KMGC
THE KENT MINIGOLF CLUB
"unus putt rego lemma totus"

BMGA CLUB CHAMPIONSHIP 2011
NOVEMBER 27TH 2011
Four Ashes Golf Centre, Dorridge

THE 2011 KMGC CLUB CHAMPIONSHIP SQUAD
Left to right: Andy, Marc, Sean, Michael, Adam, Tony, Marion and Scott
For full results from the competition click here, and for photos from the competition click here

The top 9 KMGC players headed to Dorridge to contest the season ending tournament on the BMGA tour, the 2011 British Club Championship. The club had won the tournament for the first time in 2010 and the Club Championship was the perfect way to end the 2011 season, but only if one of the two KMGC teams could triumph!

 

“There will be no easy matches – everyone will be out to beat us – we are the favourites – people will want to see us lose – shame that they won’t get what they want!” – Captain Freebird.

 

“The Spitfires will take no prisoners. I almost feel sorry for our opponents – but not quite!” – Mr X.

Once again there had been frenzied speculation in the media, as well as a running poll on Sky Sports News as to the identity of the 2011 line-ups. Many people might have expected AK47 to be rewarded for a brilliant season with a place in the Kent Spitfires team but Freebird ended months of speculation by picking the same teams as 2010. That meant that the Kent Hurricanes would consist of Captain Donkey Gringo, TK Max, AK47 and Double Trouble whilst Mr X, The Force, HIOK and Captain Freebird made up the Kent Spitfires. Perfect Par was representing the Allstars. Never before had the same line-up of 4 players successfully defended the title. But since when did the KMGC care about historical records? Records were made to be broken…

With the club’s two teams gunning for the title, the build-up had unsurprisingly included much friendly banter and more psychological warfare than a Sir Alex Ferguson + Jose Mourinho duel. Saturday saw two practice matches between The Hurricanes and The Spitfires. The first looked set to be a draw until the final shot from Donkey Gringo was an ace at the 12th that sealed a one hole win. The next match was a 4 hole annihilation for The Hurricanes. The match included Freebird missing the castle entrance on hole 5 and HIOK scoring a 5 at hole 7 and 4 at hole 9. The matches were fiercely contested with gimmies few and far between. Mr X was absent for the matches but that did nothing to stop the euphoria emanating from The Hurricanes with Double Trouble and TK Max in particular demonstrating a lack of restraint in hiding their delight. Such brilliant sledging would not have been out of place in the great Australian cricket team. Naturally The Spitfires took the defeats with great dignity. HIOK was muttering that “The Hurricanes will regret being so cocky if we play them tomorrow” and Freebird was whispering darkly “practice smactice, friendly smiendly, practice smactice, friendly smiendly” over and over.

The Hurricanes were buoyant after some brilliant minigolf and that the defending champions would need Mr X on top form if they were to retain the title. With Ace Man in France, Mr X has become the ‘Daddy’ of British Minigolf thanks to all his years of experience. You might argue that he could be called The Granddaddy, The Grandfather or The Godfather as AK47 is just young enough to be his grandson. But whatever his name, The Daddy was needed to rescue his ‘hatchlings’ in The Spitfires team.

 

Kent Hurricanes beat Kent Spitfires twice in practice!” – Double Trouble tells the Facebook universe about The Hurricanes double triumph.

“What’s the key word in the sentence? Practice!” – The Force responds.

Saturday night left many unanswered questions as the club’s players prepared for their day of destiny. Could The Spitfires retain the title? Would The Hurricanes continue their fine practice form when it really mattered? Or would Midlands, The Green, London, or Cambridgeshire pip both teams and take the title? Far more importantly than any of those were the other big four questions: How many Grrrrrrs would Perfect Par utter? Would Captain Donkey Gringo unleash another unique handshake? Would Freebird ever win a coin toss? And which team would be the smartest and sexiest – The Spitfires in black, after Freebird ordered his team to be dark and moody, never usually a problem for those 4 – or The Hurricanes in orange, looking colourful, optimistic, and trying to blind the opposition into submission?

 

“He might not make it!” – TK Max gleefully suggests that Mr X may not arrive at Dorridge to leave the Spitfires stranded with only 3 players. Fortunately MI5 did not hear this remark or they may have assumed TK Max had planned an assassination attempt on Mr X’s life.

