London, Oct 26(ANI): Competitors from the Czech Republic and Finland are in the seaside town of Hastings this weekend for the World Crazy Golf Championships.
Crazy golf, the eccentric relative of the real thing, claims to be Britain's most popular seaside sport.
Every summer millions of holidaymakers hack their way around waterwheel- and windmill-festooned miniature courses, leaving in their wake the troubling question of whether it's the golf that is crazy or the people who play it.
The World Crazy Golf Championships could be likened to the entire PGA tour condensed into a single weekend event.
For players like Tim 'Ace Man' Davies, Britain's 47-year-old reigning world champion, the prospect of a 1,000 pound first prize is what makes the long weekends of drudgery in dilapidated seaside resorts worthwhile.
"When you come here you know it's serious," said Mr Davies, a former computer programmer from Kent, who uses his analytical skills to 'read' the holes. "You are up against the best, and there's no quarter given."
Davies has dominated the sport since taking it up seriously 10 years ago, but he was struggling yesterday with a slipped disc. "If the back holds up I'm in with a chance," he winced, "but the conditions are really difficult."
Crazy golfers play to a par 36 for 18 holes. Only a putter is allowed, and an assortment of fiendish hazards is deployed to make the rounds harder for them.
The timing and direction of a shot thus become critical. "You need to hit the ball slightly from the left," The Telegraph quoted Davies, as saying, adding "then bounce it off the wall about eight inches in front of the sails, so it rebounds towards the hole at an angle of 153 degrees."
The origins of crazy golf are hotly disputed, with both Britain and the United States claiming to have come up with the idea. mini-game was patented as 'Tom Thumb Golf' by Garnet Carter, an entrepreneur, in Tennessee in 1926.
Yet an article published in the Illustrated London News in 1912 shows a group of flannel- and blazer-clad young men playing 'Golfstacle' - a game that appears uncannily similar to what was unfolding in Hastings. (ANI)