When the national media focuses on golf in Augusta it usually means one thing - The Masters.
Putt-Putt Golf and Games in Martinez will be the subject of a Travel Channel special program and is currently featured in the June issue of Golf Digest.
The Putt-Putt courses, located at 3763 Martinez Blvd., was named one of the top 10 courses in the country by the Travel Channel. The course will be featured on the cable network's popular "World's Best" program, which airs on Knology channel 50 and Charter channel 52.
Although the episode featuring the Martinez Putt-Putt won't air until next year, a film crew from Michael Hoff Productions - which produces the program - came to Augusta on Wednesday.
Lloyd Goldschmidt, working for Michael Hoff Productions, films at Putt-Putt Golf and Games for the Travel Channel. The course will be featured in a future travel segment.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
"We're planning on being here all day to film the course and people playing the course," said Gordon McGee, director of the three-man crew hired to film the Martinez portion of the episode. "We've also gotten shots of the Riverwalk and the Augusta Golf and Gardens."
McGee said the episode will feature the greatest mini-golf courses in the country.
"(The selection process) is pretty severe. We take it very seriously over here," said Angela Rentuma, an associate producer for Michael Hoff. "Because the Travel Channel has commissioned us to do this, the process usually comes from them as far as selection. Everyone puts in ideas, but they all go through experts, research and different things for their selection process."
There are around 125 official Putt-Putt courses in 26 states and hundreds more miniature golf courses worldwide, according to the official Putt-Putt Web site. Martinez should feel very honored, Rentuma said.
At least one man does feel honored.
"I've always been very proud of this course, but to be included in the top 10 in the nation is a tremendous honor," said Martinez Putt-Putt owner Mark Ross.
Ross has framed the Golf Digest article and put it up in arcade section of Putt-Putt.
"I've already had people calling me from out of town after reading this article," said Ross. "Many of them were asking for directions, because they are planning on stopping by here to play the course while taking their vacations.
"That's great, but I hope locals will be impressed by this and want to drop by and see what they've been missing," he said.
The Golf Digest article is a first-person account by John Barton. He is a professional putter, who came to the Martinez last August for the 43rd Annual National Championships of Putt-Putt.
Ross saysthe appeal of miniature golf has less to do with life lessons and more to do with value and competitiveness.
"Putt-Putt is a sport that the entire family can play without spending a whole lot of money and be competitive with each other," said Ross. "It doesn't matter if you're the brother, sister, mom or dad. The playing field is level. Being the fastest and the strongest isn't a factor. Everyone can compete with everyone else on an equal basis, and I think that appeals to a lot of people."
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