Monday, April 30, 2012

Sitting on the Longest Bench in the World. In Littlehampton!

Having a nice sit down after a long day of Minigolf.

On my travels around the UK I'm always on the lookout for interesting, unique, odd and obscure things to see, do and visit.

During a conversation about Littlehampton and Crazy Golf last year I was told that the town is home to the Longest Bench in the World. In fact, the people who told me about it were the very same people who designed it! I made a note to visit the bench when I eventually made it to Littlehampton.

Last summer we had run out of time on a Crazy World of Minigolf Tour roadtrip from Hastings towards Littlehampton and ended the day in Worthing. Similarly we failed to make it to Littlehampton on a trip from the direction of Southsea and ended that journey in Felpham, near Bognor Regis. So, having spent the weekend playing in the BMGA British Masters minigolf tournament in Worthing I took the opportunity to make the short trip along the coast to Littlehampton to check out the Minigolf courses there.

Looking at the information board and map on the seafront I noticed that the Longest Bench was not too far from where I had parked and was very close to one of the Miniature Golf course locations I was looking for at Banjo Road, so I headed along for a quick sit down.

A view of the Longest Bench in the World, built in July 2010, stretching along the Littlehampton Promenade

The bench is not as I expected it to be. I imagined that it would be one long bench like a Park Bench. But it's a very higgledy piggledy construction (at least at either end) and stretches along for some distance in a slightly more regular fashion along the promenade.

I'm looking forward to a return trip to Littlehampton with Emily to further explore the town, visit the amusements and Harbour Park and play the many Minigolf courses there. I'll also have another nice sit down on the Longest Bench in the World and take in the views of the beach and sea.


Bench Related Photo Link:
- In January 2012 I had a sit down on a random BIG bench that is in Hitchin, Herts!

A stack of Minigolf courses visited in Littlehampton, but none played!

Seven Miniature Golf course locations (and a pit-pat course) visited in Littlehampton, West Sussex.

Following the BMGA British Masters minigolf competition in nearby Worthing I took the opportunity to visit the seaside town of Littlehampton.

On our previous south coast roadtrips Emily and I have run out of time on our way to Littlehampton and the closest we've reached on either side of the town is Felpham, near Bognor Regis and Worthing. On Sunday 22nd April I made it there, but didn't get to play any of the minigolf courses as I arrived a bit too late for some of them and a bit too early in the season for the others!

Driving into Littlehampton I spotted a Brown Tourist Sign that showed 'Putting' and pointed me in the direction of Maltravers Park. Unfortunately I couldn't see the course, it may have been too early in the season for the course to have been marked out.

Littlehampton (Maltravers Park) - There was no Putting there

Brown Tourist Sign to Maltravers Park in Littlehampton

After parking up I started walking along the promenade and spotted a big sign over the entrance of the Sharksville Adventure Golf course at Harbour Park. I only managed to get a glimpse of the course through the locked gate.

The Sharksville Adventure Golf course entrance at Harbour Park in Littlehampton

A view of the Sharksville Adventure Golf course through the gate at Harbour Park in Littlehampton

A shark with a bow tie!?
The shark on the sign outside Sharksville Adventure Golf has a Bow Tie on!?

Strolling a little further down the road I came to the the Western Putting minigolf on Banjo Road. This set-up is home to a Putting course, a Crazy Golf course (of the Swedish Felt variety) and the only Crazy Snooker course I know of in the UK! I'm looking forward to heading back in the peak season to get a game on all three of these courses, especially the Crazy Snooker as it's a game I've not yet managed to play. While visiting Vienna, Austria in 2010 I did see another of these courses - the game is also known as Pit-Pat (and Hindernis Billard). There was also an advert for this type of game (although it was called 'Crazy Pool' there) on the prom in Skegness, but the tables were long gone.

Western Putting on Banjo Road in Littlehampton - home to a Putting Course, Crazy Golf and a Crazy Snooker course!

A view of the Western Putting Minigolf Centre on Banjo Road in Littlehampton

The Putting course at Western Putting in Littlehampton

A little further down the seafront is Norfolk Gardens, home to a Pitch & Putt course, a 9-hole Adventure Golf course, the Putting Green Cafe, Bowling Greens, Tennis Courts and Miniature Railway! Norfolk Gardens are open all year round.

