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The Warriors Dynasty Died So That Steph Curry Could Watch People Concuss Themselves Playing Extreme Mini Golf

ABC’s ‘Holey Moley’ takes the “athlete-produced competition show” genre to its logical conclusion

ABC/Ringer illustration

The NBA season might’ve wrapped up last week when a Fun Guy defeated the Golden State Warriors, but the league’s content cycle continues to run unabated. While a thicc lord named Zion went first overall in the NBA draft on Thursday night, there was some other NBA-related programming available that evening, and Holey Moley, was it something else.

No really, that’s it: Holey Moley. It is not the name of a limited-edition burrito lathered in mole sauce at Moe’s, but rather a new “extreme” mini golf TV series on ABC hosted by Rob Riggle and Joe Tessitore, and executive produced by Stephen Curry, who makes sporadic appearances and occasionally swings a club. LeBron James might be finalizing his Space Jam 2 roster and producing an absurd amount of shows, but Curry is a Hollywood mogul, too—for golf-related stuff, at least.

Just what does an episode of Holey Moley entail? How extreme is this extreme mini golf? How many times are people going to say the words “holy moly” in a broadcast, and when will it push you to the brink of insanity? I’ve got all your pressing Holey Moley questions answered below.

1. Let’s dive right into the Holey Moley minutiae: How does the competition work? There’s no way it’s a full 18 holes of mini golf with several hours of coverage akin to the Masters, right?

Blessedly—or depending on your mileage for watching mini golf, tragically—Holey Moley accelerates the process. There are 12 competitors at the start, who go head-to-head on one hole, single-elimination style. That process is repeated three times, trimming the field from 12 to six to three for the championship round. The prize is three-fold: $25,000, a “golden putter” that looks a lot like the shovels Dr. Jacoby used in Twin Peaks: The Return, and a plaid green jacket that has the words “Holey Moley” stitched on the sleeve. It’s like the Masters’ fabled green jacket, but for people who exclusively play mini golf and shop at Ed Hardy.

Because the competition goes by so quickly, the mini golfers have zero margin for error, which is especially tricky since most of the courses probably can’t be replicated. And with that, we must answer the following question:

2. Are the courses as extreme as promised?

Admittedly—and I can’t believe I’m typing this—the courses are pretty metal for mini golf. Most of the courses are, in fact, obstacle courses, and involve a lot of physical exertion most mini golfers—or regular golfers, for that matter—would never have to endure. If you were a fan of the ABC series Wipeout, but for some strange reason wondered what it would look like if all the people on it started playing mini golf, well, now there’s Holey Moley.

An early round required two contestants to scale a slippery incline—kind of like a toned-down version of that Japanese game show featuring an unconscionable amount of lube—before hitting their first shot. The championship hole, incredibly named Mount Holey Moley, involves ziplining across a large body of water to get to your second putt. In general, contestants are subjected to a surprising amount of bodily harm. In the first round of the premiere, this poor English teacher named Julia was required to run through a moving windmill after she hit her shot. She wiped out. Hard.

TWICE!

That looked legitimately painful.

3. Does Holey Moley need a concussion protocol?

If they plan to keep the “Windmills of Death”—the name I’ve coined for the hell hole—and avoid potential lawsuits, it’s definitely advisable.

4. Who the hell volunteered to compete in this thing?

The pool of competitors is a combination of amateur golfers, totally normal people, and also complete friggin’ weirdos. There’s a construction worker named Jared who wore a unicorn onesie to the course—it looked like the producers just scooped him up from a local frat party and said, “Bro, how’s your putt game?” Amazingly, Jared cruised to the second round—although that was in part due to the fact that his competitor (the aforementioned English teacher) possibly sustained permanent brain damage while grappling with a series of demonic windmills.

Elsewhere, there was a dude who called himself “Lumberjack Bob”—[whispers] he wore a lumberjack outfit—and a guy named Alex, who said that his occupation was “comic book collector,” that he played video games to “train” for the competition, and that he plays “noisy powerviolence.” Alex also began eating a banana on the course, right next to Steph Curry, unfazed by his presence because he clearly had no idea who he was.

Rock on, Alex.

5. How good is Steph Curry at golf?

The real answer to this question is: Steph Curry is extremely good at golf. But since this is mini golf mixed with goofy-ass, slightly perilous mechanisms, the question must be reexamined. And luckily, Steph was given ample opportunity to prove his skill. Because in the second round, faced with a 55-yard chip shot, two mini golfers were forced to choose between Steph and a robot that was specifically designed for this moment. That’s not a joke, nor is the fact the robot’s face was just a video recording of Rob Riggle talking trash.

Curry hit a pretty good shot, but the robot’s chip landed slightly closer to the hole. So I guess the answer to this question is that Steph Curry, while pretty good at golf, is not better than a robot. But it’s important to note that the robot has merely won a battle, not the war. Curry is apparently going to keep showing up throughout Holey Moley’s run, providing an assist for anyone who wants to use his golfing skills over the cold, calculating precision of a robot featuring Rob Riggle’s face. (Personally, I’d go with the option that won’t haunt my dreams forever.)

6. Are there other celebrity cameos?

On one hole, competitors were faced with a straightforward, 15-foot putt—but the simplicity was a misdirect. Because, you see, before each player hit their shot, a distraction burst onto the scene in the form of—and again, I can’t believe I’m typing this—the smooth saxophone stylings of Kenny G.

7. Did everyone know who Kenny G was?

No. “Apparently she’s never made love in her entire life,” Rob Riggle remarked in what was his only good contribution on the evening.

8. Is Kenny G going to show up on every episode of Holey Moley? Is he trapped in some type of time loop, Russian Doll style, that forces him to play the sax in front of unethusiastic mini golfers who don’t even know he’s a ’90s sex icon? Has Kenny G been living inside the demon windmills, turning them manually and subsisting on the scraps of popcorn left behind by the audience for months? Is Steph Curry the orchestrator of his torture?

Holy moly, I think this extreme mini golf competition has broken my brain.

9. Is Holey Moley a viable sporting event?

You tell me: Once the contestants were whittled down to three for the championship round, we got the see the effects of Mount Holey Moley firsthand. The course is an acid trip: First, they hit the ball up the 30-foot volcano incline. Then they had to zipline across a body of water—and if they fell, they were assessed a one-stroke penalty.

Honestly, it was actually pretty tense. The two contestants who set themselves up with the easiest putts—including Lumberjack Bob—both missed, while Holly set herself up with a shockingly good putt. More importantly, when Lumberjack Bob missed his tap-in, he got angry and yelled, “Fart!”

10. Would I die for Lumberjack Bob?

In a heartbeat. Unfortunately, though, Bob choked. Holly was the inaugural winner of Holey Moley after what was a legitimately clutch performance. Steph, don’t read this, but she’s definitely the Kawhi Leonard of miniature golf.

12. Is Holey Moley worth checking out on a weekly basis?

Well, it’s gonna feature the same courses every week—and while the setup of these holes is undeniably impressive, the show might start getting a bit redundant by the sixth episode, when a fourth person is concussed after getting obliterated by a windmill while everyone continues to ignore the dulcet tones of Kenny G’s saxophone. It goes without saying: It would be way more fun to play the Holey Moley courses than it is to watch others do it. Except for the windmill part, because I love my brain.

That said, if you like the sound of zoning out to a mix of Wipeout and golf with a side of the NBA’s best 3-point shooter competing against a robot, Holey Moley is a solid weekly fix, and I respect your life choices.

13. Right, I almost forgot: How many times is “Holey Moley” said in the premiere?

I counted, by my cursed hands, 32 times. We live in hell.