Varsity minigolf hosted their first home event this past week, scraping by with a win against Union College on Thursday afternoon. Since the team is new this season, RPI Athletics has not had time to build a proper facility. The Liberty League has allowed the team to play through various academic buildings, deeming the course “suitable and challenging enough for the time being.”
Hole one starts on the third floor of Davison Hall. “It’s a long, straight shot,” said sophomore captain Tucker Babcock. “It can be tricky to get enough power to go the whole length of the hallway without having it bounce off a wall.” Babcock, a long time minigolfer, managed the hole in two shots. Union player Benjamin Dover nearly had a hole in one, but the effort was thwarted by an intoxicated freshman who stumbled out of his room onto the course. “It’s frustrating, but part of the game and part of the challenge,” remarked Dover.
The teams were even heading into hole five, the Engineers winning holes one and two, while the Dutchmen took three and four. Hole five takes the players through Commons Dining Hall, which is notoriously tricky during lunchtime. Sophomore Sean Beacham had what should have been a beautiful first putt, until a worker kicked it into the Pacifica station, forcing him to take his next shot in the rice. “That was unlucky,” said Beacham, “but we’ve been practicing our awkward putts for a while. I only felt a little bad when I hit the people in line with a face full of rice.”
The ninth hole is unique to RPI’s course. Players are required to substitute their golf balls for acorns, and must putt through the Quadrangle. Most players made it through the hole fine, but sophomore Riley Joinnides had his acorn claimed by one of the squirrels. Since there is no mulligan rule in competitive minigolf, Joinnides was forced to climb the tree and fight the squirrel for the ball. The other squirrels, seeing their companion in danger, joined the fight. Midway through, a hawk saw the opportunity to take the squirrel by surprise, and an epic, mid-air battle ensued. Joinnides missed the remainder of the match. Some say he’s still fighting the squirrel army.
Union was up by two going into the fifteenth hole, which is a playthrough of Walker Laboratory. “The toughest part of this hole,” explained sophomore Ranger Beguelin, “is ignoring the lab students when you break their glassware. ‘I’m going to sue!’ is pretty common to hear on this hole.” On the first shot, sophomore Louis Barrette broke a beaker with a powerful drive, causing a small fire and delay of game as the building was temporarily evacuated. The rest of the hole was completed with minimal casualties. Only two students were transported to Samaritan Hospital for glass related injury.
Finally, with the the scored tied, the rival teams reached the eighteenth hole. Each team lined up on the roof of Sage Laboratories. As RPI001 left its reserved spot next to the Troy Building, each player in turn took a chance at the much sought after hole-in-one: the tailpipe of the leaving vehicle. Many missed completely, and one Union player shattered the back windshield, for which he was later arrested, but it was a renegade squirrel, which had managed to steal Joinnides’ original golf ball, who managed to sink the ball into the tailpipe, granting varsity minigolf its first home win.