Saturday, April 30, 2016

Crazy Golf in Burray, Orkney

Brand new Crazy Golf course open in the Orkney Islands.

The UK's most northerly Crazy Golf course has opened on Burray, one of the Orkney islands. The course is the brainchild of the island community and has received some great coverage since it opened last weekend.

Crazy Golf in Burray, Orkney
A view of the most Northerly Crazy Golf course in the UK

Back in 2014 I was contacted by Dave and Pamela Woodcock from the island after they'd found my blog and it's been great to be able to give them help in getting the course built. From the photos they've sent over from the early days of building to the finished course it certainly looks unique, well constructed (one of the key factors with the 'inclement' weather conditions up there) and plays to the local heritage.

Crazy Golf in Burray, Orkney
Burray's Crazy Golf course

Each of the holes on the course was designed by local schoolchildren and Orkney-based architect Paul Green. There were over 100 designs submitted and the best of these made the cut to the final 12!

Crazy Golf in Burray, Orkney
It looks like a nice and unique miniature golf layout

Another nice touch is that each of the pupils at the Burray Primary School are being presented with a golf putter and ball to encourage them to use the new course.

Crazy Golf in Burray, Orkney
The Old Man of Hoy - hole 8 on the Burray Crazy Golf course

The island of Burray is home to around 400 people and the course is free to play (with a small hire charge if you need to borrow a putter and ball), with all ages welcome. There is talk of competitions and local matches amongst the islanders, as well as a challenge tournament versus the rest of the world!

Hole 8 - the Old Man of Hoy - under construction in August 2015

The scorecard at the course looks great too, with each hole themed and named after famous island landmarks.

Crazy Golf in Burray, Orkney
The UK's most Northerly Crazy Golf course has a very nice scorecard

The course is part of a community park development in Burray village and is open year round. The newly developed area has been funded by Orkney Islands Council, Sport Scotland Legacy 2014, Awards for All and Scottish Sea Farms, as well as additional fundraising and donations from the island community.

Crazy Golf in Burray, Orkney
How tricky does this hole look! We can't wait to see and play this finished version

We're looking forward to a game or two on the Burray course.

On our travels we've already played at the Easternmost courses in the British Isles (a Putting Green and Adventure Golf course in Lowestoft, Suffolk) and on the two highest courses - both on the Great Orme in Llandudno, Wales.

Related blog posts:
- Crazy World of Minigolf Tour
- Scotland

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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Crazy Golf on Grass at Marine Gardens in Worthing

Our friend and fellow minigolf aficionado Trevor 'Lord of Smeeth' Robertson recently sent us some photos of a new Crazy Golf course that has appeared at Marine Gardens in Worthing, West Sussex!

Crazy Golfing on grass in Worthing!

The Findon resident was on a trip to sunny Worthing and said that the new Miniature Golf course - combining Crazy Golf-style obstacles with a grass Putting surface - was located adjacent to the 18-hole Putting Green. That course became an unplayed one on our Crazy World of Minigolf Tour back in 2010 as we arrived just after it had closed for the day.

What a great obstacle this'd be at Halloween!

Trevor is always keen to play a round of minigofl, but found that the new course is for children only. He did find out that rather than a golf ball players use a tennis ball!

Seeing the photos reminded us of the Crazy Golf on grass course that used to be in Cliftonville near Margate, Kent.

Worthing is also home to an 18-hole Mini Golf course at the town's Denton Gardens. Well worth a visit and a game or two.

Link:
Marine Gardens Putting information on the Adur & Worthing Councils website

Related blog posts:
- Worthing
- Marine Gardens in Worthing - Crazy World of Minigolf Tour - Course Visit - Course Closed for the Day

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Saturday, April 23, 2016

Laser Planet laser tag in Milton Keynes

Over the years I've played a fair bit of laser tag and so, while on a trip to Milton Keynes today it was great to spot that a brand new lazer tag arena was opening!

Suiting up ready to battle the Reds alongside my Green team-mates

Having spent a few hours mallratting and playing some Pool at the Hollywood Bowl my friend Cat and I were wondering what to do next. I knew there was a laser tag in the town - a sport Cat had never played before! Me and my sporting rival Marc 'The Roller' Bazeley had played a game of laser tag in the town as part of an MK sporting challenge a few Christmases ago.

