If you’re like most people, you’ve probably played a round or two of miniature golf. But you may not be aware that there are players who take the quintessential summer family game very seriously (or at least kind of seriously). They even have their own professional organization: the USPMGA, or the US Pro MiniGolf Association, complete with masters and open tournaments.
It may not offer much by way of cash, but in what other sport can you claim a title at an arena called the Hawaiian Rumble, which features a volcano that erupts every 20 minutes? And on Highway 17 in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, no less?
The mini sport has come a long way since it birth in the 1920s as a roadside attraction in the American South. Building on earlier miniaturizations of the great Scottish game, Garnet Carter built the Tom Thumb minigolf course on Lookout Mountain in Tennessee in 1928, an instant hit that started a craze for tiny golf courses filled with tricky shots and decorative statuary. Over 50,000 courses were built in the 1930s, and the sport grew into a multi-million dollar industry.
As part of its ”Americana” series, The Daily has produced a short video about the somewhat-less-intense-than-Tiger-Woods players who putt it all on the line in pursuit of $4,000 paydays on the miniature pro golf circuit.
Here’s the video: