Bored with betting on traditional sports such as football, basketball, baseball, and hockey? Well, Colorado and Wyoming sportsbooks have you covered. Putt-Putt golf anyone?
Regulators in both states recently approved wagering on the U.S. Pro Mini Golf Association (USPMGA). Colorado approved bets on USPMGA events on Halloween, and Wyoming quickly followed.
It might be difficult to find a sportsbook, however, that will take wagers. Sports Handle queried the operators in Colorado and none would admit to asking the state for that betting option.
Jeffrey Benson, Circa’s sportsbook operations manager, was blunt when asked by Sports Handle.
“It wasn’t us and we have no interest in this market,” Benson said.
Backers of the pro tour of miniature golf are undeterred. Bill Yucatonis of Pro League Network told Sports Handle that the sport is serious business.
“You can’t just have a pro mini-golf event at any course,” Yucatonis said. “There are layout constraints. There are standards up to and including the balls and the equipment.”
The USPMGA is based in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and its schedule runs from April to October. The tour was founded by Bob Detwiler and his son, Ted, and has been in existence for more than two decades.
The organization has two major events, the Masters and U.S. Open. The Masters is held in October and the U.S. Open in May. Detwiler said there are plans for more events perhaps as early as February. Detwiler hopes that he can raise purses from the $25,000 average. The winner usually earns around $4,000.
“That’s our goal, to reach a higher level so these guys can make a living,” Detwiler said. “We want to be like the PGA. That’s what we are, the PGA of mini-golf.”
The USPMGA got a big boost to legitimacy when U.S. Integrity worked with them in the fall to make sure they would be compliant with regulators.
The idea of putting courses and mini golf is catching on with professionals. Tiger Woods has five putting courses around the United States. LPGA player Paula Creamer and PGA Tour star Rickie Fowler recently went up against pros of mini golf and both lost.