UK team minigolf selection for Tony

PUBLISHED: 11:02 26 April 2011

Tony Kelly after gaining second place in the Kent Open last year

Tony Kelly after gaining second place in the Kent Open last year

Archant

A LINTON man is heading for Sweden this summer to take on the world’s best on the greens – armed only with a putter and a selection of coloured balls.

Tony Kelly, 49, has been selected in the Great Britain minigolf squad for the Nations Cup and World Minigolf Championships in Stockholm.

“I first discovered the weird and wonderful world of competitive minigolf in 2008 when I was commissioned to write an article about the British Open in Margate,” he said. “Like most people, I had always enjoyed a round of crazy golf by the seaside, but I had no idea that there was a whole world out there of serious players competing for money, prizes and ranking points.

“I arrived for my first British Open with a golf putter and a single ball, but the professionals from Austria, Germany and Sweden all had their own specially adapted putters and at least 20 or 30 different balls with different properties. They spent hours on the course in advance practising the holes and working out the angles, lines and bounce. I quickly came to realise that despite the windmills, pirate ships and waterfalls, this was a serious game of skill, temperament and technique.”

In 2010, Kelly came eighth in the World Crazy Golf Championship in Hastings and second in the Kent Open after a sudden-death play-off for first place.

So far this year, he has played in tournaments in Birmingham, Bristol, Liverpool, London and Margate, achieving a top ten finish every time and he has now been rewarded with selection for the national team.

He added: “The World Championships take place just a few weeks before my 50th birthday and taking part is a great way to celebrate.”

All of this travelling is going to cost £2,000 and all expenses have to met by the player himself. “I am hoping that local companies might be willing to sponsor me by contributing towards my costs,” he said. “By doing so, they will not only be supporting a local sportsperson and helping him to achieve his dream, they will also be promoting the development of minigolf as a recognised sport.

To contact Tony call 01223 892553 or e-mail tonykellytravelwriter@btopenworld.com


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