Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Arnold Palmer Putting Courses in the UK

A look at Arnold Palmer Putting Courses in the UK.


Crazy Golf course in Prestatyn
A view of the Arnold Palmer Putting course in Prestatyn

Arnold Palmer Putting Courses are a design classic and include all the elements that make a Crazy Golf course great – the Windmill, the Waterwheel, an Obelisk, ledges, bunkers, traps, flat loops, hills and plateaus – everything laid out to make a course interesting, testing and most of all fun!


The Windmill at Hastings Crazy Golf course - home of the World Crazy Golf Championships
The Windmill at Hastings Crazy Golf course - home of the World Crazy Golf Championships

Crazy Golf - and Arnold Palmer Putting Courses - are as much a part of the British seaside as fish & chips, sunburn, buckets & spades and drizzle.


The Arnold Palmer Crazy Golf course in Whitby
Emily playing the Windmill hole at Whitby

The Arnold Palmer branded miniature golf courses were part of the Arnold Palmer Enterprises empire set-up in 1961 that saw the legendary golfer's name licensed and franchised to a wide-range of activities and products including Dry Cleaning centres and an Arnold Palmer brand foot detergent.

Pencils from the Arnold Palmer Putting Course in Prestatyn
Pencils from the Arnold Palmer Putting Course in Prestatyn

A scorecard from the Arnold Palmer Putting Course in Cleehorpes
A scorecard from the Arnold Palmer Putting Course in Cleehorpes
  
My brother Christopher recently found this Free Game Pass for the Arnold Palmer Putting Course in Hastings while looking through our old family photo albums. One of us must have won it on a holiday there in the 80's or 90's!

I managed to win a free game at the Whitby Arnold Palmer course
I managed to win a free game at the Whitby Arnold Palmer course on our visit in 2015

A scorecard from the Arnold Palmer Minigolf course in Southend-on-Sea
A scorecard from the Arnold Palmer Minigolf course in Southend-on-Sea

By 1966 there were 130 Arnold Palmer Putting Courses in the USA, with ten in Japan and some in South Africa.

The Masters Putting Course in Southport was one of the first Arnold Palmer Putting Courses to open in the UK
The Masters Putting Course in Southport was one of the first Arnold Palmer Putting Courses to open in the UK

The first Arnold Palmer Putting Course in the UK opened in Coventry in 1965 and was part of an Arnold Palmer Driving Range. A course was also located at a Driving Range in Sheffield.

A scorecard from the Arnold Palmer Putting Courses in Skegness
A scorecard from the Arnold Palmer Putting Courses in Skegness - this has a wonderful listing of other courses. Some of these still exist, while others have closed

Sadly over the years a number of Arnold Palmer Putting Courses in the UK have been closed, abandoned, demolished or converted beyond recognition.

The Oval, Cliftonville, PT4419. Postally used postcard postmarked from Thanet, Kent on the 24 September 1975. By Photo Precision Limited, St. Ives, Huntingdon
The Oval, Cliftonville, PT4419. Postally used postcard postmarked from Thanet, Kent on the 24th September 1975. By Photo Precision Limited, St. Ives, Huntingdon

In recent years the Arnold Palmer Putting Course in Exmouth has been demolished, while the two Arnold Palmer courses in Great Yarmouth have been replaced by one Adventure Golf course. The two courses in Cliftonville, Margate were closed in 2014 and removed shortly after. The course that was once in Folkestone is no longer playable - as it was used to make an art installation.

18-holes Crazy Golf Art Installation in Folkestone
This is what happened to the Folkestone Arnold Palmer Putting Course!

Luckily, one of the very best examples of an Arnold Palmer Putting Course can still be found at Hastings Adventure Golf in East Sussex. The 18-hole Crazy Golf course is celebrating it's 44th birthday this year, having opened on Saturday 21st March 1975.

A postally unused Hastings Mini Golf postcard C6911 by Judges Limited Hastings
A postally unused Hastings Mini Golf postcard C6911 by Judges Limited Hastings. The player is on hole 12. That hole looks the same today

A postally used postcard showing Hastings Crazy Golf. Postmark of 29 July 1976. Published by Photo Precision Limited. Code PLX3778
A postally used postcard showing Hastings Crazy Golf. Postmark of 29th July 1976. Published by Photo Precision Limited. Code PLX3778

Hastings Crazy Golf in 2015
Hastings Crazy Golf in 2015

The Hastings course was the 39th played on our Crazy World of Minigolf Tour back in 2007 and is one of our favourite layouts. We've played there a number of times over the years and competed in the World Crazy Golf Championships on the course between 2007 and 2015.

World Crazy Golf Championships in Hastings
Playing in the 2015 World Crazy Golf Championships in Hastings

You can still find playable examples of Arnold Palmer Putting Courses - in varying conditions and some with modifications - in the following locations:

  • Bognor Regis - built in 1993
  • Broadstairs
  • Caister-on-Sea (Haven Holiday Park)
  • Canvey Island (9 holes of an 18 hole course remain)
  • Cleethorpes
  • Filey (Primrose Valley Holiday Park)
  • Gorleston-on-Sea
  • Hastings
  • Mablethorpe (Haven Golden Sands Caravan Holiday Park)
  • Mablethorpe (Hooks Island)
  • Prestatyn
  • Skegness x2 (9 and 18 hole courses)
  • Southend-on-Sea (1 of 2 courses remain - the 'East' course) - upgraded
  • Southport
  • Weston-Super-Mare
  • Whitby


For a time there was 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 became an oversized version of many of the courses listed above! However, it was recently renovated once again and is now a dinosaur Adventure Golf course.

