News of Zealand

New Zealand's Elite Mini Golf Scene Is At War With Itself

“I’ll wrap my putter around your head,” one top-flight mini golfer allegedly told another.

by James Borrowdale
24 January 2019, 3:54am

Image via Shutterstock

For some, mini golf means more than a marginally fun afternoon. For some, it is serious. For one, it is serious enough to allegedly threaten to beat a competitor over the head with your putter, Stuff reports.

“I’ll wrap my putter around your head,” Bobby Hart allegedly told fellow mini golfer Murray Cramp at a tournament late last year. Hart, who has represented New Zealand at mini golf tournaments as far afield as the Czech Republic, was subsequently asked to leave the Minigolf Federation of New Zealand. According to the organisation’s secretary Damo Kissick, this wasn’t the first time Hart had lost his temper while competing on the hallowed artificial turf of the country’s mini golf courses.

The conflict appears to be caused by the differing visions the two mini golfers have for the sport. Cramp said he believed mini golf was “essentially a sport for children and their parents to have fun”. “The last thing you want to do is create a level of intensity where it looks like you’re at the Olympics,” he said.

Hart, however, wants to see mini golf develop into a fully professional sport. It seems he sees a future for himself as a full-time professional mini golfer. “It’s not a joking matter… I think there’s a future for competitive putting and actually doing it as a job.”

He claimed Cramp didn’t take the sport seriously enough. “What’s the point of being around someone who’s just there to take the piss out of the game?”

Hart’s local course, Onehunga’s Enchanted Forest, has removed his scores from the club leaderboard, after management decided his best scores—a 30 and a 32—were unsubstantiated.

Hart, though, remains dedicated to his calling.

“I’m there to compete, not make friends,” he said.

This article originally appeared on VICE NZ.