The clubhouse of the Little Bear Valley Miniature Golf Course was out of seats Tuesday. Boys and girls who had just finished their rounds in the Grizzly Open Miniature Golf Tournament filled the spots as they enjoyed their complimentary treats.
"With the entry fee comes a free ice cream or drink," course owner Joan Snyder said. "It's something to look forward to after 18 holes in the sun."
Last year's tournament was soaked and the clubhouse was packed with golfers escaping the rain. This year, the first day of the tournament had 25 golfers enjoying a cool breezy day.
The tournament is divided into four age groups, 6-8, 9-13, 14-18 and 19& over.
Players are allowed one round of 18 holes during the two-day tournament.
Erik and Kari Griffin joined in for a round Tuesday. Erik, a junior on the MCHS golf team, and his sister, Kari, an eighth grader, both agreed that miniature golf tournaments were low key with minimal pressure -- although Kari did bounce the ball on the turf with minor frustration at the end of her round.
Basically there is nothing to get nervous about as there are few differences between a normal round of miniature golf and one in the tournament.
"Really, the only difference is we have the girls (who work at the course) follow the golfers around to record their scores," Snyder said. "We do that to make sure there is a consistency in the scoring."
After the first day, Kaleb McKey had the best score of all the golfers with a 59. The elder Griffin shot a 62 for the second best of the day.
Winners of the tournament will be announced Thursday with a trophy going to those with the top three scores. The tournament will resume at 5 p.m. tonight with the youngest age group, and continue in hour increments.
Consolation prizes include a picture that will go in the Little Bear Valley Miniature Golf Course scrapbook of fame or, if a golfer makes a hole-in-one, the golfer will get his or her name on the ceiling in the
Even with the rain last year, Snyder said there was a record number of participants vying for a trophy. She said she is hoping for better cooperation this year from Mother Nature.
"Last year the only time it rained in the summer was on the night of our tournament," she said. "I hope it holds off Wednesday."
The Little Bear Valley Miniature Golf Course narrowed to a one-tournament summer last year after holding three a summer in the past. This year, Snyder said they would host two tournaments with the Bear Creek Classic coming in late July.
"Three tournaments were too many," she said. "But I think two is a good number for us."