Best putters invade the Valley

PPA Northern Open

The Professional Putters Association will hold the Northern Open at Warren Putt Putt this coming Saturday and Sunday. The event is considered one of the major championships of the PPA’s seasonal circuit.

The players involved explain the difference between the putt-putt they play and miniature golf played recreationally.

“Some of the miniature golf courses, some of the holes are impossible to make,” Rick Alessi, a professional putt putt player, said. “But in putt putt, there’s a way of making every hole.”

Another professional, Greg Ward, said, “I love playing miniature golf, but I prefer this because it’s a little more skill level. They build the course with that thought in mind, to have tournament play of the courses.”

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Forty professionals will head to Warren this weekend for the event, and Ward says there is a very small gap between the pack.

“Players are so good, it’s just, the difference is just so minute in having a kind of lackluster day and average day and to really excelling and doing well.”

And while each of them is very skilled, don’t expect a perfect score of 18, since that has only been done three times in the 53 year history of putt putt. But even without all hole-in-ones, Alessi thinks these competitors could give other pros a run for their money on the greens.

“These guys are the best putters in the world,” Alessi said. “We match-up, I think we match-up with the PGA as far as putting.”

Ward added, “Even a good pro like a Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson, they’re not going to hole out a 20-footer real consistently. They’ll make some, but you’re managing that shot, trying to keep it close. Out here, you got to make shots.”

After four rounds of 18 holes Saturday and four rounds of 18 Sunday, whoever makes the most shots will win the Northern Open.

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