Mr X arrived safe and sound after an epic car chase that would have satisfied any James Bond fan. He was at Dorridge at 4AM on Sunday Morning. With his children, Tornado and Hurricane, holding 2 torches each, he was able to learn the shots under the cover of darkness. Then Mrs X took the children home and left Mr X with the delicious cake and cupcakes that would feed the KMGC army to victory.

 

“Oh dear, down in the ditch!” – Perfect Par comments on AK47’s less than perfect practice shot at hole 9.

Unfortunately the Midlands B team had pulled out leaving the club captains with a decision to make. Should the format stay the same but with the other three teams in Group A being awarded 3 points? Or should it be a league format where every team plays each other in 9 hole matches? The captains all voted and with no need for a coalition this time, the original format won in a 4-3 margin.

 

“A day may come when the courage of the KMGC fails, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship, but it is not this day. An hour of woes and shattered shields, when the age of the KMGC comes crashing down! But it is not this day! This day we fight! By all that you hold dear on this good Earth, I bid you stand and fight, warriors of the KMGC!” – Captain Freebird proposes to destroy the One Ring!

In the first round of matches, Perfect Par went head-to-head with his team-mates as the Kent Hurricanes took on Allstars. This was a slow start for The Hurricanes in a match where the Allstars put in an unexpectedly strong showing. The Hurricanes never pulled away but held their nerve to win by 2 holes.

The Kent Spitfires were expecting their match against The Green to be a close affair but it didn’t turn out that way. Captain Sethers drew out hole 11 as the start hole. Freebird duly lost the toss but that was the only blip in a very strong performance. The Green scored a 10 at hole 11 and never fully recovered whilst the Kent Spitfires went from strength to strength. Only 8 holes were played and Freebird was only required to play 5 of them in an impressive 5 and 4 victory.

In the second round of matches, the KMGC top 8 impressed not by playing flawless minigolf but by showing the fighting spirit and nerve under pressure that had served them so well throughout the season.

Cambridgeshire had been annihilated 4 and 3 by Midlands A in round 1 but they raised their game to give the Kent Hurricanes a real fright. Cambridgeshire were 2 holes up with just three to play. Then The Hurricanes showed their class with some great late aces and solid pars to win three consecutive holes and come through to win by one hole. The Allstars again put on a decent showing in round 2 only losing to Midlands A by 2 holes.

It was equally tight for the Kent Spitfires. The London team were captained by the ever calm and relaxed Steve ‘F1’ Gow, and whilst his team were not the strongest on paper, they produced a great performance for 11 holes as they threatened to end The Spitfires 6 match winning run. Aside from a disappointing 7 total at hole 10, The Spitfires were not dropping shots but they only managed 6 aces between them. The match was all square with just one hole to play, the tricky 2nd. A respectable total of 7 with pars from The Force and Mr X beat a London total of 10 to win the match by one hole.

The KMGC were riding their luck but with a 100% record for both teams, it was a case of so far so good. Nevertheless, the opposition had shown their intent with some good minigolf and both The Hurricanes and Spitfires knew they had to up the ante if the KMGC were to retain the title.

Full credit to the awesome Kent Hurricanes. In their battle with Midlands A to decide which team topped group B and thus avoided the Kent Spitfires in the Semi-Finals, they produced their best minigolf. It was a real feast of aces from both teams with Chris Harding producing his usual brilliance as player and captain to keep the match close. Had Midlands A not played so well, the margin of victory would have been huge, The Hurricanes played that well. Ace after ace kept dropping and all 4 players were contributing. A brilliant 2 and 1 victory was the least they deserved. The Allstars found Captain Ruthers and company in irresistible form as Cambridgeshire recorded a 5 and 4 victory.

The Spitfires made full use of their fortunate draw and practice time. It was the first and only time Freebird got to play all 12 holes and with some useful tactical discussions, especially on hole 3, The Spitfires felt ready to unleash their true potential in the knockout matches.

The Semi-Final line-up was as followed: The Kent Hurricanes would play The Green and attempt to avenge 2 defeats from 2010 whilst The Spitfires would take on Midlands A. The Allstars ended with two further close losses to Cambridgeshire and London to seal 7th place. Could The Hurricanes and Spitfires both win to set up the dream final?

 

“A quick start is essential!” – Captain Freebird.

With the Kent Spitfires starting from hole 1 and the Kent Hurricanes starting from hole 9, the start of the matches was always going to be important. The teams started in contrasting fashions.

