It’s never easy to roll out of bed on Jan. 1, unofficially the most hungover day of the year. Crazed mini golfers in northeastern Wisconsin do so with a smile, however, because for them every New Year begins promptly with another chance to claim the Frostbite Open.
What began on the first day of 2011 continues for the seventh straight year in 2017 at The Red Putter, Door County, Wisconsin’s most beloved mini-golf course. Owner Bob Yttri and his short staff at The Red Putter shovel off its 18 artificial turf greens and open its doors to any and all competitors.
With $700 as the grand prize, the chilly madness kicks off at 2 p.m. so the 2-round event can finish before the Rose Bowl begins out in sunny Pasadena, Calif., where it’s likely 50, 60 or 70 degrees warmer.
At last year’s Open, despite Mother Nature’s icicle-forming efforts, 42 players finished, earning an “I Survived the Frostbite Open” bumper sticker in the process. 2nd place takes home $200, third place $100, and the best round of the day earns another $100. Not a bad way to start the New Year, huh? At just $25 dollars for entry, it beats restocking the fire and ridding the Christmas Tree from its ornaments.
This year’s favorite (as will be the case for many years to come, as long as he shows up) is local Nick Kwaterski, who won the event in 2016 for the third time in his noble mini-golf career which, oddly enough, only really began after his run through professional golf’s mini tours.
Of course, cold weather might not be your thing. Or, you can’t quite shake that New Years hangover. In that case, there’s always the opposite season Red Putter Pro Tournament (where the winner takes home a prized Red Jacket) held every August.
You’ll have to qualify for that one, though.