Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Mini Golf Designer board game by Thematic Games

A quick look at the new Mini Golf Designer board game by Thematic Games.


Mini Golf Designer board game by Thematic Games

We received our copy of the Mini Golf Designer board game by Thematic Games following the successful Kickstarter campaign earlier this year. We're looking forward to giving it a play.

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

New Crazy Golf course in Aberdeen

There are plans for a new Flip Out trampoline park to open in a former BHS store in Aberdeen. The centre will also be home to an indoor crazy golf course.

There are plans for a new Flip Out trampoline park to open in a former BHS store in Aberdeen

The latest Flip Out trampoline and adventure centre opened in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire last month. That too opened in a former BHS.

Visit the Flip Out website for more information.

Retailtainment

A number of shopping malls, town centres and retail parks are adding minigolf, crazy golf, adventure golf and other experiential entertainment and activity leisure offerings to their sites to attract and retain customers.

There's no missing Salford Shopping City

What a piece of signage.



Salford Shopping City
Salford Shopping Centre opened as Salford Precinct in 1972 and was renamed Salford Shopping City in 1992

Even though the shopping precinct is now called Salford Shopping Centre the huge sign on the block of flats clearly points out where the shops are in Pendleton, Salford.

Park Square Putting Green in Cheadle Heath

A look at the snowy Park Square Putting Green in Cheadle Heath.


Park Square Putting Green in Cheadle Heath
Unplayable

Grainger Games in Salford

Grainger Games - a lost video game shop brand.

This is the Salford Shopping Centre location in Pendleton, Salford, Greater Manchester.

Grainger Games in Salford Shopping Centre

The company was founded in 1996 and ceased operations on the 28th March 2018.

As a brand with shops in the North of England and Scotland I only became a regular shopper there when I moved to Stockport in 2016.

This year I've found other former branches of Grainger Games at Stretford Mall and Clarendon Square Shopping Centre in Hyde.

Family Shopper in Salford

My recent hunts for Happy Shopper shops led me to find out about the Family Shopper brand. The stores are part of the same retail group. The first one I noticed was in Ashton-under-Lyne earlier this year.

Family Shopper in Salford

Driving back from Salford Shopping Centre we spotted this Family Shopper on the corner of Cross Lane and Culverwell Drive.

The building looked like it used to be a pub and looking on the excellent Pubs of Manchester blog I found it used to be a pub called the Golden Gate. It was originally known as the Craven Heifer.

I'm still on the lookout for Happy Shopper stores with the classic signage and branding. I've been lucky to find one in Preston, a couple in Sheffield and another in Derby.

Sunday, December 27, 2020

NIFO Steel Minigolf course at Solna Bangolfklubb in Sweden

A look at the NIFO Steel Minigolf course at Solna Bangolfklubb in Sweden.


In February 2018 we had a short break in Stockholm, Sweden and managed to visit nine miniature golf courses in 42 hours. Two of them were at the Solna Bangolfklubb in Solna.

NIFO Steel Minigolf course at Solna Bangolfklubb in Sweden
A long hole on the NIFO Steel Minigolf course at Solna Bangolfklubb in Sweden

The NIFO Steel Minigolf course at Solna Bangolfklubb in Sweden was the 799th visited overall on our Crazy World of Minigolf Tour.

 

Check out the Solna Bangolfklubb website for more information.

Our Crazy World of Minigolf Tour

We've visited 956 miniature golf courses on our Crazy World of Minigolf Tour since September 2006. 917 of those have been in the British Isles, while 39 have been in eleven overseas countries including Australia, Austria, Belgium, Finland, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Poland, Singapore, Spain, Sweden and the USA.

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Miniature Golf course at Solna Bangolfklubb in Sweden

A look at the Eternit Miniature Golf course at Solna Bangolfklubb in Sweden.


Back in February 2018 we had a short holiday in Stockholm, Sweden and managed to visit nine miniature golf courses in 42 hours. Two of them were at the Solna Bangolfklubb in Solna.

The Eternit Miniature Golf course at Solna Bangolfklubb in Sweden
The Eternit Miniature Golf course at Solna Bangolfklubb in Sweden

The Eternit Miniature Golf course at Solna Bangolfklubb in Sweden was the 798th visited overall on our Crazy World of Minigolf Tour.


