’t quite up there (including a mostly non-functional stream that was barely filled with some stagnant water) the holes were still zany good fun.

Neither of us managed a hole-in-one though we both had our moments. Neither of us managed par very often, either. :P I scored a solid par 5 on four holes, while Jeff took 6 shots on a pair. In the end we finished a mere point apart, with Jeff edging me for the victory 62-61.

Here’s the scorecard to make it official. I have added the date using advanced computer technology:

Mini-golf, maxi-scores

The weather was downright balmy, with temperatures in the low 20s, quite unusual for the first half of May. It felt as if we had been transported two months ahead and landed directly in summer. The best part of the game is neither of us landed balls in the stagnant water or on someone’s head.

We shall do this again. And then for a real good laugh, we may try real golf. I can already smell the sand traps.