Norfolk Gardens in Littlehampton - home to a Pitch & Putt course and a 9-hole Adventure Golf

A view of the Adventure Golf course at Norfolk Gardens in Littlehampton

A view of the Adventure Golf course at Norfolk Gardens in Littlehampton

The Putting Green Cafe at Norfolk Gardens

The Pitch & Putt Mini Golf at Norfolk Gardens in Littlehampton

The last of the Minigolf courses I hunted for was at Mewsbrook Park. Unfortunately I couldn't find a course there, but the Miniature Railway line does pass through the Pitch & Putt course that sits between Norfolk Gardens & Mewsbrook Park - the end of the line is in Mewsbrook Park, with a station and turnaround point in Norfolk Gardens.

I couldn't find a Minigolf course in Mewsbrook Park. But Norfolk Gardens and the two Minigolf courses there are just next door to it

A view of the very well maintained Mewsbrook Park in Littlehampton

Many of the Miniature Golf course facilities in Littlehampton are operated by Inspire Leisure. They also operate some of the Minigolf courses in nearby Bognor Regis. Both towns have plenty of courses on offer and are a mixture of Crazy Golf, Adventure Golf, Mini Golf, Miniature Golf, Putting and Crazy Snooker!

I'm looking forward to returning to Littlehampton in the future to have a look around while things are open and playable.

Related Blog Posts:
- Minigolf Course Visit #210(a!?) - Vienna, Austria (Askoe Wien Wasserpark) - pit-pat "Hindernis Billards"!
- Skegness (South Parade) - Crazy Golf - Closed on Visit
- Crazy World of Minigolf Tour
- Littlehampton

- International Pit Pat Association (translated page)
- Pit Pat on Wikipedia (translated page)

Like the Crazy World of Minigolf Tour on Facebook, check out our YouTube channel and follow me and Emily on Twitter.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

A Putting Green at Rustington Golf Centre

Another visited minigolf course on the Crazy World of Minigolf Tour.

En route from Worthing to Littlehampton on Sunday 22nd April 2012 I popped into Rustington Golf Centre in Angmering, West Sussex where I'd seen online and in a leaflet that they have an 18-hole Putting Green.

Putting Course at Rustington Golf Centre, Angmering

Rustington Golf Centre also has three Golf courses - an 18-hole Par-70 course, a 9-hole Par-3 and a 3-hole Par-3 course.

Related Blog Post:

Two more Minigolf courses visited in Worthing

A mini-golf Putting Course and a Krazy Golf course visited, but not played.

While in Worthing, West Sussex for the 2012 BMGA British Masters competition at Splash Point Mini Golf course I visited two other Minigolf courses in the town.

Both are at the Lancing-end of Worthing. The first was at Brooklands Par-3 Golf Centre where I found a Putting Course, the other was at Brooklands Pleasure Park where there is a Krazy Golf course.

The Brooklands Par-3 Golf Centre Putting Green had just closed when I arrived.

Brooklands Par-3 Golf Centre Putting Green

Brooklands Pleasure Park has no entrance fee and is open all year round from 11am-5pm, but I arrived after 5pm so couldn't play the course.

Sign for the Brooklands Pleasure Park Krazy Golf course in Worthing

Related Blog Posts:

Selfridges to get a Crazy Golf course and Tea Room on Rooftop Garden

Minigolf to return to the rooftop of iconic London department store this summer.

Reading Fabulous magazine in The Sun newspaper today I read that Selfridges in London will be installing a Crazy Golf course on the roof as part of The Big British Bang - a celebration of all things British spanning the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and the London Olympic Games in 2012.

There are more details about The Big British Bang in a news release about the event. Part of The Big British Bang is the 'The Big British Tea Party' where people will be able to experience "The Highest Tea" on Oxford Street and Crazy Golf on Selfridges' Rooftop. The tea room and crazy golf course will be open from the 31st of May to the 2nd of September 2012. The Big British Bang launches on the 4th of May.

Emily and I are looking forward to making a visit as part of our Crazy World of Minigolf Tour! We're also big fans of Tea Rooms so it'll be a double treat.

You can see photos of the 1930's Miniature Golf course on the rooftop garden in a Daily Mail website story here. A mention of the rooftop 'mini golf' course is made on the Selfridges Wikipedia entry too. Having a look for further information online I spotted a mention of the planned miniature golf course at Selfridges on the website of eFIG, the trade association for the Interior Landscaping Industry.


