How Much Money Does The Winner Of The The Mini Golf Masters Really Get?

In any sport, there's quite the gulf between the occasional hobby players and the very best of the best. The after-school enthusiasts and the professionals. Naturally, many will progress from one to the other over the course of their lives, and it's a cherished childhood ambition of millions to do just that.

If you're an avid fan of say, basketball or soccer, you may well idolize the likes of Michael Jordan and Lionel Messi. In the world of golf, meanwhile, few stars have burned as brightly as Jack Nicklaus. Over the course of his career, per Britannica, he achieved six Masters Tournament victories, all between 1963 and 1986, along with truckloads of other accolades.

Of course, very few golf players are ever going to win more Masters victories than they have mantelpiece space, but who says that has to be the goal? The often underappreciated world of mini golf also has a lot to offer, including a Masters Tournament of its own. As it turns out, there's a rather modest cash prize involved for the winner, too.

The upper echelons of mini golf

While golf can seem rather slow-paced and vanilla to some, mini golf and various takes on the theme have a wide appeal around the world. Lots of vacation destinations boast their own putt-putt courses, often sporting silly obstacles, colorful golf balls and putters, and even a theme, such as pirates or dinosaurs and the like. It's a chance for the whole family to have some wildly-swinging fun without getting bogged down in the nitty-gritty and time-consuming nature of a lengthy game of golf proper.

This is not to say, though, that mini golf is the same thing, and isn't a pursuit to take seriously. Much like any strictly amateur bowling session, there'll usually be at least one person in each party who takes the competitiveness to a whole new level. These are the dedicated talents who would surely thrive in the intense environment of the Mini Golf Masters.

Mini golf has a professional circuit of its own, and participants absolutely do not take it lightly. As Vice News reported in 2018 (via YouTube), "every year, mini golf players from around the world flock to Myrtle Beach for the biggest tournament in America." The Mini Golf Masters, the report goes on, constitutes "three days of miniature gold excellence," and it's not just for the joy of competing against the best. The US ProMiniGolf Association reports that the cash purse for the contest is a cool $25,000.

Where will the Mini Golf Masters go from here?

Granted, this is a far cry from the Masters Tournament proper. Per CBS Sports, the 2022 Masters pool was a formidable $15 million. Of that new record purse, Scottie Scheffler's Augusta National win netted him a total of $2.7 million. By contrast, a Mini Golf Masters Champion winning the same percentage of the pot (18%) would come away with $4,500.

Mini golf, sadly, remains misunderstood. At the highest and most competitive level, it is every bit the skill-based and challenging pursuit its higher-profile cousin is. Bob Detwiler, per Vice News on YouTube, is the founder and president of the U.S. Pro Mini Gold Association and creator of the league. He explained to the outlet that he bought a course in Myrtle Beach, decided that mini golf tournaments were a must, and the Mini Golf Masters began in 1998. Over 20 years later, his league attracts a dedicated and talented community on an annual basis, and he's excited for its future too. (This year's Mini Golf Masters is scheduled for October 4-8.)

How to grow the Mini Golf Masters (and its prize pot)? "Sponsors ... we've got to have big bucks to pay for the TV coverage," Detwiler told Vice News, when the outlet asked why he thought ESPN wasn't all over his tournament. Perhaps, in the future, the Mini Golf Masters will have those big bucks, and so will the winners. This fun and inclusive, yet surprisingly intense and infinitely technical, take on the sport deserves it.