Friday, December 28, 2012

2012 - A Big Year of Sport

A jam-packed year of playing, spectating and organising sporting events!

2012 has been a very full year of sporting events large, small and everything in-between. As a player, spectator, visitor and organiser I have been involved in a lot of contests during 2012.

2012 has been a GIANT year of sport

Player/Competitor
Twelve British Minigolf Association Tour Events, winning a BMGA Tour title at the BMGA & Putterfingers Oswestry Games Championship
Luton Community Games – Petanque and Pitch & Putt
Twelve other Miniature Golf, Crazy Golf and Adventure Golf competitions including victory at the Crazy Golf with Bompas & Parr Championships at Selfridges London

Spectator/Visitor
London 2012 Olympic Games – Handball, Archery & BMX
London 2012 Paralympic Games – Wheelchair Fencing, Powerlifting & Boccia
PDC Ladbrokes.com World Darts Championship 2013
Olympic Torch Evening Celebration Event in Luton
Olympic Torch Relay Event in Luton
Olympex 2012 at the British Library
Jigfest

Organiser/Volunteer
Eight WMF & EMF International Minigolf Championship Events
Paralympic Flame Celebration Event in Luton – Paralympic Flame Assistant as part of Sport Makers


Related Blog Posts:

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Minigolf & Crazy Golf at Wigan's Haigh Country Park

Having a look at the Crazy Golf and Grass Putting Miniature Golf courses at Haigh Country Park in Wigan.

On a recent visit to Wigan, on a bitterly cold & snowy day, I checked out the Crazy Golf course that I had heard had been refurbished by the Friends of Haigh Country Park.

Nine of the 18-holes have been cleaned up and are open for play during school holidays and the team of volunteers behind the clean-up are looking to develop and renew the course over the coming months and years as it is a work in progress.

Minigolf & Crazy Golf at Wigan's Haigh Country Park

From my brief look at the course it appears to have a mixture of playing surfaces. Some of the holes and obstacles appear to be 'eternit' style Miniature Golf, while others are more unique felt on concrete holes.

Minigolf & Crazy Golf at Wigan's Haigh Country Park

Minigolf & Crazy Golf at Wigan's Haigh Country Park

Minigolf & Crazy Golf at Wigan's Haigh Country Park

Minigolf & Crazy Golf at Wigan's Haigh Country Park

The Play Haigh Golf Complex is home to a regular golf course and also a Putting Green called the 'Himalayas'!

Minigolf & Crazy Golf at Wigan's Haigh Country Park

The undulating Putting Green looked very good and it was a shame it wasn't warmer as I would have definitely given it a play.

Minigolf & Crazy Golf at Wigan's Haigh Country Park

I've played two other courses named 'The Himalayas' - one is in Melbourn, Cambridgeshire and replaced an old Crazy Golf course, the other is at St Andrews and was the world's first-ever Miniature Golf course!

The courses were the 521st and 522nd courses visited on the Crazy World of Minigolf Tour.

Links:
- Haigh Country Park
- Friends of Haigh Country Park
- Play Haigh Golf Complex

Related Blog Post:
- Crazy World of Minigolf Tour

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

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas!

All the best for the festive season and have a happy New Year in 2013.

Cheers,

Richard & Emily


Monday, December 24, 2012

Results from the Minigolfer’s Annual Christmas Darts ‘Do’ in London

Brad ‘The Fist’ Shepherd makes it four Christmas competition wins in-a-row!

Gravesend’s Brad ‘Norovirus’ Shepherd won the annual Christmas ‘Do’ for the fourth year in-a-row with victory in the “Riverclose Worlds UnProfessional Minigolfer's Darts Championship” held at Rileys Victoria in London on Sunday 23rd December 2012.
Brad Shepherd 'takes' the cup
The tournament saw eight dartists step up to the oche on the evening and after a quick warm-up and a few swift pints the format for the event was decided and the draw was made.