Visit the Solna Bangolfklubb website for more information.

Our Crazy World of Minigolf Tour

We've been to 956 miniature golf courses on our Crazy World of Minigolf Tour since September 2006. 917 of those have been in the British Isles, while 39 have been in eleven overseas countries including Australia, Austria, Belgium, Finland, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Poland, Singapore, Spain, Sweden and the USA.

Friday, December 25, 2020

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Happy Christmas.


The Miniature Golf course at the Solna Bangolfklubb in Stockholm, Sweden

Here's to a better 2021...

Merry Christmas

Happy Christmas.

Bad Santa graffiti in Blackpool by Seca_One
Bad Santa graffiti in Blackpool by Seca_One

Bad Santa graffiti in Blackpool by Seca_One
Bad Santa graffiti in Blackpool by Seca_One

Happy Christmas

Merry Christmas.


Merry Christmas
A snowy day at the old Mini & Crazy Golf courses in Luton

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Christmas Crazy Golf

It's Christmas-time!

Christmas Crazy Golf hole at Teezers Coventry
Playing a Christmas Crazy Golf hole at Teezers Retro Golf in Coventry at Easter in 2019

The Crazy World of Minigolf Tour in 2020

A look back at our Crazy World of Minigolf Tour in 2020.

Prior to the coronavirus pandemic we were closing in on visiting the final 40 courses of the original 600 we set out to play in 2006. We were also very close to hitting 1,000 course visits overall.

Before the first national lockdown hit and our out-of-home putting was paused we'd visited 948 courses since September 2006.

We had a very strong start to the year and visited 20 courses in the first 20 days of 2020 (some of those were revisits). We had hoped to hit the BIG landmark of 1,000 course visits this year. That plan was obviously out of the window come March.

We've still been able to visit a total of 46 courses in 2020, including revisits. 15 of them were new layouts to us. We've been able to visit eight courses during the pandemic (March to December), playing two of them.

Playing minigolf in 2020

One of those played was the Gator Adventure Golf at Escape Entertainment in Chorley, Lancashire in August. It was the first new minigolf course we played in almost six months and the first course we played during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Gator Adventure Golf at Escape Entertainment in Chorley, Lancashire

The second course we played was the Cae Glas Park Crazy Golf course in Oswestry, Shropshire in September. We first played that 18-hole layout in 2009 and had revisited it in 2012.

Cae Glas Park Crazy Golf course in Oswestry, Shropshire

The last new course Emily and I played together was the Sunnybank Gardens Crazy Golf layout in Hatfield, Doncaster on the 19th January.

Sunnybank Gardens Crazy Golf course in Hatfield, Doncaster

The last new course I played before the first Coronavirus pandemic lockdown was the CLUB GOLF pop-up minigolf in King's Cross, London on the 25th February.

CLUB GOLF pop-up minigolf in King's Cross, London

The last course of any kind I played before the Coronavirus pandemic lockdown was at Junkyard Golf on First Street in Manchester on the 9th March.

Junkyard Golf on First Street in Manchester

Other firsts and lasts of 2020

  • The last course we visited before the Coronavirus pandemic lockdown was The Lost Valley Adventure Golf at Amazonia in the Market Place Shopping Centre, Bolton on the 14th March.
  • The first course we visited where we saw social distancing measures was the Bruntwood Pitch & Putt course in Cheadle Hulme on the 23rd May.
  • The first previously played course we visited during the Coronavirus pandemic was the Crazy Golf layout at Wythenshawe Park in Manchester on 21st June.
  • The first new course to us that we visited during the Coronavirus pandemic was the Pitch & Putt course at Wythenshawe Park in Manchester, also on the 21st June.
  • The other new courses we visited this year were Puttstars Mini Golf in Rochdale, the Putting Green at Victoria Park in Swinton, the Pitch & Putt at Buile Hill Park, Salford, and the new Adventure Golf course at Fairhaven Lake in Lytham St Annes.

We've now been to a total of 956 courses since September 2006. 917 of those have been in the British Isles. 39 have been in eleven overseas countries including Australia, Austria, Belgium, Finland, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Poland, Singapore, Spain, Sweden and the USA.

