Accelerator, Taking a Break from Curing Cancer, Unwinds With Some Mini-Golf Hijinks

Xconomy Seattle — 

The people at Seattle-based Accelerator spend their days doing oh-so-serious stuff, like trying to redefine the state of the art in biotechnology.

Yesterday it was time to goof off.

I joined in the Accelerator mini-golf tournament at the Interbay Golf Center. It’s the fourth year of the outing for Accelerator, the venture-backed biotech startup incubator founded in 2003, which brings together employees, members of portfolio companies, and their families. They make it fun. Personally, I enjoyed seeing people who are developing cool things like microRNA drugs, or broadly neutralizing antibodies for HIV, try to hit a golf ball while balancing a cup of water on top of their head.

Rules, if you want to call them that, were explained by Accelerator president David Schubert, the tournament’s judge, jury, and executioner. Teams were selected by drawing names from a hat. This was a best-ball tournament: team with the lowest score wins.

Judge Schubert wore a somber-looking black robe as he dictated his tongue-in-cheek guidelines. The important thing, he stressed, was essentially not so much whether you win or lose, but how you play the game.

“Cheating is encouraged,” Schubert said, deadpan. “Getting caught is discouraged.”

The competition here was for luxurious prizes like a Slim Jim meat stick, or a chance to wear the champion’s green jacket, like the one they give the guy who wins the Masters tournament in professional golf.

Between some clutch swings of my own (not really), I snapped a few photos of the festivities. You can click on the thumbnails to see a larger image. I also couldn’t resist putting on my sports reporter hat (yes, I once covered sports). I just had to do a mock post-game interview with Accelerator CEO Carl Weissman.

Xconomy: How do you think your team performed today, Coach? Any surprises out there?

Carl Weissman: The number of unethical people in this business is really shocking to me. There are people who will do whatever it takes to violate the etiquette of mini-golf. It did surprise me.

X: Were you disappointed?

CW: It’s very disappointing. I think I will have to re-evaluate many of our Accelerator investments.

X: Thanks, Coach. Better luck next year.

Accelerator 034 (800x600)Is this croquet or mini-golf?
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And here are a few more photos from Accelerator’s Jessica Burback.