Fan reaction: Pro mini golfer shoots perfect round

Professional mini golfers don't usually leave their day jobs behind to take up the long, weekly grind of becoming the best miniature golf player in the world.

However, if someone would be able to do that it would be Rick Baird.

A mini golf hole in England.
Wikimedia Commons

Baird became only the third pro mini golfer in the history of the game to shoot a perfect round of 18. He accomplished the feat in Richmond, Va., at a Putt Putt Golf state tournament April 9. The last time a round of 18 was shot happened back in 1979.

Baird has been a pro since 1984 and was the 2007 national champion. He hails from Charlotte, N.C., the home state of the Putt Putt Golf franchise. Pro tournaments have been sanctioned ever since 1955.

Thousands of rounds of golf have been played by millions of people. But perfection has only been achieved three times in over 55 years.

When I played miniature golf as a youngster in St. Louis, I got better and better as I got older as do most people in sports. As I learned the nuances of each hole, I was fortunate to have a few rounds under par which was 36 at Putt Putt courses.

I cannot imagine getting a hole in one on every single hole, 18 times in a row. I think I have better chances of being the next human to land on the moon than to shoot an 18 on any mini golf course, much less in a tournament where the pressure is on to win money.

Perfection is impossible by design on PGA courses. No human being can hit a drive shot 500-plus yards and make an ace on a par-5. However, I don't see Tiger Woods being able to pull off a Rick Baird-like performance.

Pro golf does have standards that match Baird's accomplishment. Only three men have shot rounds of 58 in the history of professional golf. Shigeki Maruyama shot a 58 in 2000, Jason Bohn shot the same score in 2001, and 18-year-old Ryo Ishikawa equaled the feat in 2010.

For an 18-hole course, shooting a 54 would be as low as a score could probably go, getting an average of three on every hole.

Congratulations to Rick Baird, my new hero. For someone to be perfect in sports at any level 18 times in a row, Baird's accomplishment is truly mind-boggling.

William Browning has covered sports for the Yahoo! Contributor Network including golf and local golf courses in southwest Missouri. He currently resides in Branson, Mo.

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