Saturday, March 23, 2013

Championship Adventure Golf in New Brighton

Brand new Championship Adventure Golf course heading to New Brighton seafront.

The Wirral seaside resort of New Brighton will see a new 18-hole Mini Golf course opening in a few weeks time!

The course is due to open in Kings Parade Gardens on the 11th of April 2013 and will feature miniature versions of famous holes from the 'regular' version of the sport.

Nick Ashfield from Championship Miniature Golf is the man behind the course and has a pedigree in course design and building having put together the 9-hole Championship Miniature Golf that was, until recently, in Manchester. The course was the venue for the 2009 Mini Masters and Mini Open tournaments in which I was victorious in! Note: Emily was runner-up in the Mini Open and Nick was fifth.

The new Adventure Golf course replaces the old 18-hole Crazy Golf course that had fallen into a quite poor state. On our visit in March 2011 we were unable to play the course as part of our Crazy World of Minigolf Tour as we were there too early for the summer season.

Crazy Golf in New Brighton
The old Crazy Golf course on Kings Parade in New Brighton in March 2011

For all of the latest news, photos and details of upcoming events at the course make sure to follow Adventure Golf New Brighton on Twitter @playminigolf

Emily and I are looking forward to playing the course and competing in future competitions on the Wirral Peninsula's latest attraction!

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KMGC Greatest Hits: Volume One CD

While 'enjoying' a spring clean and general de-cluttering earlier today I found a rare Minigolf artifact in the form of a KMGC Greatest Hits: Volume One CD!



I believe I picked up the CD by the Kent Minigolf Club - at a Kent Open competition while at Strokes Adventure Golf in Margate in 2008 or 2009.

The club has other Minigolf merch available in the form of tournament balls from 2011 and 2012. I've also got a KMGC Calendar from 2008 somewhere!

Link:

Friday, March 22, 2013

Seaside Polaroids book

Attending the launch of the book 'Seaside Polaroids' by Jon Nicholson.

Emily and I recently attended the launch event for a great new book with a subject that greatly interested us. The photo book is called Seaside Polaroids and is by renowned photographer Jon Nicholson.

The event, held at the City office of travel agents Abercrombie & Kent, gave us a chance to look at prints of some of the photos from the book and chat to Jon himself.

During Jon’s journey around the coast with an old Polaroid camera he visited 22 English seaside resorts looking for subject matter for the photos, among the images are piers, amusements, fun fairs, beaches and shops.

Ahead of seeing the book for the first time I was interested and excited to see if Jon had managed to capture and include any of the country’s many seaside Crazy, Mini or Adventure Golf courses. Happily he has and it’s one that had me and Emily guessing as to its location when we saw it reproduced on one of the prints placed around the Abercrombie & Kent venue. Chatting to Jon we found that the course was in Exmouth – in the one part of the country we are yet to thoroughly explore! The course appears in a couple of photos in the book and as a whole if you’re a fan of the seaside then do pick up a copy.

Seaside Polaroids by Jon Nicholson and some seaside rock from publisher's Prestel

The photo adorning the cover of the book is of the pier and a beach full of seagulls (is one of them Top Gull?) in Worthing, West Sussex.

Since making a resolution in 2006 to visit as many of the UK’s seasides as possible Emily and I have so far made it to 175 resorts and coastal towns. The latest being Burnham-on-Sea, Brean and Berrow while on a trip to the Weston-Super-Mare area.

We’ve also got caught up in the spirit of that ever-so-British past-time of Miniature Golf and gone on to play 112 courses at the seaside (and visit 523 courses overall around the UK and a few overseas).

While beside the seaside we’ve also promenaded on 46 Piers in the country and spent countless pounds in the numerous amusement arcades dotted around the coast. We’re looking forward to many more days out and holidays at the great British seaside, and while we’re not there Jon’s book makes for a great look while sat at home in ‘sunny’ Luton.

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Sunday, March 17, 2013

Jurassic Golf course heading to Milton Keynes!

A new Jurassic Golf course is heading to thecentre:mk shopping centre for summer 2013!

Emily and I went shopping at thecentre:mk today and were NOT expecting to do, or see anything related to Minigolf. However, as is so often the case, my 'minigolf radar' spotted a sign (and dinosaur) advertising a coming attraction at the shopping mall!


From the 28th of March until the 22nd September Queens Court at thecentre:mk will be home to a Jurassic Golf Adventure Golf course!


We're looking forward to revisiting the shopping centre and giving the Minigolf course a play when it's set-up. Looking on thecentre:mk website it give further details about the course. It'll be a 12-hole Adventure Golf course with twelve dinosaurs and a range of other obstacles. For more information and price details check out the Jurassic Golf web page. The business behind the course also has its own website (and intro video).