The eight players were drawn into two groups for a round-robin stage, with the group winners advancing to the semi-finals along with the two group stage runners-up. As the reigning Christmas Champion Brad was the seeded player in Group 2, with BMGA Darts Champion Alan ‘Stormin’ Norman drawn into Group 1.
The players inaction. Lots of mental arithmetic in full flow
Alan ‘Stormin’ Norman qualified as the top player in Group 1 after beating Jon ‘The Stance’ Angel in a play-off to decide the group winner after both players had won 2 and lost one game.

Richard ‘Squire’ Gottfried was the winner of Group 2 with three wins from his three matches. Brad ‘The Fist’ Shepherd was the group runner-up.
Steve 'What's the Skinny?' Gow draws quite a crowd
Results from Group 1 all matches one-leg 301-straight-in, double-out
Chris Jones beat Alan Norman
Jon Angel beat Steve Gow
Alan Norman beat Jon Angel
Steve Gow beat Chris Jones
Jon Angel beat Chris Jones
Steve Gow lost to Alan Norman

Rankings from Group 1
1. Alan Norman – won 2, lost 1 Q*
2. Jon Angel – won 2, lost 1 q
3. Chris Jones – won 1, lost 2
3. Steve Gow – won 1, lost 2
* Alan beat Jon in a play-off to determine who would qualify as the group winner to face the group runner-up from Group 2

Results from Group 2all matches one-leg 301-straight-in, double-out
Richard Gottfried beat Emily Gottfried
Seth Thomas lost to Brad Shepherd
Richard Gottfried beat Brad Shepherd
Emily Gottfried beat Seth Thomas
Seth Thomas lost to Richard Gottfried
Brad Shepherd beat Emily Gottfried

Rankings from Group 2
1. Richard Gottfried – won 3, lost 0 Q
2. Brad Shepherd – won 2, lost 1 q
3. Emily Gottfried – won 1, lost 2
4. Seth Thomas – won 0, lost 3 

The semi-finals saw Squire face The Stance in a 501 match, eventually finishing on double one. In the other match The Fist picked up the win against Stormin to advance to yet another Christmas Final. 

Semi-Finalsone-leg 501-straight-in, double-out
Richard Gottfried beat Jon Angel
Alan Norman lost to Brad Shepherd

Classification Matches for places 5-8all one-leg 301-straight-in, double-out
Steve ‘F1’ Gow lost to Emily ‘Ah Bristow’ Gottfried
Chris ‘Stretch’ Jones lost to Seth ‘Sethers’ Thomas
Emily ‘Lemony Lemster’ Gottfried lost to Seth ‘Wandsworth’ Thomas – Seth finished in 5th place to win ‘the shield’
Steve ‘Stevie Gow’ Gow beat Chris ‘Stretch’ Jones to finish in 7th place

Before the final Norman & Angel faced-off for the third time in the evening in a one-leg 501 game to decide who would take the last spot on the podium. The BMGA Darts Champion showed his class and took the win against Jon ‘Safe Darts’ Angel.

3rd/4th place play-off one-leg 501-straight-in, double-out
Alan Norman beat Jon Angel

The final match was played in a best of three-legs format on one of the ‘fancy’ boards with electronic scoring. The referee/scorer for the contest was Emily ‘Dagenham Dan’ Gottfried. The first leg was won by The Fist after innumerable chances were squandered by both players. The second leg was clinched by Squire to mild interest from the spectators.

With the crowd growing restless and eager to head off for a curry in Bayswater Brad nailed his finish to take the win and his fourth Christmas ‘Do’ title victory in four years! An amazing achievement indeed.

Finalbest of three-legs 301-straight-in, double-out
Brad Shepherd beat Richard Gottfried 2-1
The ever-popular Brad Shepherd receives congratulations from his fellow competitors
Ranking Table
1. Brad Shepherd
2. Richard Gottfried
3. Alan Norman
4. Jon Angel
5. Seth Thomas
6. Emily Gottfried
7. Steve Gow
8. Chris Jones

Following the main-event Alan ‘Stormin’ Norman organised a game of ‘Halve-It’ between the eight contestants. With three lives each the players attempted to best the previous player’s score, with any failure to exceed the target meaning a life was lost. Guess who won? Alan was the runner-up though.
Alan 'Halve-It' Norman and another player at the Darts Tournament 
Brad ‘Mr Christmas’ Shepherd picked up yet another victory on the night as he was on the winning team, along with Seth Thomas & Steve Gow in the three-a-side Table Football match.
The three-a-side Table Football match-up
Crazy Golfers Christmas Do/Shenanigans Hall of Fame
2012 – Brad ‘The Fist’ Shepherd – Riverclose Worlds UnProfessional Minigolfer's Darts Championship
2011 – Brad ‘The Fist’ Shepherd – Rivernear Worlds Professional Crazy Golfers Darts Championships
2010 – Brad ‘The Fist’ Shepherd – Christmas Minigolf 9-Hole Putting Green Sudden Death Challenge
2010 – Keith Kellard & Jon Angel (Team KJ Choice) – Sim BIG Golf Par-3's of the World Doubles Challenge
2009 – Brad ‘The Fist’ Shepherd – Christmas-themed Crazy Golf at Devonshire Square
Before Records Began – Lionel ‘The Spoon’ Bender – Crazy Golf Contest

The Christmas Club Committee will be convening in early 2013 to confirm the contest for next Christmas. If any readers know of Brad’s sporting weaknesses do let them know. Suggestions on a postcard...

Link:

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Friday, December 21, 2012

Adventure Golf, Crazy Golf and Minigolf in Manchester

Details of the Adventure Golf, Crazy Golf and Minigolf courses played in Manchester since April 2009.

On our Crazy World of Minigolf Tour Emily and I have visited a number of Miniature Golf courses in Manchester. The city has some great courses that are worth a look.

At the Championship Miniature Golf designed 9-hole course at the Trafford Golf Centre

Emily on one of the holes of the two course, 36-hole Paradise Island indoor Adventure Golf course at the Trafford Centre

On the last hole of the Wythenshawe Park Crazy Golf course

Putting at the launch event for Birdies Pop Up Golf

At the Chrizy Golf course

I've had some good fortune when competing in Minigolf tournaments in Manchester and have won the Miniature MastersMiniature Open and Chrizy Golf Masters there!

Related Blog Posts:
- Minigolf Course Visit No. 84 - Championship MiniatureGolf@ Playgolf Manchester

Today is Underdog Day

Celebrating being second best.

I heard in the latest newsletter of the Dull Men’s Club that today is “Underdog Day”.

Friday 21st December is the day to celebrate and honour unsung heroes, the second best among us and life’s runners-up. Not to forget those people that have made a name for themselves against the odds.

Check out the Dull Men's Club page for Underdog Day for more info and the origin of the word "underdog".

I'm a big fan of underdog's and always give them a cheer and my support. During the Olympic Games I met San Marino's Olympic Archer Emanuele Guidi in the Olympic Park, got his autograph and had a photo with him. I'd seen his match against Im Dong Hyun on TV earlier in the week and was cheering him on throughout. Unfortunately the 'wildcard' was eliminated from the competition but gave a good account of himself and had the crowd chanting for "San Marino" by the end of the match.

The moment that made the Olympic Games for me - meeting San Marino's top Archer Emanuele Guidi while walking through the Olympic Park!!!

Last night Emily and I attended the 2013 Ladbrokes PDC World Darts Championship at Alexandra Palace and amongst the first round proper matches, got to see a Preliminary Round clash between the USA's Paul Lim and Mohd Latif Sapup from Malaysia. Both were underdogs in the tournament, but Lim was the favourite with his history of being the first player to hit a 9-dart finish in a World Championship back in 1990. Mohd Latif Sapup aka 'The Jerker' was making his debut in a major darts tournament and was the 2000-1 rank outsider, so he's the man I had my money on. Unfortunately despite his best efforst he was on the losing end of a 4-1 result.

I also play two of the world's biggest underdog sports - Minigolf and Dodgeball. Both are great fun and easily accessible to play.

Also, have a look at the excellent Underdog Nation website for details of a number of interesting sports & games and the quest of Joshua Davis to be a sporting champion.

There is also an organisation called Underdog Portland, based in Portland, Oregon, that runs a number of sports leagues, including Mini-Golf and a Dodgeball.

Happy Underdog Day to Underdogs, Ham n’ Eggers, Jobbers, Palookas, Mr Nobodies, Wildcards, Average Joes & Journeymen everywhere and all the best to them in their attempts to score an upset victory!

Links:

Related Blog Posts:

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Indoor Minigolf at Magical Golf FX in Felixstowe

Results from our match at Felixstowe's Magical Golf FX indoor Miniature Golf course at Manning's Amusement Park.

Manning's Amusement Park in Felixstowe

On Friday 14th December Emily and I made another revisit to Felixstowe, Suffolk and had a game of the 13-hole indoor Adventure Golf course at Manning's Amusement Park.

Playing hole 4 of the Magical Golf FX course. Often a good chance  for a hole-in-one

The Magical Golf FX Minigolf course is located within the amusement arcade and is an interesting course to play, with a variety of themes and obstacles. It's always a tricky course to tackle too.

Emily with a choice of cups to putt into on the the revolving first green

In our match-up I defeated Emily with a score of 32 to her 44 over the 13-holes. Once again neither of us managed to win a free game on the 'lucky' 13th hole. My round of 32 was, as far as I can remember, my best round on the course in all the times we've played there. And we've played there a lot over the years! 

The uphill 5th hole caused some problems for Emily this time around, while I just missed out on a nice two

The course was the 5th we ever played when we first started out touring the UK's seasides. At that point we never thought we'd go on to visit over 500 courses on our Crazy World of Minigolf Tour!

The tricky 11th at Manning's. I managed to score a bit of a fluky ace on my go

Felixstowe Christmassy Tournament Results 2008 to 2012
- 14/12/2012 - Richard defeated Emily 32-44
- 11/12/2010 - Richard bested Emily 36-41 
- 13/12/2009 - Richard beat Emily 39-47 
- 13/12/2008 - Richard defeated Emily 35-39

Link:

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Monday, December 17, 2012

Gluten Free Pork Crackling!

Awfully Posh Snacks launch Gluten Free Pork Crackling! 

As a Coeliac of some five years I sometimes still hanker after items of food I used to be able to eat when I was ‘normal’. One of the snacks I’ve fancied having on more than one occasion is Pork Scratchings/Crackling. Not the healthiest of foods, but a very nice accompaniment to an alcoholic beverage (now normally Cider, unless I’m lucky to have found a Gluten Free beer, ale or lager).

When you’ve got Coeliac Disease a simple act such as buying a bag of crisps, a sandwich, or a chocolate bar is a pain. You either have to study the labels intently which is annoying and will always remind you of the fact you are a Coeliac, or you opt for the same old item of food – I like to have a variety.

So when I read an article in the Daily Mirror about the launch of Awfully Posh Pork Crackling and that it was also OK for Coeliacs I was especially pleased as it was a type of food I hadn’t eaten for over five years!

Via Twitter I found out that Awfully Posh Pork Crackling is available at branches of Waitrose and online at Waitrose and Amazon. Not having a Waitrose in Luton and no other need to travel to my nearest branches in Harpenden or Hitchin I had to wait until last weekend and a revisit to Ipswich where we’d heard that a new Waitrose store had opened.

The Awfully Posh Pork Crackling on the shelf in Waitrose

We had to hunt around a few different aisles and sections of the store, but eventually found the Awfully Posh Pork Crackling in the Free From section itself, rather than with other snacks. This is a good thing for Coeliacs/people on a Gluten Free diet, but it means that people looking for a Pork Crackling snack in the conventional snack section may miss out!

There are currently two flavours of the Awfully Posh Pork Crackling snacks available. One is Anglesey Sea Salt and the other is Scorchingly Hot Chilli. I bought both, but have so far only tried the Anglesey Sea Salt flavour. I bought two bags of the Anglesey Sea Salt flavour and have scoffed them both. The packs are crammed with Pork Crackling, are well priced and most importantly they are delicious.

Tentatively tucking into my first Pork Scratching in five years

The Awfully Posh Pork Crackling can also be found in Whole Foods Markets, Cook shops, Harrods and Harvey Nichols. Fingers crossed Awfully Posh Snacks will be stocked in pubs and bars in the future, I know I’d definitely scoff them if I saw them for sale alongside other pub staples such as crisps and nuts.

Related Blog Posts:
- Gluten Free & Coeliac related Blog Posts on The Ham & Egger Files
Links:

For more information about Coeliac Disease please visit the Coeliac UK website.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Save the Children UK's Christmas Jumper Day 2012

Will you be wearing a festive jumper for Christmas Jumper Day?

Tomorrow (Friday 14th December) marks the first-ever official Christmas Jumper Day and people all over the country will be dressing in (a sort of style) to support Save the Children UK's festive fundraising campaign.

You can donate to Save the Children online and do share photos of you wearing your Christmas Jumper on the Save the Children Facebook page.

You don't even need to splash out on a new Christmas Jumper - why not add a bit of tinsel and baubles to an existing one! There are some FAQs on the Save the Children website with more info.

I'll be wearing my 'lucky' Snowman Christmas Jumper on Friday :-)

Me and my Snowman Christmas Jumper

Links:
- Save the Children UK
#xmasjumperday hashtag on Twitter
- Christmas Jumper Day on Facebook

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Birdies Pop Up Golf Crazy Golf Photo Competition

Winning entry in the Birdies Pop Up Golf Crazy Golf Photo Competition.

Emily's photo of a 'spectator' at the 2012 Castle Golf World Crazy Golf Championship was selected as one of the winning entries in the recent Birdies Pop Up Golf Crazy Golf photo competition!

One of the spectators at the World Crazy Golf Championship! Photo by: Emily Gottfried
The prize for the best photo was a Birdies Pop Up Golf t-shirt. Although it's a bit cold to be wearing them now (unless playing Minigolf indoors)!

A pair of Birdies Pop Up Golf t-shirts
Birdies Pop Up Golf launched a year ago today and Emily and I attended the launch event in Manchester. You can check out the report from the launch here. For more information on Birdies Pop Up Golf please visit their website here.

Playing Hole 3 of the Birdies Pop Up Minigolf Course Layout at the Launch Event last year

Related Blog Posts:

Links:

A blog post for 12/12/12

Here's a blog post for no other reason than the next repeating date won't be until 01/01/01 (I wasn't blogging at the last 01/01/01 and it's doubtful I'll be around in the next century).

Saying that I never blogged for 11/11/11, 10/10/10, 09/09/09, 08/08/08 or 07/07/07. 

I suppose the next one is actually going to be on the 2nd of February 2022 if you think about it! Depends if you leave the zeros in. Then there will be a 3/3/33, 4/4/44 etc. etc. etc.

Oh well.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Winning the Chrizy Golf Masters Minigolf Tournament!

Playing the Chrizy Golf Christmas-themed Crazy Golf course in Manchester. The course was the 313th played on the Crazy World of Minigolf Tour.
 
On Friday 30th November 2012 my fellow Minigolfer John ‘Big Al’ Moore and I headed up (or in his case down) to Manchester and the 9-hole “Chrizy Golf” Crazy Golf course that is set-up in Manchester’s Piccadilly Place until Christmas Eve!
Christmas + Crazy Golf = Chrizy Golf
I’d found out about the course via a blog post by the team at Putterfingers and as the 9-hole festive-themed course is only in place for six weeks I was really keen to get to see and play it before it was gone. And when we heard there was a Crazy Golf competition lined-up we arranged our trip.
The view of the Chrizy Golf course (and a tram) from the bridge opposite Piccadilly Place
The course is only open from private bookings made in advance so John and I were unable to have any friendly fun rounds before the Chrizy Golf Masters Championship teed-off! We did however ‘warm-up’ with some cold drinks in the bar area and had a look around the course. It looks great and each of the 9-holes is well made with most of them having a couple of different routes to the hole/ace lines.
The 313th course visited and played on the Crazy World of Minigolf Tour!
The Chrizy Golf competition teed-off and John and I found ourselves in a right battle with me scoring a run of twos and John slightly up and down, carding a four and an ace along with a pair of twos in the first four holes.
John 'YI' Moore fires a shot on the 7th hole
Another four was to follow for John, along with a bogey three, but he finished with flair, scoring a great hole-in-one on the 9th hole to record a Chrizy Golf Masters score of 21(+3). I carded two threes and no aces for a round of 20(+2) which was enough to win the event and take the title of Chrizy Golf Champion along with the tournament trophy! Proving that wearing a festive jumper was a lucky and wise move*.
Relaxing by the 'fire' on hole 9 following my victory in the Chrizy Golf Masters minigolf competition
Following the competition we were able to have some more rounds and in the closely fought contests we each recorded scores of 22(+4) in game one. John then defeated me 25-26 in game two. We then played an 18-hole Matchplay Chrizy Golf game which saw John lead all the way until I won on the second hole of the sudden-death play-off!
The longest hole on the course!
If you’re a fan of Crazy Golf and/or Christmas the Chrizy Golf course is well worth a look.
The Christmas Crazy Golf Champion!
 
 
*Note: While it was “wise and lucky” and looked good to wear a festive jumper for a Christmas-themed Crazy Golf tournament, being the only person wearing one in a very busy Wetherspoon pub in Manchester City Centre on a Friday night was not lol.

Monday, December 03, 2012

I’m a Genius Gluten Free ‘Christmas Hero’!

Appearing on the Genius Gluten Free Advent Calendar!
 
I was nominated by a few people as a Christmas Hero as part of Genius Gluten Free’s ‘Christmas Hero Advent Calendar’ promotion and I appear behind today’s door (3rd December)!
What a lovely surprise it was this morning to see a tweet from the team at Genius Foods telling me I was picked as a winner.
 
You can see my nomination and photo at “Christmas Hero - 3rd December”
 
I’m looking forward to receiving the Genius Gluten Free Mince Pies and other goodies!
 
Merry Christmas :-)
 
 

Sunday, December 02, 2012

The World Series of Pong Slam Jam 2012 at Bounce London this Saturday

The World Series of Pong Slam Jam 2012 will be taking place at Bounce - the new Ping Pong and Cocktail Club - in Holborn, London on Saurday 8th December 2012.
 
Presented and hosted by the team at The Social Athletics Club, the 2012 edition of the event is a follow-up to the hugely successfully 2010 tournament - an event that I competed in alongside Brad 'the Fist' Shepherd and saw us ranked as the '50th best Pong team in the world'!
 
The World Series of Pong Slam Jam is running from midday until 7pm and will feature a doubles tournament, team event and a round-the-table competition for charity. You can find out all the details at the World Series of Pong Slam Jam Facebook Event Page.
 
Unfortunately Brad has since retired and I can't make the 2012 event, but if you're interested you can sign-up for tickets to compete (or spectate) at the World Series of Pong Eventbrite page.
 
Good luck to everyone competing in the event!

A Wacky Waving Inflatable Arm Flailing Tube Man in Stretford

Another Wacky Waving Inflatable Arm Flailing Tube Man added to my ‘collection’ in Manchester!
 
While in Manchester to play the Chrizy Golf course and various other shenanigans at the weekend I was driving from Old Trafford to the Trafford Centre via Stretford in Manchester when I spotted a Wacky Waving Inflatable Arm Flailing Tube Man outside Gleave Tool Centre on Chester Road!
Me and the Wacky Waving Inflatable Arm Flailing Tube Man at Gleave Tool Centre in Stretford
Wacky Waving Arm-Flailing Inflatable Tube-men (or Airdancers to give them their technical name) are often used to help businesses in their advertising (as well as a few other things if you believe Family Guy's Al Harrington).
The Wacky Waving Inflatable Arm Flailing Tube Man at Gleave Tool Centre in Stretford, Manchester
Once again the Wacky Waving Inflatable Arm Flailing Tube Man did its job in raising awareness of Gleave Tool Centre (founded in 1833 when it traded as "Wooden Plane Manufacturers and Dealers of Tools and Sheffield Cutlery"!).