Myrtle Beach mini golf masters
Olivia Prokopova (left) will defend her title at this year's tournament but faces a field of challengers, including Jeff Jones of Illinois.
The golfers approach the 16th tee. Some read the greens, others seek their trainer’s counsel, but all share a determination to make the hole in under par two. It’s an intense moment, suddenly interrupted by the largest hazard on the course—a 40-foot volcano that erupts every 20 minutes.
When the Masters National Pro Mini Golf Championship returns to Myrtle Beach next month, 70 serious players from as far away as Austria, Germany and the United Kingdom will compete for a $12,000 purse in a 12-round, co-ed tournament, played on the sister “adventure golf” courses Hawaiian Rumble and Hawaiian Village. The winner also takes home a coveted green jacket—a casual, logo-emblazoned windbreaker.
Bob Detwiler, president of the U.S. ProMiniGolf Association, introduced his own version of the iconic Masters Tournament in 2002, and players have been competing for that green jacket ever since. In 2011, a tie between American Jay Klapper and 17-year-old Olivia Prokopova from the Czech Republic led to a three-hole play-off.
“Olivia’s father tried to negotiate with Jay, offering the prize money in exchange for the title and the green jacket,” Detwiler recalls. “But all Jay wanted was that jacket.”
Klapper went on to win that year. But Prokopova came back strong in 2012 and earned her right to wear green. She will return this fall to defend her title.
The Masters National ProMiniGolf Championship takes place Oct. 10–12 in North Myrtle Beach. While it’s too late to qualify for the masters tournament, the amateur, senior, women, team and junior divisions are open to all players. For more information on the tournament and entry fees, call (843) 458-2585 or (843) 272-7812.