The Spitfires got off to the best possible start with Freebird winning the toss (yes really) and then winning the first 3 holes. But Midlands A didn’t panic and they hit back superbly to win holes 5 and 6. The Spitfires won the 7th with a stunning ace from Freebird but an excellent ace from Who was enough for Midlands A to win the 8th.

Hole 9 was the key moment. Two superb aces from The Force and Mr X gave the Spitfires a total of 4 and that put them 2 up with just 3 to play. When holes 10 and 11 were halved, the Kent Spitfires sealed a 2 and 1 victory. They still weren’t yet at their best but having out-aced Midlands A 9-5, they were in good shape for the final. But who would be their opponents?

Sadly The Hurricanes had a start to forget. They played hole 9 well with Donkey Gringo’s excellent ace giving them a good total of 5 but aces from WMD and Captain Clockwork giving The Green the lead. Things got worse when a couple of dropped shots gifted The Green hole 10, then things got even worse so that after 4 holes, The Green lead by 3 holes.

Lesser players and lesser teams may well have crumbled but to be fair to the Kent Hurricanes they stayed strong and closed the gap. The Green became a little nervous and their lead was cut to 1 hole with just 7 and 8 to play. But full credit to The Green. Between Boom, Captain Ruthers, Clockwork Orange and now WMD, The Ref, and The Kid, they’ve been the KMGC’s nemesis over the past year or so but their team held their nerve to seal a deserved 2 and 1 victory.

Due to a battle to beat the darkness from ending the tournament, The Kent Hurricanes did not have much time to dwell on their defeat before facing a re-match with Midlands A. This was a good standard match with both teams on the verge of playing really well though the aces weren’t quite dropping as much as captains Donkey Gringo and Who would have liked. Captain Harding had made a tactical switch by moving James Trubridge up the order and the Midlands A proved too strong and earned a 3 and 2 victory. 4th place for the 2nd straight year was a disappointing result from the Kent Hurricanes but Captain DG was quite rightly proud of his players. The quartet of Double Trouble, Donkey Gringo, TK Max and AK47 have all had brilliant 2011 seasons on the BMGA tour and they’ll be even better in 2012.

The 2011 BMGA tour has seen some amazing final rounds this year with Rumble In The Jungle, National Open, British Masters, British Matchplay, British Doubles, British Open and the World Crazy Golf Championship all producing thrilling finishes. And yet, the final of the British Club Championship arguably trumped the lot. It was a truly brilliant standard of play from both teams and a thrilling way to end the season.

It started with the great drama of the most controversial minigolf coin toss since the ‘bushes incident’ at Clambers. Captain Clockwork had called Heads when Freebird accidentally dropped the coin. It had landed on Heads but when it was re-tossed, the result was Tails which meant Freebird won. Clockwork Orange was much too nice to make a fuss but had he just given Freebird and The Spitfires the psychological edge?

The first few holes were a case of the KMGC versus Captain Clockwork as Captain Clockwork scored a hat-trick of aces on holes 1 through 3. HIOK aced hole 1 whilst The Force aced the 2nd to ensure the match started with two halves. Then the Kent Spitfires showed their class with The Force, Mr X and HIOK all acing hole 3 to go 1 up. When The Force and HIOK aced the 4th, the gap was 2 holes.

With The Spitfires having won their earlier match so convincingly, it would have been easy for The Green to lose belief but this did not happen. The Force aced hole 5 with The Force ball for a staggering 4 consecutive aces from him but aces from The Kid and The Ref reduced the gap to 1 up. Mr X and HIOK aced the 6th for a competitive total of 4 but WMD, Clockwork Orange and The Kid all aced the hole to level the match. Three players were -4 for the first half of the match and the opening six holes had yielded an impressive 8 aces from The Green and 10 from the Kent Spitfires.

The Green continued their hot form when WMD and The Kid aced hole 7 for a great total of 4. HIOK aced the hole to give The Spitfires hope but whilst Freebird hit a brilliant putt, the klicker slid by the hole and The Green were now 1 up with 5 to play.

The Green had won 3 holes in a row and the pressure was on The Spitfires to regain the momentum. But great aces from The Force and HIOK were enough to level the match with zero aces from The Green. Both teams failed to match their hole 9 heroics from the previous round but a 3 and 7 pars between them ensured a draw to keep the match all square.

Then cometh the hour, cometh the man as Mr X hit arguably the best putt of the day to score the rarest of aces on hole 10. A total of 5 was too good for The Green and The Spitfires were now 1 up with just 2 to play.