A quick online search came up with the result that the team behind Laser Planet in Watford was opening a new arena on Saturday 23rd April! What an unexpected bonus it was. I've been playing the game since I was a kid, and in recent years we've tried to play a bit around the country while on our Crazy Golf travels. But in all that time I've never played at a brand new arena on its opening day. Laser Planet was so new you could smell the fresh paint as you walked up the stairs!

We received a nice welcome and found that a game amongst the staff was about to begin. We could of had the arena to ourselves for a match (something that can be great fun as I've found in contests against veteran competitors like Marc and Emily) but on this occasion we opted for a three vs. three laser tag contest.

Before battle could commence we entered the briefing room - the most hi-tech I've seen to date - after which we suited up in our vests and laser guns and entered the arena. The entrance itself is really well done - I won't spoil the surprise though. Once inside the futuristic maze we headed to our base and waited for the siren to sound (I was part of the Green team, while Cat was in the Red squad).

The 20-minute match was brilliant. The game was marshalled to ensure the rules were adhered to - no running, no physical contact, no hitting other players with the actual laser gun etc. The man in orange certainly took a few errant laser shots from the players as he was wandering around the arena.

Laser Planet in Milton Keynes gets the thumbs-up from me. Great entertainment

Our match was very close - with only five points separating the teams - but the win went to the Greens. I was the second best player on our team (yee-haa), while Cat picked up the bronze medal in the runner-up Red team.

It took a bit of a search to find the entrance to Laser Planet, but we eventually found it having walked the wrong way around the Food Centre mall. Laser Planet is next door to the old Waitrose site with stairs leading up to the first-floor venue above the New Moon Chinese buffet restaurant.

I'll definitely return and Cat really enjoyed her first laser tag experience. I look forward to future battles between us!

In the Seemingly Everlasting Laser Tag War waged between the forces of the REDSBLUESGREENS, and YELLOWS players in our 'Laser Tag Rankings' have taken part in Laser Battles in 'laser-war-torn' places including Birmingham, Hemel Hempstead, Bristol, London, Peterborough, Crawley, New Brighton, Cannock, Whitstable, Skegness, Rayleigh and Milton Keynes.

Check out the Laser Planet Milton Keynes website for opening times and prices.

Links:
- Laser Planet Milton Keynes website
- Laser Planet Milton Keynes on Facebook

Related blog posts:
- Laser Tag
- Lazer Tag
Laser Tag Rankings

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Carhartt - still going strong

I was recently interviewed about my Crazy Golf travels and exploits by the fashion retailer Oi Polloi and off the back of that treated myself to a new sweatshirt from one of my favourite brands - Carhartt.

I've been a fan of Carhartt for years. Back in the 1990's I worked in a clothes shop called Sandman in my home town of Abingdon and I've still got (and still wear) one of the sweatshirts I bought there in 1999! It goes to show how top notch and hard wearing Carhartt stuff is. It certainly lives up to its brand promise.

Then and now

The service from Oi Polloi was excellent and the Holbrook Lightweight Sweatshirt arrived very quickly and in perfect condition. I'd shop with them again.

Crazy Golfing in Abingdon. The first course I ever played, and the 31st visited for Emily and I on our Crazy World of Minigolf Tour

Related blog posts:
- Oi Polloi Crazy Golf interview
- Shopping

Links:
- Carhartt website
- Oi Polloi website
- Oi Polloi blog interview: Richard Gottfried and the crazy world of crazy golf

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Clothes shopping in Hong Kong...

The advertising campaign for the 2014 Spring/Summer collection at this clothes shop in the Tsim Sha Tsui area of Kowloon, Hong Kong must've been a success as the poster is still up!

Emily spotted this brand name while on business in Kowloon - crazy!

Just recently we spotted a great window display of funny brand names from around the world at the Fleet Street Clinic in London. They don't always make the right impression when they travel to international markets!

Related blog posts:
- Funny sign
- Advertising
- Marketing
- Hong Kong
Funny brand names from around the world

Sunday, April 17, 2016

'Bangolf' minigolf course at the Hellasgården in Nacka, Sweden

I was very interested to receive some great photos from John Snelgrove who had spotted this Minigolf (Bangolf) course while in Sweden in January.

Hellasgården Bangolf. Photo by John Snelgrove (January 2016)

The Bangolf course is at the Hellasgården in Nacka, a large nature area 5km southeast of Stockholm city. John tells me the area also has a lake that you can skate on in the winter!

The Hellasgården Bangolf course under cover of snow. Photo by John Snelgrove (January 2016)

Looking online the course looks like it's of the 'Eternit' type, but with some modifications - not least the addition of felt to the playing surface. You can see some snaps of the course on the Hellasgården Facebook page here and here.

In 2011 Emily and I played for the GB team in the WMF Nations Cup international tournament in Stockholm. One of those courses was of a similar variety. The weather for that event was quite different to the conditions found on John's visit to Sweden though.

Emily in action on the 'Eternit' Miniature Golf course at the Tantogårdens Bangolf Klub in Tantolunden Park, Stockholm

Link:
- Hellasgården website - Minigolf

Related blog posts:
- Sweden
- Crazy World of Minigolf Tour
- Stockholm, Sweden (Tantogårdens BGK, Tantolunden Park) - Beton Minigolf
- Stockholm, Sweden (Tantogårdens BGK, Tantolunden Park) - Eternit Minigolf

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Funny brand names from around the world

A great window display of funny brand names from around the world.

The window display at the Fleet Street Clinic

While walking to Covent Garden on a day out to visit the Bond in Motion exhibition at the London Film Museum we spotted an excellent window display at the Fleet Street Clinic.

Some brand names travel better than others

One of the services offered by the private medical practice is a Travel Clinic - and they've certainly gone to town on the display showing a huge range of quirky and strange brand names on essential and interesting products from around the world.

I wouldn't fancy drinking a can of 'Sweat'!

While we were playing for the Great Britain Minigolf team in Sweden back in 2011 we spotted the Plopp and Kex brands. Eating Plopp was far more pleasant than the name suggests. The caramel version was delicious. The liquorice chocolate flavour was less tasty.

Would you snack on these chocs?

There's also a rather interestingly named brand of liquorice from Denmark that I've tried before! I'll leave you to look that one up...

Link:
- Fleet Street Clinic

Related blog posts:
- Marketing
- Advertising
- London

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Minigolf collectables from the Lost City Adventure Golf course in Nottingham

As my friends, family and regular readers of the blog will know, I'm a BIG fan of minigolf merchandise and ephemera.

The Lost City Adventure Golf course in Nottingham is a great place for minigolf ephemera

On our Crazy World of Minigolf Tour travels we've collected hundreds of scorecards, leaflets, postcards, pencils, balls, badges, t-shirts, tokens and whatnots.

The great branded scorecards and coasters at the Lost City Adventure Golf in Nottingham

A classic way to encourage repeat visits in the miniature golf business is to employ a 'Lucky Last Hole' where, as a bonus, you can try and win a free game - we've played a fair few on our travels, and won on some of them.

You're very likely to find a 'Top Hole' on an Arnold Palmer Putting Course and the Free Game Cards are great. They're well made and often draw on the history of the putting franchise.

In this day and age most courses that give out free games for Lucky Last Hole wins use a paper or card based 'token', and very few still give metal coins to winners.

Except for the Lost City Adventure Golf course in Nottingham. If you're skilled - and lucky - enough you might just win a piece of treasured Inca Gold!

The Lost City Adventure Golf's Temple Trail and Sacred Skull Pass courses were the 330th and 331st we played on the Crazy World of Minigolf Tour. The 36-hole indoor layout has two Lucky Last Holes - both are actually the 18th hole of the course, rather than standalone holes.

The lucky last hole on the Sacred Skull Trail

The 18th Top Hole on the Temple Trail course

When we've played as members of the general public we've not been able to master the lucky last holes at Nottingham, and when we've played there in national tour competitions we've only used one course and skipped the 18th, replaying the 1st hole instead. So unfortunately we've never won a free game there.

I did win a bronze medal at the Midlands Invitational Tournament at the course last year though

But the team at the Lost City were kind enough to send me a nice package that contained a branded pen and two magnificent tokens in a cardboard slip case. Fantastic additions to my collection.

Two pieces of prized Inca Gold from Nottingham

A nice Lost City branded pen

What's more, the Lost City Adventure Golf also has it's own handstamp applied to its mail! Absolutely brilliant to see. There aren't nearly enough minigolf stamps, postmarks or handstamps in circulation.


The Lost City Adventure Golf have really gone to town on their branding - on our travels to 675 courses it's the only place we've seen with an Adventure Golf table! Marvellous.

The theming in Nottingham is brilliant

Check out the Lost City Adventure Golf's website for more details, opening times and prices.

The Lost City Adventure Golf course is well worth a visit

Links:
- The Lost City Adventure Golf
- The Crazy Golf Museum

Related blog posts:
- Crazy World of Minigolf Tour
- Ephemera
- Merchandise
- Token
- Tokens
- The Lost City Adventure Golf at The Cornerhouse in Nottingham
- Revisiting The Lost City Adventure Golf course in Nottingham
- A gift from Paradise

Give the Crazy World of Minigolf Tour a Like on Facebook, watch our YouTube channel and follow us on Twitter @putting_gott and @Ems_Lems.

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Thursday, April 14, 2016

One month until National Miniature Golf Day 2016!

Will you be Putting on the BIG day in minigolf?

Every year there are two quasi-official days to celebrate the great game of miniature golf*.

The first is 'National Miniature Golf Day' and takes place on the second Saturday in May. This year it will be on Saturday 14th May.

Crazy Golfing on the Arnold Palmer Putting Course in Skegness on National Miniature Golf Day 2015

The second is 'Miniature Golf Day' and is always on the 21st of September, which falls on a Wednesday in 2016.

We were in Skegness, Lincolnshire for National Miniature Golf Day last year. It's a seaside resort that is home to 110 miniature golf holes spread over ten Crazy, Mini, Adventure, Putting and Pitch & Putt courses! The most of any town in the UK.

We held the National Miniature Golf Day Tournament 2015 on the two Arnold Palmer Crazy Golf courses on North Parade, Pebble Beach Adventure Golf at the Pleasure Beach, England's first-ever Crazy Golf course on South Parade and the Gold Mine Adventure Golf course at the Pleasure Beach.

Check out the blog post for photos and results of the event.

Related blog posts:
- Mini Golf dates for your 2016 diary
- National Miniature Golf Day Tournament 2015
- Crazy World of Minigolf Tour

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* or one of the myriad of other names for the past-time...

Monday, April 11, 2016

Happy Birthday Butlin's!

Today marks the 80th birthday of Butlin's Holiday Camps. On the 11th April 1936 Billy Butlin opened his first camp in Skegness, Lincolnshire - and the business is still going strong today.

I love the British seaside with all its quirks, eccentricity and traditional entertainment. I grew up on holidays at Butlin's holiday camps in Minehead, Bognor Regis and Ayr - and spent many summers in the 80's and 90's at the Barry Island Holiday Camp which used to be a Butlin's camp.

I spent many great holidays at Butlin's Minehead. It was nice finding these badges at Hitchin Market recently

In fact my parents met at a Butlin's! At the Clacton-on-Sea camp way back in 1975 and this year they are celebrating their ruby wedding anniversary.

It's probably in no small part because of our childhood stays at holiday camps - and all the fun they had to offer - that Emily and I have spent the last ten years travelling around the UK coast on our Crazy World of Minigolf Tour. We also visited Butlin's Minehead (formerly Somerwest World) on one of our first holidays together in 2004.

As well as being home to the first Butlin's holiday camp, Skegness is also the site of England's first Crazy Golf course.
It opened in 1926

Over the years we've built up a great collection of miniature golf postcards, and we always keep an eye out for Butlin's cards. They're such colourful and fun cards, and seeing the monorail at Minehead brings back so many happy memories.

Within our postcard collection we've got a great selection of old and new Butlin's postcards. The images on the classic John Hinde are fantastic and it's been great to receive cards from our family when they've been to the camps in recent years. The oldest Butlin's card we have was posted on the 4th June 1951. It shows the Putting Green at Butlin's Luxury Holiday Camp in Pwllheli, Wales

Look at the size of the golf ball on the tee at the Butlin's Putting Greens. The monorails were marvellous too

Last summer we visited Skegness, and while we've not been inside that camp (yet) our friend Peter Jones was coincidently there at the same time for a Five Star concert and managed to buy me a stack of great badges for my collection.

Good luck to Butlin's and all the best for the next 80 years...

Links:
- Butlin's
- Butlin's blog
- John Hinde postcards

Related blog posts:
- Crazy World of Minigolf Tour
Postcards

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Saturday, April 09, 2016

Crazy Golf at Pop's Meadow in Gorleston-on-Sea

A look at the Crazy Golf course at 'Pop's Meadow Putting Green' in Gorleston-on-Sea, Norfolk.

The rocket ship has received a paint job since our visit in 2010

Founding member of the Crazy World of Minigolf Tour Christopher Gottfried was recently passing through Gorleston-on-Sea in Norfolk and took a couple of snaps of the Crazy Golf course at the Gorleston Fun Park aka Pop's Meadow.

Sadly the course was closed on Christopher's visit

The 9-hole course was the 173rd we played on the Crazy World of Minigolf Tour in June 2010 - it had been the landmark 100th course visited back in May 2009.

How the course looked in 2009

How the area got its name

Emily playing the layout in 2010

Even with the addition of a variety of obstacles over the years - and the lack of felt/carpet - the course is still recognisable as an Arnold Palmer Putting Course. A cracking type of layout and well worth a play.

The course had a classic windmill obstacle on it when we played there in 2010

The Pop's Meadow course is one of many that Christopher has visited and found to be closed. Check out the links below for more details of the courses he and his wife Nina have visited since 2011.

Related blog posts:
- Crazy World of Minigolf Tour
- Course re-visit and played course #173 - Gorleston-on-Sea
- 100 Minigolf Courses visited to date!
- Arnold Palmer

Courses visited by Christopher and Nina Gottfried 2011-16

Give the Crazy World of Minigolf Tour a Like on Facebook, watch our YouTube channel and follow us on Twitter @putting_gott and @Ems_Lems.

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Friday, April 08, 2016

Love Luton

More about the Love Luton campaign.

Love Luton was formed in 2010 to lead the City Status bid. While that was unsuccessful the campaign continued into 2012 for celebrations for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and hosting the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay. The Love Luton campaign is planned to continue through 2016 and beyond.

Some of the Love Luton campaign badges amongst others in my pin collection. I've got a stack of the new round pin to give out on my travels

Emily and I have lived in Luton since we came to study in the town in the year 2000. It's certainly an interesting place. There are plenty of quirks, interesting history and fun to be had here.

You can find the source of the River Lea in Luton. It's not far from where we live in the northern bit of the town called Leagrave

Over the years we've been involved in a lot of events in the town, and we can say we've explored pretty much everything the town has had to offer and are proud to be adopted Lutonians.

The 'Love Luton' branded Arriva bus went past Wardown Park just before the official count at the successful Guinness World Record attempt for the 'Largest Gathering of People Wearing Boater Hats' organised by the town's Museum Makers. I wonder what all the people driving along Old Bedford Road thought of the massed ranks of be-hatted people assembled in the park!

Check out the links below for more on the Love Luton campaign.

Links:
- Love Luton website
- Love Luton on Twitter
- Love Luton on Facebook

Related blog posts:
- Luton
- Luton is still a town
Lutonians break Guinness World Record!

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Foreshore Sands Crazy Golf course in Bridlington

A visit to the Foreshore Sands Crazy Golf course in Bridlington.

Foreshore Sands Crazy Golf course in Bridlington

On our trip to the seaside town of Bridlington last summer we visited the Crazy Golf course on the Foreshore Sands.

Foreshore Sands Crazy Golf course in Bridlington

Unfortunately we arrived quite late in the day so the course, built by the team at UrbanCrazy, was closed.

Foreshore Sands Crazy Golf course in Bridlington

The course became the 667th visited on our Crazy World of Minigolf Tour.

Foreshore Sands Crazy Golf course in Bridlington

It's certainly a bright layout and very different to other courses we've seen on our travels.

Foreshore Sands Crazy Golf course in Bridlington

Foreshore Sands Crazy Golf course in Bridlington

The temporary course was placed on the site of an old permanent 'Intergalactic' Crazy Golf course that you can see on some fairly recent postcards.

We can't wait to return to Bridlington later this year as there's lots we want to see and do there.

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