GERMANTOWN — There are professional mini golfers in Wisconsin. Well, there is at least one.
“I’m the resident professional mini golfer of Wisconsin. I’m your guy. I’m number one mainly because I think I’m the only one," Karl Barth said. "I go by Mister Mini Golf and Kash Money Karl.”
While much of the golf world's eyes are turned to the Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin, there are other golf pros you should be checking out too.
“I’m a big fan of mini golf. Played it ever since I was a little kid, and I realized when I was in college I could turn it into a business and make a living doing that.”
Karl wants to make a national mini golf archive. He has played at roughly 500 courses and given reviews to about 100. He post those reviews to his website minigolfreviews.com. The site gets about 500,000 clicks per month, according to Karl. It's one way he is able to make a living.
What makes a good golf course is one that features variety, he said.
"I think a lot of creativity with design, so a lot of courses that I visit might be like a cookie cutter course. So the holes might be very similar to another course even in the same town," he said.
Since the Ryder Cup is here in Wisconsin, I had to ask him about it.
“Whose got it harder, you playing or Jim Furyk playing at Whistling Straits?" I asked.
"I’d say its probably me. I mean like think about it. This course - this hole could be a par 3, and it’s like 20 feet. They’re playing a par 3, and it’s a couple hundred feet. Why is this a par 3, and why is that a par 3?”
Mini golf was always his strength. He said as he got older he realized his golf skills weren't strong enough to compete at the pro level, but he still loved mini golf and excelled at it.
“So the long ball is the hard part for me. Short game is pretty darn good, so if anyone at the Ryder Cup needs some assistance, a putting coach or something like that, or needs me to sub in, I’m game for it.”
For him, one of the best things about mini golf, and what keeps him playing today, is that it's an accessible to everyone.
"Mini golf is something that everyone can do. It doesn’t matter how old you are. It doesn’t matter what gender, what background you have. Anyone can do it, and even if you’ve never done it before, you can still feel the success of a great round."
However, it isn't just playing mini golf that pays the bills for Kash Money Karl. He is also the owner of the business Jack-Putt. It's a portable game he brings to events around Wisconsin. Contestants have one chance to make a put. They have to put money down, but they can walk away with $50 to $500.
For Karl, it's all about staying close to the game he loves.
“I get to travel all over the country and get to play mini golf by day and get to do stand up comedy at night. So pretty much living the dream," he said.