SCA’s annual Mini Golf returns for 15th season
“Golf is a game in which you yell ‘Fore,’ shoot six and write down five.” – Paul Harvey
One of the island’s longest running annual events, the Sanibel Community Association’s Holiday Miniature Golf Tournament, returned for its 15th season last week, drawing large crowds during each of the five-days the “sport for all sorts” was held inside the Sanibel Community House.
According to SCA Assistant Manager Jeffrey Oths, the unseasonably cool weather which chilled residents and visitors alike throughout the post-Christmas break can be credited with bringing more participants to the 18-hole indoor activity.
“I think this is one of the best year’s we’ve ever had,” Oths said on Tuesday. “This is our second leading fundraiser each year, behind the Shell Fair. We’ve raised a lot of money this year, and I think we’ve got to thank the weather for that.”
New this year was the SCA’s Holiday Two-Person Best Ball Putting Tournament, scheduled to take place on Wednesday evening. The cost to enter the competition was $50 per pair. Prizes included $500 for first place, $300 for second and $200 for third.
Oths also estimated that between 150 and 200 golfers per day participated in the regular tournament, which offered various prizes supplied by event sponsors. Each golfer, however, was eligible to win a small “trophy” – a bag of popcorn – if they sank a hole-in-one on the 18th hole of the course.
“About 10 percent of everybody I’ve seen play won a free popcorn,” said volunteer Mike Miller with the Sanibel Bike Club, who operated the registration station. “I’ve been hearing a lot of compliments about the course this year. People seem to be very happy with it.”
Inside the Community House’s main room, holes of varying degrees of difficulty are arranged strategically in order to lead golfers throughout the course. At one point, people have to putt their way onto the stage area, then back down again through a series of ramps and PVC pipes.
Aaron Stevens, visiting Sanibel from Santa Fe, N.M., was impressed with the arrangement of several challenging holes on the course.
“It’s kinda unique… to have a miniature golf course inside a building,” said Stevens. “It’s great. For the first time in my life, I’m winning at mini golf.”
Nicholas Kim, who lives in San Francisco, Calif., said that he enjoyed the brisk outdoor weather but was happy to be playing the course indoors.
“I’ve been playing in this tournament for the past five years,” said Kim. “I’m doing pretty good today, too.”
“My favorite hole was the first one,” added Julianna Lee from Darien, Ct. “I shot a hole-in-one!”
Sanibel resident Chris Kfoury, playing with nephew Tade Kfoury of Naples, noted that he knew event organizer Tony Lapi and that his father buys him tickets every year to play the course. The father-and-son team were also looking forward to participating in the Two-Person Best Ball Putting Tournament.
“A friend of mine suggested that this would be a good activity for me and my grandkids to do together,” added islander Tom McDermott. “This is a wonderful activity and tradition that everybody in the family can enjoy.”