Everything in Las Vegas is big, right? Big hotels, big casinos, big-name entertainment – and even when the smallest part of the game of golf is filtered through Las Vegas, it gets big. That’s right, putting just got big.
Long drive competitions have been around for a few years now, but thanks to the Major Series of Putting (MSOP), putting is hitting the big time. Qualifying tournaments held around the United States and Canada all led up to the finals in Las Vegas that begin on October 27th.
MSOP tournaments are held on a putting surface, with designated “teeing” areas from which the players putt toward a designated hole. Play in the MSOP differs in some key aspects from putting during a round of golf. For one, there is no flagstick — just the hole. Players may not mark and lift their ball, players are not allowed to use a caddy (i.e., no one to help you read the putt), and anchoring IS permitted.
There are three layers of qualifying – local, regional, and final – and two ways to get in on the action. First, players can enter a local qualifying tournament for a $10 entry fee, and if you roll your rock, you can qualify up to a regional event, and from there to final qualifying. However, if you miss a local or regional qualifier, or if you just have a lot of confidence in your putting game, and a few bucks to spare, you can buy your way in to regional qualifying for $50, or final qualifying for a C-note ($100.)
Whether you play your way in or pay your way in, a trip to the finals will find you competing for some serious money on a specially-designed 20,000 square-foot, 18-hole championship putting course by Jack Nicklaus Design. Located at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino, just off the Las Vegas Strip, the putting surfaces of the MSOP Stadium Course were built by Southwest Greens Construction.
And this is no kiddie putt-putt course. There are no clowns and no windmills, just 18 par-2 holes (plus a playoff hole) of world-class, for-real putting. The holes range in length from 12 to 50 feet, and every one has break and contours that will require competitors to bring their “A” putting game.
Of course, this being Vegas, if you want to win big in the MSOP finals you have to put up some of your own cash. Entry fees and the winner’s purse for each of the events in the championship is listed below:
If you are an amateur player and the dollar signs worry you, never fear – you can waive the prize money, take home nothing but a trophy, and bragging rights, and still maintain your amateur standing.
The MSOP Stadium Course, located at 202 Audrie St, Las Vegas, NV – behind Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino, is a full-on entertainment experience in itself, where you can watch the competition, enjoy hot food, snacks and drinks from the restaurant, and even play the putting course yourself for a $35 green fee.
Can’t get to Vegas for the competition? Keep an eye on the online leaderboard from anywhere in the world and see how the competition is going – you may just get fired up to try your hand at the championship yourself, next time.