Frank Kristiansen looks ahead to the World Strokeplay in Norway
63 year old Frank Vidar Kristiansen spoke to fippa.org back in March. We discussed his seniors win at Imjelt in the 2010 Norwegian Open and the countdown to the 2017 World Strokeplay championship in Norway.
Q. How did you personally get interested in Pitch and Putt?
Frank Kristiansen (FK): Golf has been an important part of my life for 30 years. I was first introduced to Pitch and Putt in the summer of 2008, and became intrigued by this beautiful game. A handful of keen golfers from Drammen Golf Club started to compete in different Pitch and Putt tournaments, and we started playing an Order of Merit series.
Q. What are your memories of the 2011 European Strokeplay Championship at Imjelt?
FK: In 2010 Imjelt held the “Imjelt International Open”, and we met a lot of excellent players from Europe. And, in 2011 Imjelt hosted the first European Strokeplay Championship. Over the course of three days in July, the players enjoyed the best the Norwegian summer can offer. We were mindblown by the skills of the Irish, Dutch and Spanish players. I came in sixth place with -8, eleven strokes behind the incredible Ian Farelly. All the players agreed that it had been a great championship!
Q. You competed very strongly for the 2015 European Senior Strokeplay Championship in the Netherlands?
FK: Having won the Norwegian Order of Merit Qualifying for the 2015 European Strokeplay I went to the Championship with rather high expectations. However my play during that week was rather poor, although I came in 2nd place among the seniors. I was shooting 48/50 at Imjelt in the weeks before, but in the Championship my best round was 54 . But the Dutch Beer was cold and the food was good! And the stay with Pitch and Putt friends was excellent. 2017 will be the year!
Q. What do you believe are your prospects for the 2017 World Strokeplay Championship?
FK: I have become a more stable player since 2011, and I think targeted practice has made me a better Pitch and Putt player. I hope this can bring my championship play closer to the best players in the upcoming championship at Imjelt. I am really looking forward to playing with the best players in the world at Imjelt in July.
Q. Are there any Norwegian players that you believe will be in contention?
FK: A handful of Norwegian players have really upped their game. In recent years, I have played with some excellent Norwegian players making rounds of -5 to -8. Even though the best Irish and Dutch players are still favourites for the title, I would not be surprised if we see several Norwegian names in the top ten, like Roger Wernersen, Espen Bergmann, Anders Langeland, Helge Eggja and Finn Tore Tokle.
Q. How are preparations progressing at Imjelt for the 2017 World Strokeplay Championship?
FK: At the moment, it is snowing at Imjelt! But relax, the preparations are in good hands. The owner and manager of Imjelt, Jo G. Brand has it all under control. All the necessary information about the course will be posted on the FIPPA website in due time. I spoke to Jo a few days ago, and I am confident that the 2017 Championship will be even better than the one we had in 2011.
Q. How has the course evolved since you won the 2010 Norwegian Senior Open there?
FK: The course is well established, and it is always beautifully maintained. The Norwegian winter can be hard on the course, and we can only play there six out of twelve months every year. The greens especially can take a beating from the heavy snow and subzero temperatures. But I know for sure that Jo and his “grass consultants” have great plans for the course this year, and I know it will be in good shape for the World Championship. Prepare yourselves for an excellent course!
Q. Is Pitch and Putt developing well as a sport in Norway?
FK: For the first time, we had a Imjelt Callaway Open last year, with over 100 players in the tournament! That was an all-time high for a Pitch and Putt tournament in Norway. Pitch and Putt is growing in Norway, but it has a lot more potential. The majority of good golf players have yet to understand how valuable Pitch and Putt can be for their short game. But it is fun to recognize how the “other” players in the Senior Tour in Norway talk about the short game of the Imjelt gang with such high regards.
Q. Did you enjoy the 2016 World Cup in Andorra?
FK: Team Norway came in fifth place last year. Roger Wernersen, Helge Eggja, myself and my wife as the “team coach” really enjoyed the hospitality of our friends in Andorra. The course was in perfect condition and the stay at the resort was excellent. I remember I had a great day in my singles round, with -6. I hope that Imjelt can copy Xixerella in July!