Slovenia will play France in 2022 - Jožef Klančnik expounds

Team Europe player Jožef Klančnik (Slovenia) made the long journey from his home to Quiberon for the III Breizh Open. The result is an exciting addition to the FIPPA Calendar. Jožef reveals more on this and other topics below. (Q.) Tell us a little about the plans for the Slovenia v. France Ryder Cup style Match.
Jožef Klančnik (A.)
The idea came up two years ago when Yann Le Tallec first participated in the Slovenia Open and on this occasion I invited him to the Pitch&Putt  Žaženberk course where the PPAS (Slovenia Pitch and Putt Association) is also headquartered. We also played the Žaženberk course together and at that time we agreed to play the Slovenia vs. France Ryder Cup style Match. We have now also confirmed this intention with the new President of the French PP Federation, Mr. Angot Patrice, at the Breizh Open.

Q. Will it be an annual event?
Currently the competition is scheduled for the last weekend in August 2022 at the Žaženberk course in Slovenia, but it will be an annual event, first in Slovenia and in 2023 in France.

For Slovenia this would be an important sporting event and also an opportunity to increase the reputation and expansion of Pitch and Putt in Slovenia. As the Žaženberk P&P course is adapted for spectators, we want to invite them in larger numbers and also the media, and in this way further increase the promotion of Pitch and Putt.

Q.  You played in a previous Ryder Cup style Match – the Fernando Morgado Trophy in Chile. How do you reflect on that experience now – three years on?

A. It was an amazing experience that will always stay in my fond memory. On the competitive side it was very challenging. I am an average Pitch and Putt player, but when you wear a European shirt and when you feel that you are part of such a wonderful team representing Europe, you are overwhelmed by a special adrenalin rush and at the same time the pressure of responsibility. I am glad that I scored 1.5 points and that I also contributed to the Europe's victory.

Special thanks go to the President of FIPPA Mr. Victor Moscatel, the President of the Chilean PP FECHIPP and the Vice President of FIPPA Mr. Patricio Rubel and the FIPPA Ambassador to South America Mr. Francesc Solé, who did their best to organize such a unique competition. 

Q. How satisfied were you with the recent Slovenia Open?

A. We were basically satisfied with the Slovenia Open. In terms of organization, everything went according to the plan and the competitors also expressed their satisfaction and gave thanks.

However, we were not satisfied with the participation  level, which could be higher - also internationally. However it is true that we are in the midst special (Covid) times and that is also reflected in participation levels 

In the future, we are thinking of focusing more on matches between individual countries, in the current case with France, which would, in a way, be more predictable in terms of participation levels and also help the promotion of Pitch and Putt.

Q. How is Pitch and Putt developing in Slovenia?

A. At the PPAS level we have various competitions: 1st Pitch and Putt League, Slovenian Cup Competition, National Championship and we have already organized five Slovenian Open Championships.

Competitions are also organized by individual Pitch and Putt clubs. Given that we started Pitch and Putt in Slovenia in 2016, we are satisfied, but at the same time we want to increase interest in the sport, especially from young people and also from the female population. This will be our task in the future.

Q. How many Pitch and Putt courses are there now in Slovenia?

A. We have five Pitch and Putt courses that are recognized by PPAS and where competitions are held according to FIPPA and PPAS rules. We also have about five Pitch and Putt golf courses, which are part of golf courses or training grounds but are not yet included in PPAS.

Talks have been underway for some time with some of these, to form Pitch and Putt clubs and join PPAS.

Q.You must be delighted to achieve recognition from the Slovenia Olympic Committee?

A. As the Slovenia Olympic Committee is the highest sports body in Slovenia, we have plans and activities already underway for PPAS to get involved. It would be a great thing.

Membership in the Olympic Committee as a non-Olympic sport would help us with:

- consolidation of PPAS as a recognized organization by the highest sports body in Slovenia

- getting financial grants and resources from the state level

Q. What is the current position with Pitch and Putt in Croatia?

A. In 2018 we organized a  Pitch and Putt competition on behalf of PPAS, the Croatia-Catalonia-Slovenia triangular, which we played on the Croatian island of Brijuni. The presidents of FIPPA, PPAS and PP Croatia were also present there. At that time Croatia was interested in joining FIPPA, but I don't know how the FIPPA-Croatia communication progressed.