Related Blog Posts:

Latest British Minigolf Association Tour Rankings (April 2012)

Updated BMGA Tour Rankings for Richard & Emily Gottfried following the BMGA British Masters.

The latest British Minigolf Association Tour Rankings have been released following the BMGA British Masters competition at Splash Point Mini Golf in Worthing, West Sussex.

For the 2012 minigolf season the BMGA ranking systems have been amended. The BMGA Order of Merit has been split into two separate lists - the BMGA Strokeplay Order of Merit & the BMGA Matchplay Order of Merit. The calculation of the BMGA Season-only Rankings list remains the same.

BMGA Season-only Rankings 2012

BMGA Strokeplay Order of Merit Rankings 2011-2012

BMGA Matchplay Order of Merit Rankings 2010-2012

BMGA Rankings Details:
- The BMGA Season-only Rankings are separate to the official BMGA Strokeplay & Matchplay Order of Merit Ranking lists and are based only on the current season’s results
- The official BMGA Strokeplay rankings are calculated by adding a player’s top four scores of the current season to the top two scores from the previous season
- The official BMGA Matchplay rankings are made up from the results from the previous two seasons of the BMGA British Matchplay Championships and BMGA British Doubles Championships, along with the results from the current season


Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Ham & Egger Files Receives its 150,000th Reader!

Blogging Milestone Reached.

Today The Ham & Egger Files blog received its 150,000th visitor!

Since my first blog post on the 21st of December 2006 I have published 1,443 posts (including this one) and the site has received hits from people in 98 countries!

Thank you all for reading, it’s much appreciated.



Related Blog Posts:

Merry Christmas from Luton!

Season's Greetings!?

It seems the festive season is still upon us here in sunny ol' Luton!

Happy 28th of April one and all.

Five years as a 'Pro' Minigolfer

Playing on the British Minigolf Association Tour since 2007.

Back on the 28th April 2007 I made my BMGA Tour debut in the BMGA British Masters minigolf competition at the Adventure Golf course at Adventure Island in Southend-on-Sea. Last weekend I played in my fourth BMGA British Masters event in five years at the Splash Point Mini Golf course in Worthing.

At the Adventure Island courses in Southend-on-Sea ahead of my BMGA Tour debut in 2007

I officially joined the British Minigolf Association on Monday 22nd January 2007 and made my first appearance in the third tournament of the season (I missed the Planet Hastings Crazy Golf Club Open and the Irish Open).

In the 2007 BMGA British Masters I finished in 24th place in the 28 player field, earned one ranking point and was second in the novice category behind Alan Norman and ahead of Ian Barrett. Of the three of us, Alan and I have continued to regularly play on the Tour, while Ian was never seen again! You can read a report and see the results of the 2007 BMGA British Masters - won by Keith Kellard - at In fact my rival Alan 'Stormin' Norman and I were on the same score and paired together for the final round of the 2012 BMGA British Masters in Worthing. In that mini-contest I defeated Alan and finished 16th (I scored a 43 while he shot a 50).

Since that first appearance on the BMGA Tour I have competed in 76 BMGA competitions, winning five of them. I've had six runner-up finishes, three third-places and 23 other top ten finishes. In the five years as a BMGA player I have had the honour of representing Great Britain in two international minigolf tournaments overseas (the 2008 WMF Nations Cup in Finland and the 2011 WMF Nations Cup in Sweden) and at the 2011 WMF World Adventure Golf Masters in Hastings. I have also represented England in five World Crazy Golf Championships, reaching the finals on three occasions.

Emily made her BMGA Tour debut on the biggest stage in Crazy Golf at the 2007 Virgin Money World Crazy Golf Championships in Hastings where she finished 54th overall and 6th in the Virgin Money Women's World Crazy Golf Championships.

Related Blog Posts:
- Crazy Golf and Adventure Golf in Southend-on-Sea - Crazy World of Minigolf Tour

Friday, April 27, 2012

Minigolfer's Bar Billiards side-tournament in Worthing

Bar Billiards at The Swan pub in Worthing

Following the conclusion of the practice session for the BMGA British Masters minigolf tournament at Splash Point Mini Golf in Worthing, attention turned to the evening’s side-game entertainment.

