Youngster Earns His Position to Play Alongside Mom, Proves He Belongs

Grasp AND APPRENTICE: Marni Van Grouw tees off on the 14th hole at Sandbar Golf in Surf City as 8-yr-previous Alex seems on all through 7 days 3 of ‘Can You Defeat Biggy?’ on June 30. (Images by David Biggy)
Right after Marni Van Grouw agreed to a day for the “Can You Conquer Biggy?” challenge, she and her loved ones experienced to determine out who between them would be the next part of the Van Grouw group, and she arrived up with a intelligent way to solve the dilemma.
The family of 4 – Marni, spouse Tim, and youngsters Austin (13) and Alex (8) – from Lititz, Pa., competed in a 5-game collection at several miniature golf programs, together with people at Pennington Golfing Center in New Jersey Magic Mountain Pleasurable Middle in Columbus, Ohio Markie’s Mini Golfing in Phoenixville, Pa. Jake’s Mini Golfing in Somerset, Pa. and Dutch Gardens in close by Ephrata, Pa.
“It was very extreme and there was talk of introducing far more games, just to see if there was a potential for a various final result, for possibly any person else to slide into the second spot at the conclusion,” stated Marni, a contestant on “Holey Moley” Period 2 very last 12 months. “But we capped it at 5 games, went with individuals scores, and the a person with the least expensive rating was the 1 to perform ‘Can You Conquer Biggy?’ I was the shoo-in, and immediately after every person else played for the next spot, Alex arrived away victorious.”
Which presented a slight situation – ordinarily, I discourage any person youthful than 12 from getting section of the challenge, largely mainly because most young ones at that age are not up to par when competing towards a seasoned, grownup mini golfer. Having said that, Alex Van Grouw is in a distinct category.
See … He and his relatives played in final year’s “Can You Conquer Biggy?” Summer’s Finish Match, and I watched Alex play. The kid is sound. He has his very own putter. He has a properly-managed, left-hand-direct stroke (similar to his dad’s stroke). And when he knocks down holes-in-a single, it is frequently because he basically took a excellent line and nailed it.
KNOCKIN’ IT DOWN: Alex Van Grouw buries a reliable 2nd putt on the third gap at Sandbar Golf in Surf Town throughout 7 days 3 of ‘Can You Beat Biggy?’
The spouse and children plays a ton of mini golf, and if Alex was superior sufficient to defeat the other two, older males in the group, it intended he was great ample to compete towards me. So, “Miss Chris P. Bacon” and “The Pint-Sized Putter” designed their way to Sandbar Golfing in Surf Town on June 30 for the large match.
And to start off, Alex was on hearth, two-placing his way by way of the first 5 holes. Heading into the sixth, he had a a single-stroke direct on both equally me and his mother. Through perform on the subsequent two holes, there was a tiny shakeup for the frontrunner place, as I dropped back again-to-back again deuces although they a few-stroked each gap to give me a a person-stroke advantage more than Alex and a two-stroke hole on Marni into the eighth.
On the eighth, I commenced with a 3 right after my next shot ran off the right edge of the cup, but Alex adopted by hitting a straight-up, lifeless-centre ace to get back the lead, and Marni managed a 2 to trim her deficit guiding me to one. On the ninth, I experienced two photographs run off the edge of the cup and finished up with my only 4 of the contest, but Alex and Marni every stroked 2’s – Alex just completed a front-9 19, whilst mother was two strokes behind, and I had fallen to a few strokes off the direct.
Just after I carded a trifecta on the 11th, Alex’s guide was four. Yikes! I desired to get again into this recreation in a hurry or the 8-12 months-aged was going to run absent with it.
Effectively, here’s the small edition of it – I two-stroked the rest of the way, with the exception of the 14th, which I aced. Sadly for him, Alex struggled nevertheless the upcoming 6 holes, normally shorting his next putts and tapping in for a bunch of 3’s. In truth, with two exceptions – Marni scored deuces on the 12th and 16th – he and his mother experienced almost equivalent cards from No. 12 as a result of No. 17, and they have been even heading into the final gap.
Even now, with a single gap to go, I had safely and securely taken the guide, and only some wonky nonsense on the 18th would have altered the outcome for me. Just after firing an 18 on the back again 9, I ended with an even-par 40. Marni hit for a hole-in-1 on the previous gap, although Alex managed a deuce – mom ended with a 43, her “small but mighty” son with a 44.
“I was actually fantastic on the to start with 9,” claimed Alex, who hopes someday to compete on “Holey Moley” as well. “Sadly, Biggy gained, but I was quite pleased to be right here to play. If I had the possibility to play all over again, I would, and I’d get a hole-in-1 on just about every gap.”
Not a undesirable target. I’d surely be up to see that. For now, Marni was happy with her son’s hard work.
“He’s an 8-year-aged who went up against two 48-year-olds and held his have,” she said. “He didn’t have as superior a back again 9 as his entrance nine, but he performed excellent. Just before we performed our households series, I by no means assumed Alex would be the one participating in today, but I’m actually proud of how he did.”
Engage in AJ’s Mini Golfing
Every single year, Austin and the Van Grouw household host AJ’s Mini Golf, a weekend fundraising effort and hard work featuring a popup study course crafted from scratch in the family’s backyard at 29 Whitcraft Travel in Lititz. Effectively, readers make a donation ($2 minimum, but any size of donation is accepted) – this year’s beneficiaries are the Ephrata Food stuff Bank and Lititz Warwick Group Chest – and appreciate mini golfing, snacks, drinks and Italian ice.
This year’s class highlights will incorporate “throwbacks” these types of as a huge windmill, wagon wheels, a wishing nicely and drinking water hazards, and be on the lookout for the “masked putters.” The course will be open July 30, 31 and Aug. 1, from noon to 8 p.m. every single day. The rain dates are Aug. 6-8. For any concerns, email or phone 717-742-4084.
— David Biggy
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