New course visit numbers year by year:

  • 2020 = 15 courses.
  • 2019 = 82 courses.
  • 2018 = 64 courses.
  • 2017 = 74 courses.
  • 2016 = 47 courses.
  • 2015 = 84 courses.

New minigolf courses in the UK

We've continued to research, monitor and promote the game and know about at least another 50 new courses now open, being built, in development or planned to open in the UK. It'll be nice to swing by them when it's safe to get back out on the road again.

Putting at Home

2020 was also a year for Putting at Home and we've enjoyed competing in Putt18 tournaments with players from the USA, Australia and New Zealand. It's also been a pleasure to be a part of the Filwood Fantastic Mini Golf Club in Bristol.

You can also check out our Big Mini Golf Bucket List for ideas of minigolf things to do during the pandemic.

Related blog posts:

Scorecard and notebook from the 2016 WAGM in Kosovo

Many thanks to my friend and minigolf rival Lavdim Zylfiu for sending me a scorecard and notebook from the 2016 World Adventure Golf Masters tournament held at the Prishtina Pro Mini Golf course in Prishtina, Kosovo. Two very nice additions to my minigolf collection.

Notebook and scorecard from the World Adventure Golf Masters 2016 at Prishtina Pro Mini Golf in Kosovo

Notebook from the World Adventure Golf Masters 2016 at Prishtina Pro Mini Golf in Kosovo

Scorecard from the World Adventure Golf Masters 2016 at Prishtina Pro Mini Golf in Kosovo

Check out the Kosovo Minigolf Federation website for more information.

Happy Christmas Eve

The Home Alone hole at Teezers Retro Golf in Coventry

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Scorecard from the Adventure Golf course at Bowling Brno

A look at a minigolf scorecard from Bowling Brno in the Czech Republic.


A big thank you to my friend and minigolf rival Lavdim Zylfiu for sending me a scorecard from the Adventure Golf course at Bowling Brno in the Czech Republic. It's a very nice addition to my minigolf collection.

Scorecard from the Adventure Golf course at Bowling Brno

Scorecard from the Adventure Golf course at Bowling Brno

Scorecard from the Adventure Golf course at Bowling Brno

Visit the Bowling Brno website for more information.

Minigolf at the Vasaparken in Vasastan, Stockholm

A look at the Swedish Felt minigolf course at the Vasaparken in Vasastan, Stockholm.


Minigolf at the Vasaparken in Vasastan, Stockholm


One of those was the Swedish Felt minigolf course at the Vasaparken in Vasastan, Stockholm.

Minigolf at the Vasaparken in Vasastan, Stockholm

It became the 802nd course visited overall on our tour, and the 33rd overseas. It's a nice looking Swedish Felt minigolf course, but was unplayable because of the snowy conditions at the time of our visit.

Minigolf at the Vasaparken in Vasastan, Stockholm

The Carphone Warehouse in Leigh

A look at a lost shop in Leigh.

The Carphone Warehouse on Bradshawgate in Leigh, Greater Manchester - one of the 531 standalone shops closed by the brand in April of this year.

The Carphone Warehouse on Bradshawgate in Leigh, Greater Manchester

The Carphone Warehouse was founded in 1989 and while the brand still exists, products and services are now offered within Currys PC World stores.

Back in 1999 The Carphone Warehouse purchased Tandy's operations in the UK. My first job was at a Tandy franchise in 1995 and I've found traces of that brand in Hitchin and Saint Annes on the Sea on my travels.

Been up to much this year?

What have you been watching during lockdown?


Blockbuster Entertainment postcard by Boomerang

I managed to find these nice Blockbuster Entertainment postcards by Boomerang earlier this year. I think they sum up 2020 nicely.

Blockbuster Entertainment postcard by Boomerang

Blockbuster Entertainment postcard by Boomerang

I've enjoyed researching the lost brand and seeking out remnants of old Blockbuster stores in the limited time we've been allowed outdoors during the pandemic.

Blockbuster Entertainment postcard by Boomerang

Check out my guest post about Blockbuster Video on the Picture Postcard Magic blog from Reflections of a Bygone Age.


Picture Postcard Magic 31st October 2020 with Richard Gottfried What have you been watching during lockdown? With 2020...

Posted by Reflections of a Bygone Age on Saturday, 31 October 2020

A crazy golf course postcard from Blackpool

A look at an old minigolf course postcard from Blackpool.


The unposted postcard shows the Crazy Golf course that was located right outside the Pleasure Beach. It was removed in 2008 and replaced by an Adventure Golf layout. I won the Pleasure Beach Open tournament on that course in 2009.

South Shore and Promenade, Blackpool. PT18828. Unposted
The postcard is likely to be from the late 1970s

Related blog posts:

Miniature Golf Day 2021

Date for your diary - Miniature Golf Day 2021.

Miniature Golf Day always takes place on the 21st September. Next year that will be a Tuesday.

Miniature Golf Day 2021

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

A Weetabix Crazy Golf postcard

Until recently I hadn't had a Weetabix Crazy Golf postcard in my collection.

This advertising postcard from 1983 shows the Weetabix Gang playing a game of minigolf and is one of a set. Other activities the gang get up to include playing cricket on the beach, building a sandcastle, playing a test-of-strength machine and fishing on a pier.

A Weetabix Gang Crazy Mini Golf Weeta-Card postcard from 1983

The Weeta-Card was used to enter a Golf Video Giveaway and posted from Reading, Berkshire to Leatherhead, Surrey. Unfortunately the postmark cancellation is too feint to make out the date of posting.

The Weetabix Gang consisted of Brian, Bixie, Brains, Crunch and Dunc. The Crazy Golf Weeta-Card shows Bixie playing the minigolf hole, Brian as her opponent, with Dunc and Crunch looking on. I don't know what Brains was up to as he's nowhere to be seen.

Related blog posts:

- Postcards

- Advertising

- Crazy Golf

- Minigolf

- Breakfast

- Cereals

Link:

- Weetabix

What did this building used to be?

A bit of retail archaeology in Leigh, Greater Manchester.


Londis, Ellie D's Tattoo Studio and Grainey's Barbers on Holden Road in Leigh
A new Londis, Ellie D's Tattoo Studio and Grainey's Barbers on Holden Road in Leigh - but what did it used to be?

It's interesting to see how the world of retail and buying behaviour changes over time.

------

It was once a Blockbuster Video Express.

After it was a Blockbuster store the unit on Holden Road became a Best-One shop. It is currently home to three businesses, with one section vacant.

Londis on Holden Road in Leigh

Lost Blockbusters

Blockbuster Video ceased operations in the UK in December 2013. At the start of that year there were 528 Blockbuster locations in the UK. The number dwindled until October when only 264 shops remained. The remaining stores closed on the 16th December.

The first Blockbuster Video store had opened in Dallas, Texas, USA on the 19th October 1985.

Blockbuster Video entered the UK video rental market in 1989 following the purchase of Ritz Video.

Old Blockbuster Video store in Prescot, Merseyside
The QuikDrop box is still in place at the old store location in Prescot, Merseyside

We've found a few empty Blockbuster stores on our travels, including the shops in Fallowfield, Manchester and Colne, Lancashire. We've also seen remnants of signage and QuikDrop boxes in a number of locations.

An old Putting Green postcard from Blackpool

A look at an old miniature golf postcard from Blackpool.

This old postcard showing the Putting Green at the North Shore in Blackpool was posted on the 10th of October 1938.

The Putting Green, North Shore, Blackpool. Posted 10 October 1938

We've visited the course on our Crazy World of Minigolf Tour. Unfortunately the kiosk was closed so we couldn't get a game. At that time in 2009 there was also a Crazy Golf layout next to the grass Putting Course.

Monday, December 21, 2020

Jurassic Putt Crazy Golf in Lenwade, Norwich

A look at the Jurassic Putt Crazy Golf course at Roarr! Dinosaur Adventure in Lenwade, Norwich.

My brother and his family visited Roarr! Dinosaur Adventure in Lenwade, Norwich in February of this year and while there spotted the Jurassic Putt Crazy Golf course.

On a recent return visit he sent me this snap of the sanitisation station outside the entrance to the course.

Jurassic Putt Crazy Golf at Roarr! Dinosaur Adventure in Lenwade, Norwich

Jurassic Putt Crazy Golf is an 8-hole layout and play on the course is included with entry to the park.

Visit the Roarr! Dinosaur Adventure website for more information.

Pound £ Fever

What a shop name. Apt for 2020.

