The growth of shopping centre crazy golf.
It's wonderful to see miniature golf courses popping up in different places. Minigolf courses are becoming a fixture on the high street and at out-of-town shopping malls where customers are looking to be entertained while they shop.
Minigolf is becoming more and more popular and has grown from being a traditional outdoor seaside summer activity to become a year-round game that can be played indoors, outdoors and at pretty much any time of the day.
On Saturday we made a short trip up the road to the Walkden Town Centre shopping mall in Worsley, Salford, Greater Manchester to have a game on the pop-up Crazy Golf course there.
|Crazy Golf at Walkden Town Centre|
The 9-hole Crazy Golf layout was set-up for three days as part of the shopping centre's Summer of Fun events.
We got there nice and early and had a clear course ahead of us.
|Crazy Golf at Walkden Town Centre|
After our game we had a wander round the shopping centre as we hadn't been there before. As we walked past the course a few more times it was nice to see lots of people enjoying a game and were glad we got there early.
The course at Walkden Town Centre was the 924th visited on our Crazy World of Minigolf Tour and the 526th played.
When our travels began back in September 2006 there were just two permanent indoor minigolf venues among the 600 courses in the UK. One of those was in Felixstowe and the other in Great Yarmouth. There are now close to 100 indoor venues, with more opening up every week.
This summer has seen pop-up miniature golf courses in shopping centres including Affinity Outlet Staffordshire and Touchwood Shopping Centre in Solihull.
New permanent courses have opened at retail venues this year including Treetop Adventure Golf at the Highcross shopping centre in Leicester. There are also Treetop Adventure Golf courses at St David's shopping centre in Cardiff and at The Printworks in Manchester.
|There are now three Treetop Adventure Golf venues, each with two indoor courses|
More Junkyard Golf venues have opened, with courses at the Westgate Shopping Centre in Oxford and at The Light in Leeds. There is also a Junkyard Golf course at the Liverpool ONE shopping, leisure and entertainment complex.
|Junkyard Golf in Oxford|
The new Angry Birds Adventure Golf course at the intu Metrocentre in Gateshead is nearing completion and will open this year.
The minigolf boom is also continuing in London, with a new Puttshack course set to open in the city this December. The first Puttshack course opened at the Westfield shopping centre in White City last year. The second Puttshack opened at the Lakeside shopping centre earlier this year and there are plans for a fourth venue to open at intu Watford next year.
While in Greater Manchester the new Riverside entertainment, leisure and shopping centre in Rochdale will be home to an indoor minigolf venue called Puttstars when it opens in April next year.
One of the first indoor Adventure Golf courses to open at a shopping mall was Paradise Island Adventure Golf. Back in 2008 the first of the PIAG venues opened at the Trafford Centre in Manchester. It's now our local course and we've won some tournaments there too.
|Paradise Island Adventure Golf in Manchester, one of seven PIAG locations. A new course is opening in Plymouth soon|
A new entertainment centre, including an Adventure Golf course, is also being planned for the Market Walk Shopping Centre in Chorley, Lancashire.
Some of the courses we've seen on our travels have been more seasonal pop-up layouts.
In 2013 the Queensgate Shopping Centre in Peterborough hosted a Christmas-themed 9-hole Miniature Golf course from Mini Golf and Games. I'd played the course when it was set-up, without the festive decorations, in Letchworth Garden City that summer.
|Minigolf in Letchworth Garden City|
Lakeside Village Shopping Centre in Doncaster has also hosted minigolf courses, with summer and Christmas pop-ups.
|Crazy Golf in Doncaster|
Over the years we've played pop-up Crazy Golf, Jurassic Golf and Pirate Golf courses at The Centre MK in Milton Keynes.
|Jurassic Golf in Milton Keynes|
|Pirate Golf in Milton Keynes|
I also visited the Pirate Mini Golf course when it was set up at the Galleria Shopping Centre in Hatfield.
|Pirate Golf in Hatfield|
Having fun activities on offer like minigolf where people of all ages and abilities can take part is a nice way to attract both new and old customers to a shopping centre, and to help them stay at the venue for a little longer too.