‘Traditional’ events for us to play while away on tour include Air Hockey & Tat Challenges, but in Worthing a group of us decided to hunt out a Bar Billiards table for a mini-competition.

I had used the excellent Bar Billiards table map resource at AEBBA to locate a number of pubs and tables in the area and we decided to pay The Swan Inn on the High Street a visit.

Bar Billiards at The Swan in Worthing - The well lit and nicely positioned table

We arrived and immediately saw the table in a good location to the left of the entrance. We ordered our drinks and decided on a format for the matches. The pub is a competition table and according to the notice board next to the table it's a location for matches in the Worthing & District Bar Billiards League.

Bar Billiards at The Swan in Worthing - the rules & league information

In the first match-up Chris ‘Who’ Harding of the Midlands Minigolf Club took on Scott ‘Donkey Gringo’ Lancley of the Kent Minigolf Club. Both players had played the game before, but neither had picked up a Bar Billiards cue in a number of years. After a quick rules reminder the game was underway and Chris built-up an early lead against Scott. The final result of the match was a 1,550 to 460 win to Chris, cleaning up the last two balls so no sudden-death shot was required.

Bar Billiards at The Swan in Worthing
Chris lines-up a shot in his match against Scott

My opponent was Paul ‘Johnson Paul Johnson’ Johnson who would be playing his first-ever game of Bar Billiards. In a very closely fought match-up there were quite a few white pegs knocked over by me before the final shoot-out. The final ball available was the red, but unfortunately for Paul the scores stood at 870 to 460 at the shoot-out stage and even if he had sunk the red he’d have only managed to reach 860.

Scott in action as Paul looks on

The third/fourth place play-off match saw Donkey Gringo take on The Johnson. Paul did manage to score 200 with his last shot, but it wasn’t enough to win and the game ended with a score-line of 710 to 520 in Scott’s favour.

Chris takes on a sudden-death shoot-out shot

Paul 'Johnson Paul Johnson' Johnson takes on a sudden-death shoot-out shot

The final match was a battle between me and Chris and saw me receive a new Bar Billiards nickname – The Black Peg – due to my innate ability to wipe out a half-decent break by knocking over the dreaded black peg. The final was won by Chris 840 to 700 to make him the side-tourney champion of Worthing.

The evening also saw the official handing over of the Midlands Minigolf ClubCaptain’s armband to Paul ‘The Overtaker’ Johnson who takes charge of the MMGC from departing Captain Chris ‘Who’ Harding, who has led the team for a number of years and captained the MMGC to national tournament victory in the 2008 BMGA British Club Championships in Stratford-upon-Avon.

The Captaincy Handover for the Midlands Minigolf Club

A shell-shocked Paul 'The Capitan' Johnson with his new MMGC Captain's armband

Following the Singles contest a Doubles match saw me and Scott reprise our team from last year's BMGA British Doubles Championships as ‘Team Sqonkey’ to face-off against Paul and Chris, who were known as ‘The Capitans’.

With Scott carrying our team we picked up the win 560 to nil after The Capitans had wiped-out a score of 350 in the sudden-death shoot-out at the 200-hole. In this match we had decided that each team had to go for the 200-hole on the final shot.

I play a shot

The Swan Inn was a nice spot to spend a Saturday night and there was a DJ and Disco going on, which provided a nice soundtrack to the competition. It’s also the first time I’ve played a game (of Bar Billiards, or anything) to the song “Nellie the Elephant”!!!


Thursday, April 26, 2012

It's all kicking off in Brighton & Worthing!

- Viz Comic
- Viz Comic on Twitter
- Link to Viz "**** me, it's all kicking off in..." posts

Two and a Half Wacky Waving Arm-Flailing Inflatable Tube-Men

Wacky Waving Arm-Flailing Inflatable Tube-Men spotted in Bangkok (and Worcester).

It’s been quite a while since I’ve seen any Wacky Waving Arm-Flailing Inflatable Tube-Men on my travels. However, Emily being the world traveller that she is, has spotted two (and a half’ish) of them over in Bangkok, Thailand.

The first ones, that aren’t really the fun type of Airdancers made ‘famous’ by Al Harrington, were spotted outside the Times Square shopping plaza on Sukhumvit Road in Bangkok.

