Passion for crazy golf takes man to Euro championship

Derek Bentall from Crawley Down has been chosen to represent Great Britain in the European Seniors Championship after finishing fifth in the World Crazy Golf Championships - picture submitted KuUEDrTeDxHo94PEMwe7
Derek Bentall from Crawley Down has been chosen to represent Great Britain in the European Seniors Championship after finishing fifth in the World Crazy Golf Championships - picture submitted KuUEDrTeDxHo94PEMwe7

A professional mini golfer from Turners Hill has been picked to represent Great Britain at the European Seniors Championship in August.

Derek Bentall of Woodpecker Way finished fifth earlier this month at the World Crazy Golf Championships held in Hastings.

Derek Bentall from Crawley Down has been chosen to represent Great Britain in the European Seniors Championship after finishing fifth in the World Crazy Golf Championships - picture submitted PHUigJDK3FzK4QkN2Imh

Derek Bentall from Crawley Down has been chosen to represent Great Britain in the European Seniors Championship after finishing fifth in the World Crazy Golf Championships - picture submitted PHUigJDK3FzK4QkN2Imh

He is now off to Finland for his debut on the international minigolf stage.

The father of one, who could be the only minigolf professional in the county, said: “It was a great thrill to play the final round on Sunday in the presence of UK number one Michael Smith and Tour chairman Sean Homer in the final group with crowds and cameras on show.

“I was so proud how I coped with the pressure and have come a long way in three years on the Tour. Finishing fifth in the World Crazy Golf Championships gives me so much confidence as I hope to push closer to the top ten rankings in the UK by the end of this season.

“When I received confirmation I had been selected to represent my country it felt a great honour and I feel extremely privileged to be able to wear the GB shirt at my age, 52, having been a lifelong sports enthusiast.

“I will be representing Great Britain in Lahti, Finland in August as Great Britain’s Minigolf Association is taking a team of six well-established players to the European Seniors Championships.

“It really will be a dream come true for me.”

Derek’s passion for minigolf started as child playing crazy golf in the summer holidays. In 2013 he discovered the British Minigolf Association Tour and took the opportunity to play in his first world championships.

He has enjoyed successes ever since, but he is determined to stay grounded.

He said: “It is at the end of the day just a sporting hobby for me, being able to play a few minigolf events each year around the south of England is a great way to escape the stresses of working life and being married and a father of a six-year-old boy.

“Above all, it is a pleasurable pastime where all ages play on the British minigolf tour. We are competitive on the course but we all play for the fun of the game and exude wonderful camaraderie throughout events.

“I have to thank my wife Diana for obligingly obtaining the time off work to look after our son Anton whilst I play these tournaments. Without her support I would not be able to compete so easily.”