Mini golf winners aiming at 2nd title

Putt putt . . . Hunter Broadhead has his sights set on retaining his national youth mini golf championship. PHOTO: CONNOR HALEY

A father and son duo are aiming for back-to-back wins as the South Canterbury Mini Golf Champs return early next month.

Michael Broadhead and son Hunter Broadhead, 12, won both the open and junior categories at last year’s tournament, with Hunter eventually going a step further and claiming victory at the national level.

Mr Broadhead said he was amazed to see how well his son had done, especially in his first tournament and with minimal practice.

‘‘Hunter was effectively only two or three shots off my score, it wasn’t much at all.

‘‘When the scores got read out we were quite a few in front of everybody else.

‘‘He did really well and it was really only his first time. He hasn’t played any golf before — he’s into his football.

‘‘We found out about two weeks later he could go up for nationals. Everyone was a bit older but they just said ‘come on up’.’’

Hunter attended the nationals in Wellington, he shocked everyone and won the whole junior tournament by nine strokes — beating competitors as old as 17.

Mr Broadhead said the sport just seemed to come naturally to his son.

‘‘We didn’t check out the course, we didn’t do any practice. It was pretty cool for him.’’

Hunter said it was a great experience.

‘‘It was fun ’cause I was so good at it, I just seemed to know how to play.

‘‘I definitely want to keep getting better and try to play in the open tournament one day.’’

Mr Broadhead said it was nice to have found a sport they could do together.

‘‘It’s funny this year thinking I might have to watch out for my son and whether he is thinking ‘can I beat dad?’.

‘‘The great thing is you don’t need a lot of time for it. ‘‘Everyone is pretty time-poor these days, so it’s cool that we can just practice at home on the carpet in the lounge and then go out to a course.

‘‘I think if we go good this year, we’d like to go up to nationals again.’’

The fifth edition of the South Canterbury champs will be held on April 6 and will be contested over 36 holes.

Eighteen holes will be played at the Shearer’s Quarters course and the other 18 on the Caroline Bay course.

The junior section costs $10 to enter and is open for those aged 10-15, while the open section will cost $20 to enter as is open for anyone 16 and older.

Shearer’s Quarters owner and tournament organiser Carl Black said he hoped Hunter’s success would see a large turnout for this year’s event.

‘‘With the publicity and the tournament becoming more regular, we hope we will see more people turn out and give it a go.

‘‘The good thing with mini golf is it doesn’t matter if you’re eight or 98, it speaks to everyone.

‘‘A lot of South Canterbury might laugh when they hear competitive mini golf, but as Hunter proved, you can go on to win big things.’’

Mr Black said there would be $2000 of prizes up for grabs as well as the major prize of entry into the 2024 New Zealand mini golf open, and accommodation for the event which will be once again held in Wellington.

‘‘There are prizes in both categories for 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th as well prizes for best dressed, most hole-in-ones and other mystery spot prizes on the day.

‘‘It’s great fun, a cheap day out and there is a good chance of being able to walk away with something.’’

To enter and compete in the tournament an entry form can be found on the Shearer’s Quarters website or on the South Canterbury Mini Golf Champs Facebook page.

Entries close April 1.

Spots are limited and there will be no on-the-day entry.