A pair of Airdancers at Times Square in Bangkok, Thailand
A pair of Airdancers at Times Square in Bangkok, Thailand

A close-up of the two Airdancers at Times Square in Bangkok, Thailand
A close-up of the two Airdancers at Times Square in Bangkok, Thailand

The second lot were ‘real’ Wacky Waving Arm-Flailing Inflatable Tube-Men and Emily spotted them attacking passers-by as she travelled in a taxi in Bangkok! I'm not sure what they were advertising though.

Wacky Waving Arm-Flailing Inflatable Tube-Men
Wacky Waving Arm-Flailing Inflatable Tube-Men spotted in Bangkok, Thailand

Last week I re-visited Guildford, Surrey but didn’t spot a Wacky Waving Arm-Flailing Inflatable Tube-Man like I did on my first visit to the town.

Wacky Waving Arm-Flailing Inflatable Tube-Men at Worcester Warriors Rugby Club
Wacky Waving Arm-Flailing Inflatable Tube-Men at Worcester Warriors Rugby Club spotted by Marc 'The Roller' Bazeley

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Video of the 2012 BMGA British Masters in Worthing

Film of BMGA tournament at Splash Point Mini Golf in Worthing.

Last Sunday's BMGA British Masters competition was filmed by the team at 2 Dog Imaging. The great video can be seen below. Watch for me making a nice shot from 1m 20s onwards, it's a shame it was only a recovery shot for a score of 4 on the very tough 16th hole!


Related Blog Posts:

Meeting Worthing's Mr Seafood

A visit to the new seafood stall on Worthing’s seafront.

One of the great things about me and Emily’s travels around the UK’s seasides is that we get to buy some lovely seafood. We’re very often in Hastings, East Sussex for minigolf competitions and we always make sure to visit The Net Shop Jellied Eel Bar on Rock-A-Nore Road for the excellent Oysters they serve there.

Seafood Worthing
Mr Seafood's stall next to Worthing Pier

Mr. Seafood was a very nice chap and has a good selection of seafood on offer, including Oysters, Prawns, Crayfish Tails and more. He’s also on Twitter (@_mrseafood) and has posted some humorous updates including this one that made me chuckle.

We’ve visited 170 seaside resorts and towns to date, but not nearly enough of them have seafood stalls like Worthing and Hastings. We have had great seafood at Osborne Brothers in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, and its neighbouring town Southend-on-Sea has some good seafood stalls too.

Oddly, the other place we’ve always found to have great seafood is in Las Vegas where we’ve eaten excellent Oysters at Big Al's Oyster Bar at The Orleans Hotel & Casino and the Penazzi Oyster Bar in Harrah’s Hotel & Casino.

Related Blog Post:

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Worthing's Splash Point Mini Golf Course Becomes a Temporary Seagull-Free Zone!

Seagulls at Splash Point Mini Golf in Worthing and on Twitter, but not at the BMGA British Masters

Prior to the 2012 BMGA British Masters miniature golf tournament in Worthing on Sunday there had been some chat and worry on twitter about whether the Seagulls of the town (and its neighbouring town of Lancing) would be attacking the players of the British Minigolf Association Tour and the prized champion's jacket!

Worthing Minigolf
Richard Gottfried on the Seagull-free Splash Point Mini Golf course first thing on Saturday morning

Some Twitter chatter on the 14th and 16th of April had led to concerns that players competing in the BMGA British Masters could be divebombed off of Seagulls in the area!

A very active Seagull on Twitter is @Top_Gull. In fact he claims to be "Lancing, Worthing & Brighton's Premier Seagull"!

Worthing Minigolf
Some of Top Gull's friends gather on the perimeter of the Splash Point Mini Golf course during the practice day

Through the Splash Point Mini Golf course Twitter account (@Worthing_Golf) a request for @Top_Gull to not poop on the players as they played in Sunday’s tournament, or on the coveted BMGA British Masters Jacket that was eventually won by Michael Smith, was put out.

Seagulls Worthing
A pair of Seagulls squabble over who gets to eat what I believe to be a toasted cheese sandwich!?

Luckily a ‘No Fly Zone’ was declared by Top Gull and his #gullmafia and the players and the tweed jacket all escaped attack which Splash Point Mini Golf very much appreciated.

Seagull Worthing Minigolf
Is this @Top_Gull at the Splash Point Mini Golf course on Saturday???

