• May 6, 2017
Michael Carpenter, Callum Tancock and David Carpenter enjoy a casual round of mini golf. Photo: Supplied
A doctor and a television technician are hoping long hours of practice will give them a shot at representing New Zealand in mini golf.
Michael Carpenter and Andrew Harrison have been playing the game since childhood but didn’t take the sport seriously.
That changed after seeing an advertisement for the New Zealand mini golf nationals last Christmas.
“You paid either $30 to get in or you qualified by getting a respectable score,” Mr Harrison said.
“I won’t tell you how Mike qualified.”
The national tournament took place in March, with the top two competitors securing a spot in the national side, the Mini Blacks.
They will travel to Croatia in September for the world championships.
“[The nationals] went okay,” Mr Carpenter said, “I came 29th out of four million.”
Unable to guarantee a place based on that performance, Mr Carpenter hopes that his gameplay in upcoming tournaments is enough to get him on the side.
“The New Zealand team has 12 spots available. So the last 10 spots are going to people who somehow make a name for themselves in the organisation,” Mr Carpenter said.
He’s hoping that new equipment could give him the edge.
“I now have my own putter and my own fancy golf balls which I’ve brought in from America. They’re really spiffy.”
Mr Harrison didn’t take to the sport as quickly as his playing partner but became hooked after caddying for him at the national tournament.
“Within two holes I was like ‘I should have entered because this is the greatest thing I’ve ever seen,’” Mr Harrison said.
Now their sights are clearly set on Croatia.
“We thought, you know what, if we took this seriously we could potentially become New Zealand representatives at a sport,” Mr Harrison said.
“I’m not going to be getting into the All Blacks any time soon.”
New Zealand Minigolf Federation spokesperson, Lucy Gieson, said scores would play a big part in selection for the Mini Blacks.
Bobby Hart, the 2016 New Zealand champion, said going to international events was a lot different to mini golf back home.
“You have to sign anti-doping forms [so] once you realise that, you take it pretty seriously,” he said.
But for the two young professionals, having fun is still the main priority.
“At the end of every round the loser has to buy the winner an ice cream,” Mr Carpenter said.
“That’s just standard procedure.”