Crazy Golf course at Shanklin Seafront
The Arnold Palmer-style Crazy Golf course at Shanklin Seafront in 2016

Lost Arnold Palmer Putting Courses:

  • Ayr (Haven Craig Tara Holiday Park, formerly Butlin's)
  • Battersea
  • Blackpool, Starr Gate
  • Bognor Regis (Butlin's)
  • Camber Sands - now a Car Park
  • Cliftonville, Margate (2 courses)
  • Coventry
  • Eastbourne
  • Exmouth
  • Folkestone - now an Art Installation on Beach Huts!
  • Goodrington
  • Great Yarmouth (2 courses) - turned into Castaway Adventure Golf
  • Hornsea Potteries
  • Hove
  • Ladram Bay
  • Leicester
  • Manchester
  • Minehead (Butlin's)
  • Nottingham
  • Prestatyn
  • Pwhelli (Butlin's)
  • Rhyl
  • Scarborough
  • Sheffield
  • South Shields
  • Southend-on-Sea ('West' course demolished)
  • Tynemouth
  • Weymouth
  • Whitley Bay
  • Withernsea


Here's to many more years of enjoyment playing the Arnold Palmer Putting Courses that remain.

Skegness Arnold Palmer Putting Course
Playing at the Skegness Arnold Palmer Putting Course in 2015

If you know of any Arnold Palmer Putting Courses missing from the lists above do get in touch.

The Arnold Palmer Putting Course in Cleethorpes
The Arnold Palmer Putting Course in Cleethorpes

We have been travelling on our Crazy World of Minigolf Tour since September 2006 and in that time have visited 859 courses. 821 of them have been in the British Isles and 38 overseas.

At the Arnold Palmer Putting Courses in Skegness
At the Arnold Palmer Putting Courses in Skegness

Of the 859 courses we've visited, 25 have been Arnold Palmer Putting Course locations.

The Arnold Palmer Putting Course in Great Yarmouth
The Arnold Palmer Putting Course in Great Yarmouth

The Arnold Palmer Putting Course in Great Yarmouth
The Arnold Palmer Putting Course in Great Yarmouth

The Arnold Palmer Putting Course in Great Yarmouth
The Arnold Palmer Putting Course in Great Yarmouth

The Arnold Palmer Putting Course in Blackpool
The Arnold Palmer Putting Course in Blackpool

The Arnold Palmer Putting Course in Blackpool
The Arnold Palmer Putting Course in Blackpool

The Arnold Palmer Putting Course in Exmouth
The Arnold Palmer Putting Course in Exmouth

The Arnold Palmer Putting Course in Exmouth
The Arnold Palmer Putting Course in Exmouth

The Arnold Palmer Putting Course in Cleethorpes
The Arnold Palmer Putting Course in Cleethorpes

The Arnold Palmer Putting Course in Cleethorpes
The Arnold Palmer Putting Course in Cleethorpes

The Arnold Palmer Putting Course in Mablethorpe
The Arnold Palmer Putting Course in Mablethorpe

The Arnold Palmer Putting Course in Skegness
The Arnold Palmer Putting Course in Skegness

The Arnold Palmer Putting Course in Skegness
The Arnold Palmer Putting Course in Skegness

The Arnold Palmer Putting Course in Skegness
The Arnold Palmer Putting Course in Skegness
  
The Arnold Palmer Putting Course in Whitby
The Arnold Palmer Putting Course in Whitby

The Arnold Palmer Putting Course in Whitby
The Arnold Palmer Putting Course in Whitby

The Arnold Palmer Putting Course in Whitby
The Arnold Palmer Putting Course in Whitby

The Arnold Palmer Putting Course in Whitby
The Arnold Palmer Putting Course in Whitby

The Arnold Palmer Putting Course in Southport
The Arnold Palmer Putting Course in Southport

The Arnold Palmer Putting Course in Broadstairs
The Arnold Palmer Putting Course in Broadstairs

The Arnold Palmer Putting Course in Broadstairs
The Arnold Palmer Putting Course in Broadstairs

The Arnold Palmer Putting Course in Weston-Super-Mare
The Arnold Palmer Putting Course in Weston-Super-Mare

The Arnold Palmer Putting Course in Weston-Super-Mare
The Arnold Palmer Putting Course in Weston-Super-Mare

The Arnold Palmer Putting Course in Gorleston-on-Sea
The Arnold Palmer Putting Course in Gorleston-on-Sea

The Arnold Palmer Putting Course in Gorleston-on-Sea
The Arnold Palmer Putting Course in Gorleston-on-Sea

The Arnold Palmer Putting Course in Southend-on-Sea
The Arnold Palmer Putting Course in Southend-on-Sea

The old Arnold Palmer Crazy Golf course in Southend-on-Sea before it was completely removed
The old Arnold Palmer Crazy Golf course in Southend-on-Sea before it was completely removed 

The Arnold Palmer Putting Course at the Little Oasis in Cliftonville, Margate shortly before it was completely removed
The Arnold Palmer Putting Course at the Little Oasis in Cliftonville, Margate shortly before it was completely removed 

The Arnold Palmer Putting Course in Canvey Island. This used to be an 18-hole course. When I played it only 9-holes remained
The Arnold Palmer Putting Course in Canvey Island. This used to be an 18-hole course. When I played it only 9-holes remained 

The Arnold Palmer Putting Course in Prestatyn
The Arnold Palmer Putting Course in Prestatyn

The Arnold Palmer Putting Course in Bognor Regis
The Arnold Palmer Putting Course in Bognor Regis

Related blog posts:

- Arnold Palmer Putting Courses
Crazy World of Minigolf Tour

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