Back in July 2011 we visited and played the 9-hole Crazy Golf course that was set-up at thecentre:mk for the summer season.

Milton Keynes is home to four permanent Miniature Golf courses. On our Crazy World of Minigolf Tour we've played two of them - the 9-hole Adventure Golf at Willen Lake and the 18-hole Adventure Golf course at Abbey Hill Golf Club. The two we haven't played (yet) are at Gulliver's Land theme park and Cosgrove Caravan Park.

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A trip to High Wycombe

A visit to High Wycombe’s two Chair Museums.

Q. How interesting can furniture be?

A. Very


Ahead of visiting a friend’s housewarming party in High Wycombe I asked her what else was interesting, or a ‘must see’ when in the town. She said that amongst the good shopping on offer and nice walks (if the weather is nice) that there is a Chair Museum. She said that the Buckinghamshire town is famous for its chair making, much like Luton is renowned for its hat making tradition.

Checking online for details of the museums and also on twitter to see if they had a presence I also found out a number of other people talking about the High Wycombe Chair Museums, most notably via the Crap Towns* twitter feed (linking from a blog post), and the book’s author Sam Jordison who was keen to hear all about it.

So here goes...

Driving into the town on the West Wycombe Road the Brown Tourist Sign for the Chair Making Museum was nice and prominent, so as soon as we had parked up we knew exactly where to head to. The Chair Making Museum actually had seven Brown Signs that we could see (including one right outside!), Amanda at the Follow the Brown Signs website would be in her element.


On our arrival we spotted another brown sign advertising the museum and a nicely crafted door. 


On entering the showroom for Stewart Linford Furniture Maker and museum upstairs we were welcomed by the ‘curator’ Tom who was intrigued by our story of how we had found out about the museum. 

He let us know that if we wanted the full tour of the Chair Making Workshop it would be £6 each, but he was happy to give us some background information about Chair Making and also a variety of chairs in the showroom – including the Winston Churchill chair (with secret compartment) and a one-of-a-kind anthropomorphic rocking chair! 

Photo of Richard Gottfried sitting in the Winston Churchill Chair at the High Wycombe Chair Making Museum
The most comfortable chair I've ever sat in

We also found out why chairs have an H-frame and why a top hat should be kept top-side down. Intriguing stuff.

The Chair Making Museum is open seven days a week and we were advised to book ahead and perhaps visit on a weekday to get the full experience.

Ironically in the road right next door to the museum was an old chair, upturned and used to block a drain!?


After a break wandering around the town we headed to the town’s main museum. This is in Castle Hill House on Priory Avenue and very close to the town’s railway station. 

The museum had some fascinating exhibits about the chair making industry, the people involved in it and the town itself. 


There was also an excellent sporting exhibit (running until the 8th of September 2013) on the town’s football team – Wycombe Wanderers (aka Chair Boys) - to celebrate its 125th anniversary. Fellow Minigolfer, Bar Billiardist and Skittler Marc ‘The Roller’ Bazeley was also due in the town to report on the Wycombe Wanderers F.C. versus Northampton Town F.C. but the game was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.

Amongst the displays, information and trophy cabinets there were interactive elements, including a table football game (Emily beat me in the best of 3-points game and I won 3-2 overall) and a penalty shootout game which I won 2-nil, although Emily made the save of the match by using her face!

The High Wycombe Museum and Gardens are well worth a visit if you’re in the town, it really was a very well maintained and interesting set-up and gave me some good inspiration for the Crazy Golf Museum.


We had a great day out in High Wycombe and there was plenty to see and do, though no Coeliac-friendly places to dine out gluten and wheat free (a real shame). We’ll be heading back again to visit the Hell Fire Caves which we spotted advertised on a Brown Tourist Sign on the drive in.

Links:

* My home town of Luton, Bedfordshire won the title of ‘Crap Town’ in 2004 (beating the likes of Windsor and Sunderland and 47 other UK towns) and I recently found out that in winning the ‘honour’ the town was NOT bestowed with a plaque or trophy of some sort! Hopefully the next winner, wherever it may be is given something tangible to mark the distinction.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Minigolf and Crazy Golf courses in Dorset

Details of the Adventure Golf, Crazy Golf, Minigolf and Golf Putting Green courses we've played in Dorset since October 2008.

On our Crazy World of Minigolf Tour travels Emily and I have visited over 500 courses to date. The furthest along the south coast of England we've managed to reach so far is the county of Dorset, where we've played a variety of Miniature Golf courses.

