Six of the best – Michael proves himself a worthy champion once again!

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Scott Lancley and Steve Lovell
Defending champion Michael Smith won the 2019 Midlands Mini Golf Open for the sixth time in seven years over the Adventure Golf course at Four Ashes Golf Centre. Michael’s three round score totalled 100 with rounds of 34, 33 and 33. He was joint second after the opening round, but led by two shots with one round to play, and a second successive 33 saw him clinch his sixth title since he first won it in 2012. His win also further strengthened Michael’s ranking as the UK’s number one mini golf player. The 33 year old, from Oxford, took up mini golf in 2010 and now travels all over the country, and the world, playing the game.
Michael Smith
Michael Smith

A fantastic facility

Martyn Williams
Martyn Williams

“Obviously I’m delighted to win, but I’m delighted too that the weather was much kinder to us than it was last year when we played this tournament at Four Ashes, and it poured with rain!” said Michael. “It’s a lovely course, a fantastic facility and we love coming to Four Ashes.”

Players came from all over the UK to take part in the two day event, which finished on Sunday with a tournament in the old mini golf course in front of the cafe at Four Ashes. Among them was the captain of the Wales Mini Golf team, Martyn Williams, from Cardiff, who finished 16th.

“Four Ashes is a lovely place to visit, everyone makes us very welcome, and it’s a great two days,” he said. “I can see why this place is such a popular visitor attraction.”

Consistency and preparation

The Midlands Mini Golf Open is organised by the British Mini Golf Association, whose chairman is Scott Lancley, from Margate, who took up mini golf in 2006, and who also travels the world taking part in tournaments. He said: “The most important thing is to have fun, but if you love it like I do, then being competitive adds to my enjoyment of the sport.

“Mini Golf is a great leveller, and great fun, but competitively it’s about being consistent over three rounds, keeping your head up after a bad hole, and knowing the course you’re playing, so preparation is important,” said Scott, who finished 10th in the Midlands Open but took the gold medal in the BMGA match play tournament around the mini golf course.

Indeed, as an example of preparation, Steve Lovell from Cambridgeshire – also a member of the event organising team and an international player – spent eight hours on the Wednesday before this event playing the Four Ashes’ Adventure Golf course to familiarise himself for the weekend.

“I can happily play mini golf all day, and I love playing the Adventure Golf course at Four Ashes: it’s a lovely course, and challenging too,” said Steve, who finished fifth in the Midlands Open, nine shots behind Michael Smith. “Why did I take up mini golf? I was a 12-handicap golfer but struggled to make time to play, whereas with mini golf you only need to give up a couple of hours and that suited me better.

Scott Lancley on the mini golf course
Scott Lancley on the mini golf course

“I love it, and since I started entering tournaments I love the cameraderie,” he said. “If you love playing mini golf, have a go at a tournament, you never know where it could lead!