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Défi mini-putt

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Mini-putt course in Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec
Mini-putt course in Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec

Défi mini-putt (Mini-putt Challenge) was a weekly show in the early 1990s on the Quebec cable sports network, Réseau des sports. It was the first professional miniature golf tournament to be regularly broadcast in Quebec.

Although the format of the show varied over the years, the typical set-up for the 60-minute show was the following: four competitors would play 18 holes of miniature golf on one of the courses of the "Mini-Putt" miniature golf franchise. It was a skins game. The first 6 holes were worth $50, the second 6 were worth $100, while the final 6 holes were worth $150. At the end of the season was a championship knockout tournament, in which the player with the highest score after each hole was eliminated; to break any ties, a one-putt putt-off was held between the highest-scoring contestants, with the contestant whose putt stopped farthest from the hole eliminated.

Each course had exactly the same design, and every hole was a par 2. The Mini-Putt franchise used a minimalist design, featuring only hills, bunkers, and a few obstacles. This contrasts with the exotic, windmill-laden layouts of most miniature golf courses in the eastern United States and Canada.

Holes description

The 18 holes of the "Mini" course usually played by the contestants were:

  1. Le totem, with three twelve-inch tall wooden totem poles
  2. La croix, a course in the shape of a cross
  3. La courbe, a slightly inclined curve
  4. La discothèque, a sideways T-shaped course
  5. Le billard, a long rectangular course played by banking as in billards
  6. Le hockey, an elongated "L"-shaped course
  7. La rivière, a ramp to jump over a river
  8. Le putter, a U-shaped course
  9. Le chameau, with two steep hills
  10. Les trappes, a ramp bordered by two traps
  11. Le carrefour, a Y shaped course
  12. Le slalom, with two off-centered gentle hills
  13. Les laurentides, with three steep hills
  14. Le zig-zag, a stretched Z-shape course
  15. Le monstre, an irregular incline
  16. La culotte, similar to Le putter
  17. L'équerre, a curved metal bracket leading to the hole
  18. Le plateau, a steep 2 feet high incline

In the 1990s, the Maxi course was also played occasionally on the show. Its 18 holes were:

  1. Les cailloux, with two traps avoided by hitting a metal bar
  2. L'escalier, a concrete staircase leading to the hole
  3. La tablette, a square flat-topped step
  4. Le recoin, a course similar to La courbe on the Mini course but including a trap
  5. Les montagnes russes, a long course made of gentle hills
  6. La cachette, a course where the hole is hidden in front of the player
  7. La coulée, a U-shaped concrete ramp leading to the hole
  8. Le triangle, a course where a metal triangle is hit to reach the hole
  9. Le nez, resembling a nose seen sideways
  10. L'Achaland, two gentle curves bordering traps
  11. Les sentinelles, where the hole is guarded by two upright metal pipes
  12. La soucoupe, with a circular depression leading to the hole
  13. Le facile, with gentle hills leading to the hole
  14. La fourche, a "Y" shaped course with a concrete step
  15. Le super monstre, an irregular incline with a trap
  16. Les collines, where the hole is guarded by three small hills
  17. La porte, where the hole is reached by hitting an angular bracket
  18. La pente douce, a shallow 2 feet high incline with a metal obstacle

A third course, the Midi, was designed but never constructed.

History

Golden age (1970–1988)

The show appeared on TVSQ and was called L'Heure du Mini-Putt (Mini-Putt Hour). In 1989, Réseau des sports was born and the show was renewed up to 1998.

During this period, Mini-putt celebrities were very popular. Some of the stars of the show were Jocelyn Noël, who had great consistency in the regular season but sometimes struggled in the knockout tournaments (most notably in 1992 when he struck a totem pole on the first hole, aka "les totems" and was eliminated), as well as the legendary Carl Carmoni best known for his mastery of the green and his Pepsi addiction, Sylvain Cazes and Gilles Buissières & wife Lucie, also Ron Poliseno, "Le Grand Requin Blanc". Another famous "double" couple was Suzanne and husband André Buist. Later seasons of the show featured teams of two, as well as an upgrade to the Mini-Putt franchise's more difficult course, the "Maxi-Putt".

The biggest star of the show, however, was the very enthusiastic show announcer Serge Vleminckx. His exuberant shouts of "Birdie!" for a hole in one, "la normale!" for two strokes, and "le bogey!" for three strokes, helped attract a cult following for the show.

Decline (2002)

However, by the end of the 1990s, the Mini-Putt chain began to falter, and the owners refused to continue and pay for the show. In a meeting of the franchisers, when they decided to stop the TV show, Marcel Rocheleau, the owner of Mini-Putt Louiseville, said, "This will be the end and we will pick-up the bones." Ron Poliseno, owner of Mini-Putt St-Eustache and Fabreville, along with 10 other owners, took a gamble and went back on TV for another two years. At that time there was still 51 franchises, but as of 2001, they found out that the TV was the reason of success. Then they started to fold up one by one. Today,[when?] three original Mini-Putt are still operating, but they all have to rely on a second product - ice cream, fast food, or a driving range.

Decline (2002- 2005)

Jocelyn Noel went on to participate in American miniature golf tournaments (PPA of Putt-Putt Golf), as well as Martin Ayotte, 4 times appearances. Serge Vleminckx went on to announce games for the short-lived Montreal Roadrunners roller hockey team. A lot of ancient players started to organize Mini-putt tournament during the summer where courses still exist.

Renaissance (2005-present)

Since 2005, a lot of new talents have emerged from the underground scene, which led to new tournaments organised by past champion Carl Carmoni and fellow enthusiasts, and the creation of the Mini-putt league of Sorel-Tracy. These efforts culminated in 2012 with the presentation of the Coupe Mini-Putt 2012, a webseries of 4 episodes that followed the former Défi Mini-Putt's format. Serge Vleminckx reprised his role and was assisted by Carl Carmoni and Jocelyn Noël as analysts.

Mini-Putt L'Authentique

The competition and tournaments are still alive, managed by Carl Carmoni and his group. Ron Poliseno owner of the Trade Marks Mini-Putt L'Authentique and Mini-Putt, has been approached by TV networks, to bring back the TV show and promote the series but the financing is still and always the problem.

Appelation

Linguistically, the show prompted "mini-putt" to become the favoured Québécois term for miniature golf, while in the rest of Canada and the United States, the terms "miniature golf", "mini-golf", "crazy golf", and occasionally "putt-putt" are used interchangeably.

See also

This page was last edited on 10 July 2020, at 11:35
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