The first course I visited in the county (and 76th overall) was the 18-hole Pirate Adventure Mini Golf course in Weymouth. Situated at the town's Sea Life Centre at Lodmoor Country Park, the course hosted the first-ever Weymouth Open Minigolf tournament in October 2008, a contest I won!

2008 Weymouth Open Minigolf champion

We revisited the town for further editions of the event, when I finished as the runner-up in 2009 & 2011, and seventh in 2010. Alongside Chris Harding I won the Weymouth Open Team Tournament in 2011.

2011 Weymouth Open Team Champions

The next visit to Dorset came in June 2009 when the 106th course played was the 18-hole Crazy Golf course in Sandbanks. We were in the area for the British Minigolf Association's British Doubles Championship event at the Boscombe Chine Gardens Minigolf course and took the opportunity explore the courses down there.

Me and my Minigolf Doubles Partner Kevin Moseley at Boscombe Chine Gardens Minigolf course

In total we've visited fifteen courses in Dorset and played eleven of them. Check out the list below for links to blog posts about our visits.

Miniature Golf Courses Played in Dorset:
76 Weymouth (Sea Life Centre) - Adventure Golf



77 Weymouth (Bowleaze Cove) - Crazy Golf



106 Sandbanks - Crazy Golf


107 Bournemouth (Lower Gardens) - Minigolf



108 Boscombe (Chine Gardens) - Minigolf



109 Southbourne/Fisherman's Walk (Cafe Riva) - Crazy Golf - this course has been refurbished since our visit



110 Fordingbridge (Tudor Rose Inn) - Miniature Golf - Update: October 2012 - the beer garden has had a makeover and the course is no longer there


153 Poole (Poole Park) - Crazy Golf - Course removed and replaced in Summer 2010. See also 203
154 Poole (Poole Park) - Putting Green
203 Poole (Poole Park) - New 12-hole Crazy Golf - revisit in October 2011



204 Weymouth (Greenhill Gardens) - Putting



Unplayed Miniature Golf Course Visits in Dorset:
Weymouth - Putting Green - Now played, see #204
- Bournemouth (Near Lower Gardens) - Derelict course
Sandbanks - Putting Green
- Weymouth (Riviera Hotel) - Crazy Golf - Visited again in October 2010 - the Hotel and Course were derelict!
- Christchurch (Hoburne Holiday Park) - Crazy Golf

Note: The number next to the course denotes the 'visit number' on the Crazy World of Minigolf Tour. You can click through from the list above to the webpage on the Ham & Egger Files detailing our visit to the course.

Two of the most viewed videos on my YouTube Channel were filmed on Poole Park's old Crazy Golf course. Hole 9 used to be a Pinball layout and in the video I show you how the 'Pro's play it'...


If you've got a spare £375,000 knocking about the place you can currently purchase a house in Bournemouth that comes with its own Huxley Golf Putting Green!

The Southbourne Crazy Golf course had the strangest prices I've ever seen!

In 2013 the British Minigolf Association Tour will be returning to Dorset when the Boscombe Chine Minigolf course hosts the BMGA British Matchplay Championships and the Sandbanks Crazy Golf course hosts the Dorset Pro-Am Crazy Golf Championship.

Photo of the Midlands Minigolf Club at the 2009 BMGA British Club Championships at Sandbanks Crazy Golf course in Dorset
The Midlands Minigolf Club at the 2009 BMGA British Club Championships in Sandbanks

According to the excellent Miniature Golf course list at MiniatureGolfer.com there are also Minigolf / Crazy Golf courses in Bere Regis, Bridport, Charmouth, Rousden, Warmwell and Wimbourne. The journey continues...

Putting at the 'Flintstone's' Crazy Golf course at Bowleaze Cove, Weymouth

Links:

Monday, March 04, 2013

BMGA British Crazy Golf Open 2013 Videos

Videos from the British Minigolf Association's first-ever British Crazy Golf Open tournament played in Hastings on Sunday 3rd of March 2013.  

The final shots of the 2013 BMGA British Crazy Golf Open


The runner-up play-off at the BMGA British Crazy Golf Open 2013 - hole 1

The runner-up play-off at the BMGA British Crazy Golf Open 2013 - hole 2


The Category 1 Aces Prize Play-off at the 2013 BMGA British Crazy Golf Open in Hastings

The Category 3 Aces Prize Play-off at the 2013 BMGA British Crazy Golf Open in Hastings

Link:
- British Minigolf Association

A Minigolf Postcard Competition

Spot and name the Minigolfer in the background of this photo in Hastings.

Answers on a postcard please.

The winner gets a Minigolf postcard.

