Monday, November 28, 2016

Golf Bar Leeds

A visit to the indoor Golf simulator at Golf Bar Leeds.


While in Leeds we swung by the Golf Bar near the canal and train station. It looks like a nice venue and we received a nice welcome from the team there.

Indoor Golf simulator at Golf Bar Leeds
You can find Golf Bar Leeds at 1 Little Neville Street, Granary Wharf

Indoor Golf simulator at Golf Bar Leeds
There are three bays to play Golf at the bar in Leeds

A few years ago we had a fun Christmas 'Do' at an indoor golf simulator in London.

Check out the Golf Bar's website for more information, opening times and prices.

Related blog posts:
- Leeds

Friday, November 25, 2016

Botanic Gardens Crazy Golf in Southport

A visit to the Crazy Golf course in Southport's Botanic Gardens.


The last time we arrived home from Southport we noticed that we'd missed out on visiting another Crazy Golf course. The layout is in the Botanic Gardens and is the sister site to the course in Hesketh Park and they do look very much alike.

Botanic Gardens Crazy Golf course in Southport

Botanic Gardens Crazy Golf course in Southport

Botanic Gardens Crazy Golf course in Southport

Botanic Gardens Crazy Golf course in Southport

Botanic Gardens Crazy Golf course in Southport

Botanic Gardens Crazy Golf course in Southport

Botanic Gardens Crazy Golf course in Southport

Botanic Gardens Crazy Golf course in Southport

Unfortunately we weren't able to have a game on the course as it was closed for the season.

Botanic Gardens Crazy Golf course in Southport
The Lucky Last Hole. I won a free game card when I played at Hesketh Park. It's valid at the Botanic Gardens course too

The Botanic Gardens Crazy Golf course was the 717th course we've visited overall and the 691st visited in the UK.

Botanic Gardens Crazy Golf in Southport
This way to the Crazy Golf

We very much enjoyed our stroll around the Botanic Gardens and lake. There was lots of wildlife and some hidden tunnels dotted around too. It's well worth a visit.

Botanic Gardens in Southport
A Miniature Train Ride was also mentioned on the signs in the park. We couldn't see it though

Related blog posts:
- Mini Golf course at Hesketh Park in Southport
- Crazy World of Minigolf Tour
- Southport

Video:
- Crazy Golf course at Southport's Botanic Gardens

Junkyard Golf in Manchester

A visit to the Junkyard Crazy Golf course in Piccadilly Place, Manchester.


While on a recent trip to Manchester I managed to pop along to the new Junkyard Golf courses in Piccadilly Place. They look marvellous.

Junkyard Crazy Golf course in Manchester
A classic seaside hazard

Junkyard Crazy Golf course in Manchester
Always nice to see a volcano on a Crazy Golf course

Junkyard Crazy Golf course in Manchester
The last time I putted into a bathtub was while playing The Crazy Golf Machine in the Crazy Golf Museum!

Junkyard Crazy Golf course in Manchester
I'm a BIG fan of minigolf sharks

Junkyard Crazy Golf course in Manchester
What is more appealing than a WARNING TOXI WASTE sign. A perfect addition to the ludicrously crazy minigolf course at Junkyard Golf

Check out the Junkyard Golf website for more details on the Manchester and London courses. We've heard good things about the FOUR London courses the team at Junkyard Golf have created too.

Emily and I are looking forward to having a game on the two layouts as part of our Crazy World of Minigolf Tour soon.

We've now visited 693 courses in the UK and 26 overseas. One of those courses was in the very same spot as Junkyard Golf. Back in 2012 there was a Christmas-themed Crazy Golf course set-up for six weeks. That course was the 313th played. I also won the Chrizy Golf Masters tournament there during that visit!

Links:
- Junkyard Golf
- Junkyard Golf Manchester

Related blog posts:
Playing Junkyard Golf in Manchester
- Crazy World of Minigolf Tour
- Manchester

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. Please do sign-up to receive our miniature golf newsletter too.

The Dull Men's Club 2017 Calendar at the Calendar Club

The Dull Men's Club Calendar for 2017 is available to buy now.

