Local mini golf fanatics prepare for reality TV stardom on ABC's 'Holey Moley'

Tom Loftus takes on a balance challenge on 'Holey Moley.'

Tom Loftus takes on a balance challenge on 'Holey Moley.' ABC

Tom Loftus and his wife, Robin Schwartzman, live and breathe mini golf.

They grew up playing mini golf. Their first date was at Big Stone Mini Golf in Minnetrista back in 2011. They write a blog, A Couple of Putts, where they play and review mini golf courses. They even got married on a mini golf course this past spring. So it only makes sense that when ABC was casting mini golf fanatics for the summertime mini golf game show Holey Moley, the two would be on their short list.

“We saw a post on Instagram back in November about the show and we decided to respond,” Loftus recalls. “They said they were interested in our story, so we filled out the application.”

“We had no clue what network the show was on or anything else about it,” adds Schwartzman, “but we heard it was a show about mini golf and thought that we’d love to do it because we love mini golf.”

Flash forward to this past spring, when the couple was selected to be contestants on the ultimate mini golf challenge, which began airing earlier this summer.

“All winter we speculated about what it might be, but when we got there it was super surreal and beyond anything we could have imagined,” shares Schwartzman.

For those who haven’t seen the show, each week a group of contestants play against each other on the most insane mini golf course ever designed. Windmills, water, flames, and even the real Kenny G (see clip below) have been used as obstacles that players must contend with in hopes of winning the ultimate prize of $25,000.

“I was like a kid in a candy store,” Loftus says. “It was beyond anything we could have imagined.”

Now, after everyone had to stay mum on the results for several months, Loftus' episode will finally air this Thursday (Schwartzman’s will air two weeks later on August 22). To celebrate, they’re hosting a watch party at Grumpy’s in Roseville, where friends, family, and mini golf fanatics are invited to bask in the insanity with the couple, and maybe get their putter signed.

Aside from being super fans, the couple have also put their passion for mini golf into their work.

“My background is an artist. I work at the University of Minnesota, and I run the Digital Fabrication Lab in the Department of Art,” says Schwartzman. “I was always making sculptures that looked like mini golf holes anyway, so when the Walker put out the call for people to design holes for their mini golf course we decided to make something that just looked really cool and that we thought would be really fun to play.”

Together, they’ve consulted and designed a number of mini golf-related projects, working with the former Indianapolis Museum of Art, the Nelson-Atkins Art Museum in Kansas City, and even students in the Middle East. Two holes that they designed are part of the Walker’s 2019 Skyline Mini Golf Course.

Robin Schwartzman and Tom Loftus take selfies on set of 'Holey Moley.'

Robin Schwartzman and Tom Loftus take selfies on set of 'Holey Moley.'

“We always like working with people who want to make or design really unique, interesting mini golf experiences versus commercial courses,” she adds.

While they have to remain tight-lipped about the results of the show, the couple say they were excited to share their story while avoiding potential divorce.

“I’m curious to see how they edit our story, but I’m glad we didn’t have to play against each other and potentially destroy our marriage,” says Schwartzman, laughing.

While the mega grand prize would obviously be a big plus, the couple says that the most exciting part of the experience for them is helping to spread the word about their favorite pastime.

“We’ve sort of developed a mantra that mini golf is for everybody, and they made a show that reflects that,” Loftus says. “For us, it’s one of those things that we do because we find so much joy in it.”

Holey Moley airs Thursdays at 7 p.m. on ABC. The watch party will start at 6:30 p.m. at Grumpy's Roseville game room.