Hastings Minigolf
An old Minigolf course depicted on a 'modern' postcard on the site of a new Adventure Golf course where the old Minigolf course used to be

Minigolf Report – Gottfried’s compete in first-ever BMGA British Crazy Golf Open tournament in Hastings

4th March 2013
Press Information
For Immediate Release

Minigolf Report – Gottfried’s compete in first-ever BMGA British Crazy Golf Open tournament in Hastings

Luton Minigolfers Richard and Emily Gottfried played in the British Minigolf Association’s first outdoor event of the season on Sunday 3rd March as they teed-off in the inaugural BMGA British Crazy Golf Open competition played on the 18-hole Arnold Palmer Crazy Golf course in Hastings, East Sussex

In the three-round contest Richard finished in 11th place overall in the 35-player field and 7th in Category 1, with Emily in 20th place overall, and runner-up in the Category 3 event contested by 16 players. All players in the new tournament played two rounds of standard BMGA strokeplay Crazy Golf, before a final round took place with players using rules with all balls in play at the same time.
Photo of Luton Minigolfer Richard Gottfried in the BMGA British Crazy Golf Open in Hastings
Richard Gottfried playing the final hole of the BMGA British Crazy Golf Open

Richard said “It was certainly an interesting tournament with some surprise results. I’m annoyed with myself for a poor second round that put me out of contention. It’s now time to focus on the BMGA British Masters at Splash Point Mini Golf in April.”

Emily said “I was pleased with my performance in the first round, but my second round was terrible. I did make up ground in the Crazy-rules round, and was pleased to finish in 20th place overall and second in Category 3. Hastings was a great venue as usual, even if it was a bit chilly!”
Emily Gottfried, the BMGA British Crazy Golf Open Category 3 Runner-up
On Saturday 2nd March both Richard and Emily were in action in the first round of matches in the new BMGA Club League. Richard and the Midlands Minigolf Club lost to the London Minigolf Club by 2-holes in the team matchplay contest. Emily and her Cambridgeshire Mini Golf Club team-mates lost to the Kent Minigolf Club by 1-hole.


Ends

Friday, March 01, 2013

Rooftop Minigolf Courses in London!

Another Minigolf Wild Goose Chase...

I recently heard from two of my fellow intrepid Minigolf explorers Paul 'Johnson Paul Johnson' Johnson and Trevor 'Trevino' Robertson that there appears to be a Miniature Golf course set-up on a rooftop in London!
The photo of the 'Miniature Golf' course on the roof of the Tooley Street Building. Photo by Trevor Robertson (Feb 2013)
The building and "Minigolf / Crazy Golf / Putting / Adventure Golf course" in question was spotted from The Shard and looked to be located on Tooley Street, near to London Bridge Station/Tower Bridge.

I headed along to see what I could find out, but didn't manage to access the 'course'.
A photo of the Shard shrouded in fog. Viewed from Tooley Street
The Shard shrouded in fog. Viewed from Tooley Street
After asking around in some of the buildings and businesses on the street I was no closer to finding out if it was indeed a Minigolf course up there, what I did find out was that a Tesco Metro store occupied the ground floor unit, while it appeared that the roof and offices below it were part of PwC. More research was needed!
A view of the building on Tooley Street without a 'Minigolf' course on the roof
So yesterday I gave the building's owners - More London - a call and asked them if it was in fact a Miniature Golf course? Unfortunately the answer from the very helpful member of staff I spoke to was "no". In fact it's a 'green roof'. Still, from a distance it looks remarkable like a Mini Golf course!

In the 1920's there were over 150 rooftop Miniature Golf courses in New York City and in the 1930’s the roof at Selfridges London was home to one of the UK’s first Minigolf courses! In 2012 the department store set-up a Bompas & Parr Crazy Golf course on the rooftop garden as part of the Big British Bang event that lasted all summer. Emily and I visited and played the course in June when it became the 298th course played on our Crazy World of Minigolf Tour! We also played in three tournaments at the course and I won the Crazy Golf with Bompas & Parr Championship Final in August 2012.

In April 2011 I was 85 Years Too Late to Play a Rooftop Putting Green in London, when I visited Adelaide House, also near London Bridge, which had a rooftop putting green in the 1920's!

In October 2011 we also found out that there is a Mini Golf course on the Roof Terrace at The Portobello Gold Hotel. Unfortunately to play it you must be a Hotel Guest booked in that room!

Since July 2008 we've visited and played a number of Minigolf and Crazy Golf courses in and around London. We've also visited a fair few that we've been unable to play for one reason or another!

If you know of any good (or bad) Minigolf courses - on roofs or otherwise - do let me know via the comments on this post, or drop me an email here.

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