Seagulls Worthing
The Seagulls stayed away from Splash Point Mini Golf course on tournament Sunday and could be found on the beach instead!

Related Blog Posts:

Seagull Related Video:

- "Sullied Skeggs sees off seagulls to seal Minches win" - the blog post by Oliver 'The Machine' Florence

Monday, April 23, 2012

Minigolf Report - Richard Gottfried 16th at the BMGA British Masters at Splash Point Mini Golf, Worthing

23rd April 2012
Press Information
For Immediate Release

Minigolf Report – BMGA British Masters

Richard Gottfried 16th at the BMGA British Masters at Splash Point Mini Golf, Worthing

Luton Minigolfer Richard Gottfried competed in the first outdoor event of the 2012 British Minigolf Association Tour season as he finished 16th of 28 players in the BMGA British Masters tournament that took place at the Splash Point Mini Golf course in Worthing, West Sussex on Sunday 22nd April.

Richard Gottfried playing the 9th hole at the BMGA British Masters at the Splash Point Mini Golf course in Worthing - photo by Marion Homer of the KMGC
Richard Gottfried playing the 9th hole at the BMGA British Masters at the Splash Point Mini Golf course in Worthing
- photo by Marion Homer of the KMGC

The 2012 British Masters was Richard’s 76th official BMGA Tour competition appearance since he made his debut in the BMGA British Masters tournament in Southend-on-Sea in 2007 when he finished in 24th spot of 28 players. His three other previous results in the event have seen him finish in 22nd and 23rd places in 30 player fields and 9th in the 2011 event.

The tournament was won by Oxford’s Michael Smith with a score of 137(-7). Cambridge’s James Rutherford was runner-up after defeating Brighton’s Peter Emmerson at the fourth hole of a sudden-death play-off after both players had tied on 144(par).

Richard said “Worthing’s Splash Point Mini Golf is recognised as one of the toughest courses on the BMGA Tour, but it’s always a pleasure to visit. I had hoped to repeat my play from the 2010 British Matchplay Championships at the course with a good finish, but it wasn’t to be. I was pleased with my consistency though, with a difference of only two shots between my rounds I just seemed to have one bad hole per round.”


Games in Guildford, a visit to the Castle and seeing a Giant Beetle

Playing Bar Billiards, Table Tennis and a new version of Ping Pong in Guildford!

Following my quick stop off at Woking Park (via Shepperton) I recently visited Guildford, Surrey for an afternoon of sporting activity and games with fellow blogger and BMGA Tour rival Oliver ‘The Machine’ Florence.

Our planned day of fun & games in February had been thwarted by the snow, but with rain and “blusterous” conditions forecast for Wednesday the weather was not going to be as pleasant as on my last visit to the town back in September 2008. On that occasion I managed to play the Stoke Park Minigolf coursewas turned away from the Lido as it was not yet open for the season and saw a wacky waving inflatable arm-flailing tube man.

Before meeting up with Ollie I had a wander around the town and went to Guildford Museum, which is worth a visit. I spotted a few places that offered Gluten Free food too, the best named place was ‘Glutton & Glee’ - see photo.

Walking around Allen House Grounds I saw that they had a Jabberwocky Maze (it wasn’t difficult). Ollie later told me that the grounds are home to a Golf Putting Green course in the summer season and the websites for Allen House Grounds and Allen House Pavilion have more details on the course.

Allen House Gardens - home to a Jabberwocky Maze and a Minigolf Putting Green

Allen House Gardens - home to a Jabberwocky Maze and a Minigolf Putting Green
The Jabberwocky Maze

With Wednesday 18th April 2012 marking 100 days until the start of the London 2012 Olympic Games the date of 18/04/12 also marked an unspecified countdown until the ‘Guildford Games’ – a multi-sport event ‘planned’ to take place in the summer and consisting of the disciplines of Minigolf, Darts, Bar Billiards and ‘some sort of game involving the Castle’.

As part of the preparation for the Guildford Games, Ollie and I headed to the Royal Oak pub for a few games of Bar Billiards. The table is in a good position in the pub and was in very good condition indeed. Each of the tables I’ve played to date have had their own subtle differences and I really enjoyed playing the table at the Royal Oak – perhaps it was because the Mushroom didn’t wobble precariously at all on rebound shots at the 200-hole!

