2 local golfers to compete for pickup truck
DETROIT — Picture throngs of Wayne State University students and young urban professionals lining Motown’s famed Cass Corridor in an atmosphere that can best be described as equal parts neo-classic film “Blade Runner” and rapturous New Orleans Mardi Gras.
Picture golf played at night and not on a traditional course, but on a city street to a pitched frenzy replete with fireworks, strikingly costumed dancers and fanatical wild golfers.
That’s the premise behind the “Night of Wild Golf,” which will be an annual one-on-one contest between two former collegiate athletes March 1 on the Midtown streets of Detroit, a city that has seen a surge in popularity among young people.
It’s those young people who are the target of the “Night of Wild Golf” organizers at Wilderness Xtreme Sports, who cooked up the idea of one-on-one, high-octane golf that isn’t decided by strokes, but by time — the first one to hit their ball into the hole wins, even if they had more strokes. And, they’re playing at the same time, adding to the excitement.
“Night of Wild Golf” will feature three “lightning” head-to-head rounds through the heart of the WSU campus, culminating in the warehouse district, all in one hour. The stakes are high: The Champion’s prize is a Wilderness Xtreme Sports pickup truck; the runner-up takes home $2,500.
Event sponsor, Dearborn-based Stellar Scholars, is working with a Big Three nameplate for co-sponsorship. The brand identity, along with broadcast details, will be revealed over the next few weeks.
The players are two former college athletes: Mike Gierucki of Dearborn Heights, who played baseball at Northwood University, and Tony Ventura of Dearborn, who played soccer at Schoolcraft College and the University at Buffalo.
Detroit Red Wings announcer Ken Kal or Marc Santia of WNBC-TV (Channel 4) in New York will provide play-by-play; one of the “Wild Golf” founders, Paul Lubanski of Farmington Hills, is the color commentator.
In 2013, Lubanski — a former Michigan State University lacrosse and hockey player — was approached by Frank Dattilo of Dearborn, who worked in advertising, and they teamed with Nick Caramagno of White Lake, founder of CaraMedia Productions. Dattilo’s idea was rooted in his brother’s northern Michigan property, since “Wild Golf” can be played on rough terrain or even cross-ways on traditional golf holes.
The golfers can use just three clubs, including a putter, and they wear protective gear since they’re shooting at the same time and must yell “Cover!” if arriving to take their shot first.
CaraMedia is working with Nike to develop a set of hybrid gear, from athletic shoes to helmets to soft, non-damaging night golf balls. The goal is to create gear for Wilderness Xtreme Sports’ stable of events, including “Wild Golf,” “Wild Football” and “Wild Hockey.”
More on the concept of “Wild Golf” can be found at the Wilderness Xtreme Sports’ website, www.wxsports.net.