 

“There is nothing funny about this!” – HIOK.

“It’s hilarious!” – AK47

Whether it was the work of a Minigolf God, or whether Ace Man and Big Top Ted had inherited Harry Potter’s magic powers to bewitch the pipe, or whether the pinkness of the Klickers favoured by The Green was the crucial factor, remains unclear, but the events of hole 11 will linger long in the memory for all that witnessed them.

 

“I’m sorry guys!” – The Force quite rightly apologises for his abysmal par at hole 11.

During this year’s Midland Open won by Who almost 4 months earlier, 25 players had completed 4 rounds making 100 scores at holes 11. Out of 100, there had been just 8 aces. Whilst that stat does not include the number of players who failed to find the pipe with their first putt, it is probably safe to say that the odds of an ace are probably somewhere between 1 in 5 to 1 in 6. But to the horror of The Spitfires and hilarity of everybody else, events defied logic as first WMD then Captain Clockwork then The Ref all aced the holes for an unbeatable score of 3. When The Force then Mr X made the pipe but failed to have the luck, the hole was over and the match was square.

Hole 12 had also seen 8 aces out of 100 in the Midland Open but if anything the final hole was playing even harder over the weekend. Logical common sense predicted 8 pars and a halved hole but after hole 11, the momentum and the luck seemed to indicate a win for The Green. The Spitfires were up first and with only Freebird really threatening the ace, 4 pars meant a total of 6. A solitary ace and 2 pars would give The Green the title. The excitement was electric especially as WMD missed by the narrowest of margins. When The Kid scored a 3 and The Ref had an unlucky lack of bounce from the back wall, the pressure was on. But full credit to The Ref he nailed the tricky 3 foot putt to force another sudden death play-off.

At the end of a pulsating 12 holes, The Green had scored 13 aces and The Spitfires 14 aces. The Spitfires had dropped just 1 shot whilst The Green had dropped 5 shots. These stats and the fact that all of the Kent Spitfires had enjoyed and endured so much play-off experience suggested that they were favourites, but much like a football penalty shoot-out, unless it involved Germany, anything could happen.

 

“There you go team-mates!” – The Force completes the hole 1 hoovering!

 

“Pick it up, Alan!” – Clockwork Orange somehow mistakes Mr X for Stormin!

WMD and The Kid both nearly holed their putts but the KMGC breathed a sigh of relief that The Green could only post a total of 6. The Force was first up for The Spitfires. He hit an excellent putt that was on line until a tiny piece of debris cruelly diverted it wide. He removed the offending piece of dirt and the stage was set for Mr X. But his putt was always a little right. Nevertheless a pair of 2s meant that if HIOK or Freebird could find an ace, the title would be theirs. HIOK had aced the hole in the last 2 rounds and he struck an excellently paced putt that always looked close if possibly a bit too far right. The putt looked set to lip out but just as Freebird was preparing the minigolf implement of doom known as the Dreaded White Klicker, the Dreaded Blue Klicker moved left and sneaked in for the ace. What a way to end a fabulous final in a brilliant season for KMGC. Congratulations and commiserations in equal measure to The Green who played superbly.

 

“A truly awesome and awe-inspiring array of minigolfing might. I wouldn’t want to have to play us!” – Freebird salutes the Kent Spitfires.

 

“If you were to choose a minigolfing dream this would be it!” – The Force.

So that brings down the curtain on an incredible 2011 season of minigolf. As a team or as individuals, the KMGC has travelled to Sweden, Croatia, America, South Africa, Scotland, Liverpool, several other places in the UK, and most romantically of all, Hastings! Who knows what the future will bring for KMGC. Maybe the club will go from strength to strength. Or maybe the club will rack up several million pounds of debt and go bust. Nothing is guaranteed. But whatever happens, all of the KMGC can look back with immense pride and satisfaction on 2011.

The season has been so good for KMGC, the only question that remains is what honour should be bestowed on Captain Freebird? How about a pay rise? After all if Steve Kean can get a rise in salary after leading Blackburn to bottom in the table then surely The Bird is worthy of one? Sadly Freebird has not been nominated for BBC Sports Personality Of The Year Award but we live in hope that he will be recognised in HM’s New Years Honours List.

Wishing everybody a great December, a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Until 2012,

VTK!

 

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- where do you play? what's your favourite course?
and if you're interested in joining the Kent Minigolf Club and want to know more

then why not drop us a line at 
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