While having a wander around Manchester I popped into the Calendar Club shop to see if they had any of the Dull Men's Club Calendars in stock. They did, the first ones I've seen on the shelf.

The Dull Men's Club Calendar 2017
The Dull Men's Club Calendar 2017

The Dull Men's Club Calendar 2017
Mr July putting on the windmill hole at Skegness Crazy Golf

For a number of years the Dull Men's Club has published a calendar to help people mark how they're celebrating the ordinary throughout the year. As longstanding members of the Dull Men's Club, Emily and I were selected to appear in the 2017 edition of the calendar for our Crazy World of Minigolf Tour.

The Dull Men's Club Calendar 2017
A dull pin up

The Dull Men's Club 2017 Calendar also features a pencil enthusiast, cutlery sculptor, tombstone traveller, prefabricated buildings fan, lost glove spotter, a bubbleologist, giant pumpkin growers, a barbed wire enthusiast, a brown sign follower, village pump spotter, a vintage radio collector, and a couple who built a life-size railway station in their back garden.

The calendar costs £9.99 and can be bought from the Calendar Club shops (although I haven't seen it in the Stockport branch, yet) and online.

For more information check out the blog post about the Dull Men's Club Calendar launch.

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. Please do sign-up to receive our miniature golf newsletter too.

Monday, November 21, 2016

WMF World Minigolf Rankings update

The World Minigolf Sport Federation has updated the World Rankings and Emily and I are ranked in the General Class (Adult) lists for elite tournament players.

International minigolfers Emily and Richard Gottfried
International minigolfers

Emily is ranked 102nd in the Women's ranking list, while I am 408th in the Men's list.

Emily Gottfried playing hole 1 on her way to a British Women's Record Round of 24(-12) on the Eternit format of Miniature Golf at the WMF Nations Cup 2011 in Stockholm, Sweden
Emily playing hole 1 on her way to a British Women's Record Round of 24(-12) on the Eternit format of Miniature Golf at the WMF Nations Cup 2011 in Stockholm, Sweden

In the Women's World Ranking List Emily is the sole British female representative listed and is in tied 102nd place (109 players total) alongside Erika Benka (HUN), Anja Derks (NED), Asta Korpi (FIN), Ana Lopes (POR), Tänia Monteiro (POR), Amara Silva (POR) and Nathamon Tayutivuthikul (THA).

Richard Gottfried in action at the Minigolf Nations Cup 2008 in Tampere, Finland
Richard in action at the Nations Cup in Tampere, Finland

In the Men's World Ranking List I am in tied 408th place (424 players total) alongside Mislav Bjazic (CRO), Joao Caravana (POR), Miguel Angel Hernandez (ESP), J. Hinojosa De Torres-Peralta (ESP), Erik Hjalmarsson (SWE), Arton Krasniqi (KOS), Pawel Larus (POL), Hugo Madera (ESP), Sabri Maloku (KOS), Santiago Paramo (ESP), Jawaharlal Purohit (IND), Jose Maria Rivera Cadierno (ESP), Juan Pablo Ruano De Fruto (ESP), Petri Saukko (FIN), Craig Small (GBR) and Lavdim Zylfiu (KOS).

Great Britain is ranked 13th of 30 countries in the Nations rankings. Fourteen GB players (13 men and one woman) contributed to the ranking.

For the full international ranking lists for General Class, Juniors and Seniors please visit the WMF website.

The World Minigolf Sport Federation is the umbrella organisation of 62 Minigolf sports associations worldwide with continental associations in Africa, America, Asia, Europe and Oceania. There are more than 38,000 competitive minigolf players registered with the WMF via the 62 member nations, with 900-plus clubs between them. Over 1,000 courses are approved for official competitions and over 1,500 minigolf tournaments are held each year.

The WMF is gaining further recognition on the global stage all the time. As a member of SportAccord and an organisation called AIMS (the Alliance of Independent Members of SportAccord) the WMF's next goal is to achieve International Olympic Committee recognition.

Apart from the March 2011 list Emily and I have been in the sport's international rankings since November 2008 following our debut for the Great Britain team at that year's Nations Cup championships in Tampere, Finland.

The 2008 Great Britain team - Jouni Valkjarvi (coach), John 'Big Top Ted' McIver, Marion 'Mation' Homer, Sean 'Freebird' Homer, Tim 'Ace Man' Davies, Steve 'F1' Gow, Emily 'Lemony' Gottfried, Andy 'Sarge' Booth, 'Squire' Richard Gottfried

The Great Britain Minigolf Sport Team is sponsored by UrbanCrazy, suppliers of permanent and portable mini and crazy golf courses.

Links:
- World Minigolf Sport Federation
- Minigolfnews

Related blog posts:
- Richard Gottfried player profile
- Emily Gottfried player profile
World Minigolf rankings update (December 2015)

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. Please do sign-up to receive our miniature golf newsletter too.

Friday, November 18, 2016

100% gluten free places in the UK

There are 100% gluten free places to eat in the UK.


As someone living with Coeliac Disease I am extremely careful about what I eat and drink. Since I was diagnosed in 2008 I haven't knowlingly consumed anything containing gluten. However, I have been 'glutened' while dining out and the effects can be horrific and long lasting. So, I'm always looking for safe and suitable 100% gluten free places to eat at while travelling around the UK.

Before diagnosis I was a very adventurous diner and willing to try all manner of food and drink. Emily and I would enjoy visiting lots of different restaurants and takeaways. Nowadays Emily either dines while I watch, or has to wait to visit a place with friends or family to give it a try.

Gluten free meal at 2 Oxford Place in Leeds
An incredibly rare sighting of us both dining out at the same time

At one of our last meals out together - way back in May - I was glutened. Since then dining out together has been very limited. While dining at home is safe and we do cook up some magnificent food (and great cocktails), we do miss having the whole meal experience. I am now looking to eat at places that are 100% gluten free and safe for Coeliacs. If it's not, I'll vote with my wallet and go elsewhere (or go hungry).

With my approach to tackling the problem of dining out safely I was incredibly pleased when fellow Coeliac and writer Caroline at the Coeliac Plate website let me know about a series of lists she has put together detailing the 100% gluten free places in the UK! It's absolutely marvellous to see.

One of my favourite places to eat is at 2 Oxford Place in Leeds. The fact that the restaurant is 100% gluten free and safe for Coeliacs is a real weight off the mind. To be able to visit a restaurant and not be on edge from the start is great. On the occasions I've dined there it's been brilliant. Just little things like NOT having to explain to the waiting staff that I have a medical condition before ordering, or asking to see a 'special' menu, makes a BIG difference.

When dining in a 'normal' restaurant that is trying to offer gluten free options cross contamination is possible. If eating there I can spend the whole time worrying about what could've happened to the meal I'm about to eat/am eating/have eaten. It doesn't make for a very pleasant or 'normal' experience and can often feel like the money has been wasted.

So do check out the Coeliac Plate website for more information and the links below for the 100% gluten free lists.

- UK 100% gluten free venues
- UK 100% gluten free – Northern England

Caroline tweeted me about her lists after I'd posted a tweet to fellow gluten free blogger Katie Bucknell asking about gluten free places in Manchester. Katie provided some good tips. Check out her website too.

Related blog posts:
- Gluten free
- Coeliac

Links:
- The Coeliac Plate website
- Katie Bucknell's website

Monday, November 14, 2016

Arnold Palmer Starr Gate Crazy Golf in Blackpool

A revisit to the Arnold Palmer Crazy Golf course in Blackpool.

Arnold Palmer Starr Gate Crazy Golf course in Blackpool

It's always a real shame to find a once thriving Crazy Golf course that has been abandoned. Unfortunately that's exactly what we found on a recent trip to Blackpool.

Arnold Palmer Starr Gate Crazy Golf course in Blackpool
What remains of the course has become quite overgrown in places

The Arnold Palmer Putting Course next to the tram terminus at Starr Gate was a great course. Luckily we managed to play it on our visit to the seaside resort in April 2008.

Arnold Palmer Starr Gate Crazy Golf course in Blackpool
The course at the end of the tram line at the south end of the town

Sadly the course closed earlier this year and all of the obstacles have been removed. Although the bases and borders of the holes remain.

Arnold Palmer Starr Gate Crazy Golf course in Blackpool

Arnold Palmer Starr Gate Crazy Golf course in Blackpool

Arnold Palmer Starr Gate Crazy Golf course in Blackpool

Arnold Palmer Starr Gate Crazy Golf course in Blackpool
The GOLF OPEN lettering at the entrance is certainly redundant now

The 18-hole course was the 45th course visited on our Crazy World of Minigolf Tour.

Emily Gottfried playing the Arnold Palmer Crazy Golf course at Starr Gate in Blackpool
Emily playing the course in 2008

Check out the video, and others in the links below, to see more of the course.



Arnold Palmer Putting Courses are a classic part of the British seaside and it's dreadful to see them either left in this state or worse. Another Arnold Palmer Putting Course to be demolished this year was the layout in Exmouth. We got to visit that course as part of our tour of the south west coast of England in the summer of 2015. Sadly, the two Arnold Palmer courses in Great Yarmouth have also been removed in recent years and been replaced by one Adventure Golf course. While the two courses in Cliftonville, Margate were closed a couple of years ago. The course that was once in Folkestone is no longer playable - as it was used to make an art installation.

Scorecard from the Arnold Palmer Putting Course in Skegness
The Arnold Palmer Putting Course in Skegness still has an old scorecard in use. It lists many of the Arnold Palmer courses that are long gone. A great bit of minigolf history. Of the Arnold Palmer Putting courses listed on the reverse of the scorecard we've visited Camber Sands (now demolished), Mablethorpe (now Pirate themed), Southend (one of the two courses still exists), Tynemouth (demolished), Cleethorpes, Canvey Island (9 of the original 18-holes remain), Great Yarmouth (replaced by an Adventure Golf), Hastings (home of the World Crazy Golf Championships) and Margate (part demolished in 2014)

It's not all doom and gloom though, as you can still find examples of the Arnold Palmer Crazy Golf courses - in varying conditions - in Hastings, PrestatynSkegness, WhitbySouthport, Southend-on-SeaMablethorpe (Golden Sands), Mablethorpe (Hooks Island), BroadstairsGorleston-on-SeaCanvey Island, Weston-Super-MareCaister-on-SeaCleethorpes, and Bognor Regis.

There is also a new type of Arnold Palmer Putting Course in Shanklin on the Isle of Wight. Formerly a Beton-style of Miniature Golf, it received a refurbishment a few years ago and is now an oversized version of many of the courses listed above!

Related blog posts:
- Blackpool
- Arnold Palmer
- Crazy World of Minigolf Tour
- From the archives...Arnold Palmer Starr Gate Crazy Golf in Blackpool (April 2008)

Videos:
- Crazy Golf course at Starr Gate, Blackpool October 2016 1 of 5
- Crazy Golf course at Starr Gate, Blackpool October 2016 2 of 5
- Crazy Golf course at Starr Gate, Blackpool October 2016 3 of 5
- Crazy Golf course at Starr Gate, Blackpool October 2016 4 of 5
- Crazy Golf course at Starr Gate, Blackpool October 2016 5 of 5

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. Please do sign-up to receive our miniature golf newsletter too.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Petanque in Jersey

Earlier this year we spent a great week in Jersey having a chilled out holiday.

While there we spotted the players from the Liberation Petanque Club having some games in Weighbridge Gardens in St Helier. Having a look on the Jersey Petanque Association website there are plenty of pistes to play on. It was nice scrolling through the list of places to play as we'd visited a lot of the towns on our holiday and the names brought back some great memories.

Petanque in St Helier, Jersey
Some petanque being played in St Helier. In the background you can see the Steam Clock, the terrain next to it has a six game capacity - we never even realised Petanque was played on that spot too

As we've got into playing the game since moving to the Stockport area it's nice to know the island is well catered for as we'd very much like to return to Jersey in the future. It's such a nice place for a relaxing break.

We're now members of the Woodstock Petanque Club, which meets at Alexandra Park in Edgeley, Stockport every other Sunday. Through the club I heard about the Jersey Petanque Club's 2017 Open competition. It sounds like fun.

We spotted another petanque terrain on one of our other island trips this year, at Puckpool Park on the Isle of Wight.

Check out the Jersey Petanque Association website for more information on playing the game on the island.

Related blog posts:
- Petanque
- Jersey

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Christmas all wrapped up at Hastings Adventure Golf

I've heard from the team at Hastings Adventure Golf they now offer minigolf gift vouchers.

In addition to being one of our favourite places for a game of minigolf, Hastings Adventure Golf has a Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence and now you can give the gift of the quintessential British seaside day out with gift vouchers for every occasion. Starting from £7.00 for a round of minigolf, or £20 for unlimited golf on its three 18-hole courses.

In action on hole 10 of the Pirate Adventure Golf course in Hastings
In action on hole 10 of the Pirate Adventure Golf course in Hastings

This year the venue also opened a fish and chip shop - and thankfully it's undercover, in the warm and away from the pesky seagulls that'll try to mug you for a chip, or your minigolf ball!

Seagulls at Hastings Adventure Golf course
I wonder what the seagulls behave like in wintery weather conditions?

We've played the three courses at Hastings Adventure Golf countless times since our first visit on our Crazy World of Minigolf Tour back in 2007.

We haven't ever played the Hastings course in the snow, but we have played in some very crazy weather conditions in the seaside town over the years.

Find out more about prices, gift vouchers and opening times on the Hastings Adventure Golf website.

Related blog posts:
- Hastings
- Seagulls
- Christmas

Monday, November 07, 2016

Pirate Flyer Laser Gun Monorail in Blackpool

Riding a monorail inside Blackpool's Coral Island amusement arcade.

The Pirate Flyer monorail at Coral Island in Blackpool
The Pirate Flyer monorail in Blackpool

I'm a big fan of seaside Amusement Arcades, Monorails and Laser Tag. So when I first saw the Pirate Flyer Laser Gun Monorail ride at the Coral Island Amusements in Blackpool back in 2009 I was amazed.

The Pirate Flyer monorail at Coral Island in Blackpool
Can you spot Emily in the crowd below the monorail?

On our recent return to the seaside resort I had to have another go on it.

The Pirate Flyer monorail at Coral Island in Blackpool
Well worth a go if you're in Blackpool

Unfortunately the guns in our Monorail car didn't work and no scores were given. And there was a fairly long queue for the £2 ride. But it was still fun to ride the rail above the crowds of people enjoying the arcade games below.



The Pirate Flyer monorail at Coral Island in Blackpool
A nice bit of ephemera

The Pirate Flyer monorail at Coral Island in Blackpool
There's a blacklit tunnel section of the ride

Coral Island amusement arcade in Blackpool
Coral Island is one of my favourite amusement arcades - and we've visited a LOT of arcades on our travels to over 200 seasides in the UK

Related blog posts:
- Monorail
- Amusement Arcades
- Blackpool

Link:
- Coral Island, Blackpool

Video:
- Pirate Flyer laser monorail ride at Coral Island in Blackpool

Saturday, November 05, 2016

The Plaza Super Cinema and Variety Theatre in Stockport

We recently became members of the Plaza Film Club at the Plaza Super Cinema and Variety Theatre in Stockport.

A view of the Plaza Super Cinema and Variety Theatre in Stockport taken from the car park of the Merseyway Shopping Centre
The wonderful Art Deco building really stands out - especially when there's a show on

Just before we fully moved up to Cheadle Hulme I popped into Stockport for the first time and one of the first buildings I saw was the Plaza. Emily and I are big fans of Art Deco architecture and The Plaza is a fine example.

The Plaza Film Club membership costs just £5 per year and entitles you to discounted entry to most films and satellite broadcasts - and there's a great programme of events to choose from.

On Halloween night we made our first trip to watch a film there - the original Night of the Living Dead - and it was a tremendous experience. We can't wait to go back. Watching a movie at the Plaza is like nothing else. Such marvellous fun.

Visit the Plaza's website to find out more about the Plaza Super Cinema and Variety Theatre, its history and what's on.

Related blog posts:
- Stockport

North Shore Crazy Golf in Blackpool

On our recent trip to Blackpool we revisited the Crazy Golf course next to the Metropole Hotel towards the north of the resort.

North Shore Crazy Golf course in Blackpool
The illuminated Blackpool Tower and the very old Crazy Golf course

Unfortunately the course was closed. We were there after dark though so that wasn't necessarily a big surprise.

North Shore Crazy Golf course in Blackpool
The North Shore layout

The layout has been there for many many years. We've got a lot of postcards in our collection that show the course in its heyday. By the look of it, apart from a lick of paint, the course hasn't really changed much since it was first built.

North Shore Crazy Golf course in Blackpool
It's a bright and colourful concrete course

We first visited the course in September 2009.

Related blog posts:
- Blackpool
- Crazy World of Minigolf Tour
- Closed course in Blackpool (2) - Metropole Hotel

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. Please do sign-up to receive our miniature golf newsletter too.

Blackpool's Bingo Clown Inflatable

While in Blackpool we spotted another piece of inflatable advertising for the 'collection'...

An inflatable clown advertising bingo at an amusement arcade in Blackpool
A clown. And an inflatble piece of advertising 

Except for the fact it's not a wacky waving type of inflatable arm flailing tube man, this one has it all. A BIG clown advertising bingo at the seaside! Marvellous.

On our travels we've spotted quite a few airdancer advertising inflatables, ranging from the wacky waving ones, to more static characters and mascots.

Related blog posts:
- Wacky Waving Arm-Flailing Inflatable Tube-man
- Airdancer
- Windy Man
- Blackpool

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

The Dull Men's Club 2017 Calendar

Launch of the Dull Men's Club Calendar for 2017.

Dull Men's Club 2017 Calendar

For a number of years the Dull Men's Club has published a calendar to help people mark how they're celebrating the ordinary throughout the year. As longstanding members of the Dull Men's Club, Emily and I were selected to appear in the 2017 edition of the calendar for our Crazy World of Minigolf Tour.

Dull Men's Club 2017 Calendar
The dullest people in the UK? You decide

The Dull Men’s Club is a place where dull men share thoughts and experiences, free from glitz and glamour, free from pressures to be in and trendy - free instead to enjoy simple, ordinary things. The club's mission statement is “It’s OK to be dull”.

The Dull Men's Club - where dull men, and women who appreciate dull men, share thoughts and experiences about ordinary things

Since we first found out there were so many miniature golf courses around the UK we've made it our mission to visit as many as possible on the 'tickable list'. Over the last ten years we've visited 716 courses - including some overseas - far exceeding the 600 or so there were initially believed to be in the country. With old courses left abandoned, or worse demolished, and new courses popping up all the time we don't quite know if we'll ever finally finish visiting all of them. But the journey we've had so far has been a lot of fun.

Enjoying a break from Crazy Golfing to have a nice sit down on a park bench at Canoe Lake in Southsea
Enjoying a break from Crazy Golfing to have a nice sit down on a park bench at Canoe Lake in Southsea - the seaside town was where our Mini Golf adventures began in September 2006

The Dull Men's Club 2017 calendar also features a pencil enthusiast, cutlery sculptor, tombstone traveller, prefabricated buildings fan, lost glove spotter, a bubbleologist, giant pumpkin growers, a barbed wire enthusiast, a brown sign follower, village pump spotter, a vintage radio collector, and a couple who built a life-size railway station in their back garden.

Dull Men's Club 2017 Calendar
The 2017 Dull Men’s Club calendar celebrates the men and women who were born to be mild

You can buy the Dull Men's Club 2017 Calendar from Stanford's website and shop for £9.99.

In advance of its publication the Dull Men's Club asked whether President Vladimir Putin's new calendar would be competing with its own and offered some comparisons - including me playing minigolf and Mr Putin enjoying some fishing.

Links:
- Dull Men's Club website
- Dull Men's Club Facebook Page
- Dull Men's Club Facebook Group
- Dull Men's Club on Twitter

Related blog posts:
- Dull Men's Club
- Crazy World of Minigolf Tour List

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. Please do sign-up to receive our miniature golf newsletter too.