The Royal Oak Pub in Guildford has Free Bar Billiards on a Sunday
The Royal Oak Pub in Guildford has Free Bar Billiards on a Sunday

We decided to play a best-of-3 games match and in game one I defeated Ollie 1,300 to 480 after holing-out with a white ball to the 100-hole in the shootout.

Partway through the game the barman mentioned to us that we were playing the game incorrectly, as the Royal Oak Rules use a variation whereby the red ball is replaced on the spot and a white ball is used as the cue ball each time the red ball is potted. After a quick look online we found these ‘variant’ rules (amongst others) on the excellent Masters Traditional Games website.

Playing a shot on the Royal Oak's Bar Billiards table

Our second game saw us invoke the “R’oak Rules” and the game was a very close fought battle. The match once again went to a sudden-death shootout. Ollie managed to score 100 by potting the white ball with an 'in off' the Mushroom on the right of the table, but was still on the losing end of a 1,400 to 1,100 scoreline.

Ollie plays a shot on the Royal Oak's Bar Billiards table - note the use of 'Royal Oak Rules'

After play at the Royal Oak we headed to Guildford Castle for a look around. The Castle Grounds are home to a Bowls Club – perhaps Lawn Bowls will be an event in the Guildford Games too.

Guildford Castle
Guildford Castle

We then moved on to Stoke Park for a look at the Minigolf course and new Table Tennis table that has been installed. We found that ahead of the new summer season the 12-hole Stoke Park Minigolf course has had a lick of paint on the obstacles and also had a new ‘obstacle’ added in the shape of a Tractor!?

Minigolf in Guildford's Stoke Park
The new Tractor on the Stoke Park Swedish Felt Minigolf course

Despite my 'retirement' from competitive Table Tennis/Ping Pong/Wiff Waff/Pong I brought my Ping Pong bats and balls along to give the Stoke Park Table Tennis table a go.  After a knock-up our best-of-3 games Aqua Table Tennis match began and Ollie took a quick lead before winning the first game 9-6. After switching sides Ollie put his ‘local knowledge’ to good use and served to the puddle on my side of the table to pick up a 9-7 win and victory in the match. This was despite my best attempts to unnerve ‘The Machine' on the journey to Stoke Park!

The new Table Tennis table in Guildford's Stoke Park

Playing some Ping Pong at Stoke Park

The final game we played (and one that will be very unlikely to make an appearance in the Guildford Games) was 'Ping Pong Crazy Golf'. After several unsuccessful hole-in-one attempts on the Net hole and the Flat Loop (with scores ranging from 4 to 12!?) Ollie scored the only Ace of our ‘round’ on hole number four.

Ping Pong Crazy Golf at Stoke Park, Guildford
Ollie lines up a shot for a hole-in-one in the new game of Ping Pong Crazy Golf

Ping Pong Crazy Golf
Playing some Ping Pong Crazy Golf on Stoke Park's Minigolf course

We then went for a wander to Guildford Lido to see if we could see the Minigolf course in there. We could, but couldn’t play it as the Lido is only open from May. A swimming event is a possible inclusion in the competition calendar for the Guildford Games too!

The Guildford Lido was closed on this visit - so the Minigolf course remains unplayed by me

Instead of playing any Minigolf to finish out the afternoon's entertainment, Ollie pointed out the Giant Guildford Beetle that is amongst some trees beyond the Lido!!!

A gate that is lacking a fence. And a Gigantic Beetle beyond it!
A gate that is lacking a fence. And a Gigantic Beetle beyond it!

Getting scared off of a Giant Beetle in Guildford
Getting scared off of a Giant Beetle in Guildford

Commenting on the day’s sporting endeavours Ollie said "It was great to see Squire finally make a return to Guildford after the previously aborted attempts. We managed to fit quite a few sporting activities in to the day and it proved to be a good test for the up-and-coming Guildford Games. We are going to need to tweak a few of the rules ahead of the event though, particularly after Richard's run-in with the barman over the correct use of the red ball in bar billiards.

The Machine added "I was pleased that I managed to beat him at the new form of Ping Pong despite an extremely unsettling incident in the car on the way to the park. He took his defeat well though and I'm pleased he seemed genuinely delighted when I showed him a massive sculpture of a beetle."

Related Blog Posts on The Ham & Egger Files: