Saturday, July 27, 2013

Playing the new Barnard Castle Mini Golf course – A Journey Through Teesdale

Visiting the 532nd course on the Crazy World of Minigolf Tour.

The new Barnard Castle Mini Golf course

On Friday 19th of July Emily and I headed north to the town of Barnard Castle – home to a brand new UrbanCrazy Mini Golf course!

The 9-hole layout is a great design, with some excellent hole-in-one opportunities and very good fun to play.

Playing hole 7, my favourite

The course is located at Scar Top, Barnard Castle in County Durham and replaced the old course that had been in place since 1985. The course has been dedicated in memory of Alan Wilkinson who passed away earlier this year. He was a noted historian of the town and first introduced Minigolf to Scar Top. One of the stones laid at the course carries a dedication to him. A very nice touch.

The new course has been named “A Journey Through Teesdale” and each of the nine holes is themed on local landmarks or local places of interest, such as the nearby Bowes Museum and the castle itself.

Photos of the course (19th July 2013).

Hole 1 - River Tees

Hole 2 - Market Cross

Hole 3 - The Witham

Hole 4 - The Bowes Museum

Hole 5 - Hills & Dale

Hole 6 - Forces of Teesdale

Hole 6 - view of the green

Hole 7 - Egglestone Abbey

Hole 8 - County Bridge

Hole 8's bridge

Hole 9 - Barnard Castle

The course was the 532nd visited on the Crazy World of Minigolf Tour and the 319th played.

In our first round on the course I managed to beat Emily by one-shot 20 to 21. In our rematch in the afternoon I shot a 16 to Emily’s 18.

Emily playing the 6th hole

Along with fellow British Minigolf Association Tour members and Great Britain Minigolf Sport Team members we took on locals in challenge matches, did some coaching and also competed and coached in the first-ever ‘Inter-Mayoral Minigolf Challenge’ charity competition held to support Teesdale YMCA.

The Great Britain Minigolf Team members and the Mayor of Barnard Castle Councillor Frank Harrison

It’s a great layout and a great test of putting skill. A course record was set at 16(-2) by John Moore on the day, with the round equalled by me, Emily and Chris Harding throughout the day. If you play the course and do better do let me know by leaving a comment below.

Me playing the 3rd hole as John Moore looks on

Some videos of me playing the course:
- A hole-in-one on hole 7
- Playing hole 2
- Playing hole 3

Read all about the course’s design and build on the UrbanCrazy website and check out the Barnard Castle web page on the course.

Related blog posts:


Friday, July 26, 2013

An Advertising Airdancer Not Dancing in Boscombe

Another in the long line of sort of Wacky Waving Arm-Flailing Inflatable Tube-men to add to my 'collection'.

The latest in the long line of Airdancers spotted on my travels was advertising payday loans at the Cash Converters in Boscombe, Dorset. It was lurching a fair bit when we first spotted it.

The not so Wacky Waving Arm-Flailing Inflatable Tube-man in Boscombe

The following day it was a bit more upright, but needn't a bit more air.

A little more upright


Sunday, July 21, 2013

Minigolf Report – Gottfried’s Tee-Off at New Minigolf Course in Barnard Castle

21st July 2013
Press Information
For Immediate Release

Minigolf Report – Gottfried’s Tee-Off at New Minigolf Course in Barnard Castle

Richard Gottfried 3rd and Emily Gottfried 5th in UrbanCrazy Challenge tournament. 

Luton Minigolfers Richard and Emily Gottfried were in action at the launch of the new UrbanCrazy designed 9-hole Minigolf course at Scar Top, Barnard Castle in County Durham on Saturday 20th July.

In the two-round UrbanCrazy Barnard Castle Minigolf Challenge competition Richard and Emily competed against fellow Great Britain International Players and members of the British Minigolf Association. After 18-holes Richard finished in third place in the nine-player event on a total of 36(par). First-round leader Emily scored a 22 in round two to slip to tied fifth place alongside Jon Angel with the pair finishing on 38(+2).

Richard Gottfried playing hole 3 at Barnard Castle

Emily’s first round score of 16(-2) tied the course record set earlier in the day by Newcastle’s John Moore and Richard. Birmingham’s Chris Harding also managed to match the score of 16.

Richard said “We had a great day playing at the new Barnard Castle course and I was pleased to get the course record too. My third place in the UrbanCrazy challenge match was a nice end to a packed day of activities.”

Emily Gottfried playing hole 6 at Barnard Castle

Emily said “My first round was brilliant, and but for a small blip on the 8th hole I was on course to break the current course record. Unfortunately I couldn’t continue my performance into the second round, which was a shame. However I still greatly enjoyed the competition. The people of Barnard castle and all of the staff and representatives from UrbanCrazy were really supportive, and the course is set in a beautiful location, so I look forward to going back again.“

During the Minigolf course party launch the GB and BMGA players acted as coaches for members of the public and were each assigned to play in a group during the first-ever ‘Inter-Mayoral Minigolf Challenge’ competition held to support Teesdale YMCA. The contest saw ten Mayors and consorts from the local area compete in the charity event. Emily’s team was runner-up, while Richard’s team tied for third-place.


The Piece of Cheese Cottage in Hastings

While in Hastings old town recently I spotted a very eye-catching building - the Piece of Cheese Cottage!

The Piece of Cheese Cottage in Hastings

In all my many visits to the town for Crazy and Mini Golf tournaments I've never seen the place before. It's certainly very different.

One of the sides of the building - the only three-sided cottage in England - has a blue heritage plaque on it that makes an interesting claim!

The cottage was built for a £5 bet in 1871 and is the second smallest in the country. The Piece of Cheese Cottage is also available to stay in from only £55 per night! I may be making a booking soon as it's very close to the seafront and the town's Miniature Golf courses.


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Postcards of Luton – Yes they do exist!

While in Rome recently Emily was looking for a postcard to send home to me, but it wasn’t until she was on her journey to the airport to fly home that she managed to get one. As they were flying back into Luton a colleague of hers jokingly asked if the town had any postcards of its own, and was amazed when Emily said there was.

It’s true, you can get at least four designs that I know of in the town’s library and tourist information centre. Emily went so far as to buy one for her colleague to prove it.

This led to some Twitter chatter on the topic and I had to buy more of the postcards to prove they really existed. In fact I cleared out the supply in Luton’s central library – the librarian thought it was funny that someone actually wanted to buy the postcards (especially at 6.30pm on a Wednesday evening) as there’s not generally much call for them in the age of other quicker forms of communication. The views of the town centre on the cards aren’t the most modern either. It’s been many a year since Lunn Poly was on George Street!

If you’re a fan of Postcards then do check out the Reflections of a Bygone Age website and Picture Postcard Monthly!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Some photos of the Little Oasis Crazy Golf course in Margate, Kent

Photos of the Little Oasis Minigolf courses in Margate (June 2013).

My brother Christopher recently swung by Margate in Kent and managed to get three snaps of the Crazy Golf course at the ‘Little Oasis’ in the Cliftonville area for me.

It’s not looking in the best shape!

The Little Oasis has two 18-hole Arnold Palmer Crazy Golf courses. Emily and I have played both of them – numbers 37 and 215 on our Crazy World of Minigolf Tour. We last played there in April 2011 and the course we played was in a decent enough condition.

Unfortunately he didn’t have time to visit the excellent Strokes Adventure Golf course on Westbrook Promenade on his quick trip to Margate.

Related blog posts:

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Mini Golf by Simon Martin

New Minigolf book from photographer Simon Martin.

London, Kent & Brighton based photographer Simon Martin recently completed his latest project entitled 'Mini Golf'.

'Mini Golf' by Simon Martin - a great coffee table book

From late 2012 until May 2013 Simon travelled around the UK photographing a range of Mini, Crazy and Adventure Golf courses, as well as following the competition players on the British Minigolf Association Tour circuit to capture portraits of the players.

Simon Martin (l) presents Richard Gottfried with a copy of 'Mini Golf' at the 2013 WMF World Adventure Golf Masters tournament in Hastings

The book produced is a brilliant document of his travels to Minigolf 'hot spots' such as Brighton, Wroxham, Herne Bay, Blackpool, Great Yarmouth, Birmingham, Hemsby, Cheddar, Margate, Newport, East Finchley, Camden, Worthing, Sidcup, Canvey Island, The Mumbles, Arkley, Cwmbran, New Barnet and West Horndon. There are a couple of courses in the book that even Emily and I haven't yet visited on our Crazy World of Minigolf Tour!

The player portraits are a nice touch too - some of us stars of the BMGA Tour are actually quite photogenic!

For more information on the Mini Golf project and to view some of the book's images please check out the Simon Martin Photography website.


Related blog posts:

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Caricatures by Howard the Celeriac

Howard the Celeriac – star of the eponymously named coeliac disease inspired comic strip website – recently put out a call for more suggestions for the site and also for fellow ‘Celeriacs’ (and ‘Gluters’) to send in their photos to be turned into caricatures.

As a big fan and contributor to the site I sent in a photo of Emily and I at Strokes Adventure Golf course and he turned it into this!

Howard the Celeriac Caricature


Check out the Howard the Celeriac website where “All of your most painful gluten free moments pictorially represented for you in one place.”


Related Blog Posts:

White Rock Gardens Mini Golf Putting

While in Hastings, East Sussex for the WMF World Adventure Golf Masters last month we had a wander through White Rock Gardens (formerly home to a great 18-hole Minigolf course) and spotted on the window of the Bowls Reception that "Putting" is available!

It's £3 for adults and £2 for seniors and juniors.

We're not sure where it's played – perhaps it's on one of the unused bowls greens on a rotation...

Next to White Rock Gardens there is another Putting course – we’ve visited it, but not played it yet.

We've played Minigolf on some other bowls greens on our Crazy World of Minigolf Tour including a 9-hole layout at Victoria Park in Glasgow and a 9-hole course at Powderhall Bowling Green in Edinburgh.

Related blog posts:

Playing Jurassic Mini Golf at the thecentre:mk

Playing a new Minigolf course in Milton Keynes.

On the 9th of June Emily and I visited and played the 318th course on our Crazy World of Minigolf Tour.

The 12-hole Jurassic Golf course is located in Queen’s Court at thecentre:mk shopping centre in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire.

We first spotted the course would be open during the summer on a shopping trip to Milton Keynes in March.

The Jurassic Golf course opened on the 28th of March and will be at the centre:mk until the 22nd of September 2013 and is open seven days a week.

The course is an Eternit/MiniatureGolf style of course and had some very good dinosaur theming and looks very good.

Unfortunately the balls used on the course are soft foam balls and don’t really work on the Eternit style course as they are not heavy enough to play rebounds, hold their line or fend off even a mild breeze! I’d be very interested in giving the course a play using our specialist competition Minigolf balls on the course.

In our match-up I defeated Emily 32(+8) to 42(+18).

The course was nice and busy and is a real attraction in the middle of thecentre:mk. Check out the Jurassic Golf Mobile Golf Courses website for more info, opening times and prices.

The course was the 529th we've been to on our Crazy World of Minigolf Tour since September 2006!


Related Blog Posts:

Friday, July 12, 2013

Gluten Free in Bournemouth, Boscombe and Southbourne, Dorset

Dining out Gluten Free in three Dorset seasides.

Before we headed to Boscombe, Dorset for the 2013 BMGA British Matchplay Minigolf Championships and a mini-holiday Emily and I had a search to see what options we had for dining out Gluten Free.

The best place we found for Gluten Free options was the brilliant Gluten Free Vegetarian UK blog that had lots of reviews and suggestions for restaurants and takeaways in the Bournemouth, Boscombe and Southbourne area.

We duly made a list of all the places to try. On our promenading through the seaside town we spotted most of the places on our list. One of the restaurants we were most looking forward to visiting was Natural Bourne Grillers. The online menu had certainly whetted our appetites and it was the first place we dined on Thursday.

So good was the food and service that we also booked a table for Friday night!

Natural Bourne Grillers is a steakhouse & grill and all meals can be prepared gluten free! The chef told us that he has friends with coeliac disease so he makes a real effort to make sure the food at the restaurant is safe and tasty. It really was great and I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Enjoying the BIG burger at Natural Bourne Grillers

On both days I opted for the 10oz bacon cheeseburger! It was a big burger (two 5oz steak mince patties in a good gluten free bun with plenty of cheese and nice bacon) and came with hand cut fries and a great coleslaw. On the Saturday we also went for the BBQ chicken wings which were very good. 

We will definitely be heading back again. There are plenty of other items on the menu and they have a number of daily specials and offers during the week. There is also no corkage fee when you take your own alcohol which is great.

On Saturday evening we headed to Tomlin’s Fish & Chip shop and restaurant. Another gluten free chippy to add to our list.

Fish & Chips at Tomlin's

We stayed in the Balincourt Hotel in Bournemouth (great location for the Boscombe Chine Mini Golf course), which can cater for Coeliacs for breakfast (and evening meals if required). There were gluten free cereals available and the full English breakfast was a great way to start the day.

We also saw that The Crooked Book shop in Boscombe has some gluten free options, but didn’t eat there on this occasion.

We're looking forward to our return to the Dorset coast already!


Related blog posts:

Sainsbury’s Boredom Busters Getting People Garden Golfing

Supermarket encourages people to organise a game of garden golf this summer.

While down in Boscombe, Dorset for the BMGA British Matchplay Minigolf Championships I popped into the Sainsbury’s supermarket and spotted a sign from the new ‘Boredom Busters’ campaign encouraging you to ‘Organise a game of garden golf’ over the summer.

As a big fan of busting boredom I think it’s a great idea!

We now live in an apartment, but when we did have a garden I built a little garden golf course.

We also played some Crazy Golf with obstacles from a Crazy Golf Museum exhibit and I’ve also built a Minigolf course up on the roof of an apartment block as part of the Putter King Miniature Golf Scavenger Hunt.

I hope the Sainsbury’s Boredom Busters idea encourages more people to put(t) together some interesting garden Miniature Golf courses over the summer.

Related blog posts:


Monday, July 08, 2013

Emily Gottfried third in the BMGA British Matchplay Minigolf Championships in Boscombe

8th July 2013
Press Information
For Immediate Release

Emily Gottfried third in the BMGA British Matchplay Minigolf Championships in Boscombe

Luton Minigolfer Emily Gottfried finished in third place of 17-players in the British Minigolf Association’s British Matchplay Championships at the Boscombe Chine Gardens Mini Golf course in Dorset on Sunday 7th July, winning four of six matches in the national event.

Boscombe Chine Mini Golf
Emily Gottfried playing the 17th hole at Boscombe Chine Mini Golf

The 2013 competition was the sixth edition of the tournament, but Emily’s debut in the event and her first tournament played on the 18-hole Boscombe course.

The first stage was played in a round robin format. After a one-hole loss to London’s Gareth Holmes in the first match Emily rallied to win against London’s Alan Norman by one-hole before defeating Bexhill-on-Sea’s Alex Pragnell 3&2.

Qualifying as the group runner-up Emily was drawn to face Cambridge’s Tony Kelly in the quarter finals. Their match was tied after 18-holes and went to a sudden-death play-off that Emily won with a hole-in-one at the fourth extra-hole.

The semi-final draw saw Emily face BMGA British number one Michael Smith. Going two holes up on the front nine holes Emily eventually lost 2&1 after a fightback from the defending champion.

In the third/fourth place play-off Emily was matched against Kent’s Mark Wood. The match ended in victory for Emily with a 3&2 win.

Emily said "I am extremely pleased with my performance in the tournament. To finish in third place in my first British Matchplay tournament is better than I expected. The course has its tough holes, but I enjoyed it and feel I that played well all day, throughout the beautiful hot weather and did myself proud."