Pound £ Fever shop in Leigh
Pound £ Fever in Leigh

I reckon Pound £ Fever and COVID-19 Buster at the opposite end of Bradshawgate in Leigh are big rivals.

National Miniature Golf Day 2021

Date for your diary - National Miniature Golf Day 2021.

National Miniature Golf Day is always on the second Saturday in May. In 2021 that will be on Saturday, 8th May.

National Miniature Golf Day 2021

Blogiversary of the Ham and Egger Files

I've been blogging for 14 years today.


Blogiversary of the Ham and Egger Files

I'm often asked me how a blog that is mostly about miniature golf has the name the 'Ham and Egger Files'? The answer is that it didn't initially start out life as a minigolf blog.

I published my first post about how I planned to participate in as many obscure and minority sports as I could and see what would happen with the limited sporting ability I have!

The term 'ham and egger' has connotations ranging from that of 'ordinary person' to that of 'loser'. The origin of the term comes from prize fighters whose modest skills wouldn’t let them win large purses. Therefore, the fighter or their manager - who received a percentage of purses won - were never able to afford to eat better than ham and eggs.

Since that first post I published more than 4,000 posts! Admittedly a large number of them have been about minigolf.

Our interest in minigolf and what would soon become our Crazy World of Minigolf Tour had actually begun on the 30th September 2006, but I didn't publish a post about the sport until the 29th January 2007 when I announced that I had joined the British Minigolf Association - a competition circuit I made my actual debut on in Southend-on-Sea on the 28th April 2007.

Since then we've visited 956 miniature golf courses. 917 of those have been in the British Isles, while 39 have been in eleven overseas countries including Australia, Austria, Belgium, Finland, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Poland, Singapore, Spain, Sweden and the USA.

If you're wondering what happened to the quest to play lots of different sports, that has continued and I've certainly participated in some interesting events over the years!

A huge thank you goes to everyone who has ever read one of my posts, commented, shared, or guest blogged on the site, it is very much appreciated.

Sunday, December 20, 2020

A Mask Vending Machine

We saw our first Mask Vending Machine at the Spinning Gate shopping centre in Leigh, Greater Manchester on Saturday.

A Mask Vending Machine at the Spinning Gate shopping centre in Leigh
A #maskbox PPE vending machine

What a time we're living through!

I've been documenting the Covid-19 and social distancing signs I've seen during the pandemic here on my blog as well as on my Instagram account.

Related blog posts:

- Vending

- Leigh

- Shopping

An old crazy golf postcard from Blackpool

This old minigolf postcard by Photo Precision Limited shows the South Shore Baths and Promenade in Blackpool.

South Shore Baths and Promenade, Blackpool. PLX18827. Photo Precision Limited. Posted 17 Sep 1980
I'd say the prominent feature on the card is the crazy golf course in the foreground

It was posted on the 17th September 1980. A month before I was born.

Last year I had my family's cinefilm converted and was amazed to see my parents playing crazy golf in Blackpool in August 1980. That round was on the course at Princess Parade on the North Shore.

The South Shore Crazy Golf course was located right outside the Pleasure Beach. It was removed in 2008 and replaced by an Adventure Golf layout. I won the Pleasure Beach Open tournament on that course in 2009.

COVID-19 Buster in Leigh

We spotted this interesting shop while in Leigh, Greater Manchester on Saturday.

COVID-19 Buster in Leigh

It's the best shop name I've seen during the pandemic.

COVID-19 Buster in Leigh

COVID-19 Buster sells PPE to businesses and individuals.

No sitting

A look at a shopping centre bench in the time of social distancing.


Bench in the Spinning Gate shopping centre in Leigh
A bench in the Spinning Gate shopping centre in Leigh

We've seen a few other benches with social distancing signs and rules about sitting down during the pandemic, including a pair of socially distanced benches in Spinningfields, Manchester and these two in Colne, Lancashire.

I've been documenting the Covid-19 and social distancing signs I've seen during the pandemic here on the blog as well as on my Instagram account.

JJB Sports in Leigh

A look at an old JJB Sports shop in Leigh.

The shopfront of the old JJB Sports shop on Bradshawgate in Leigh, Greater Manchester is still visible.

The old JJB Sports shop in Leigh, Greater Manchester. December 2020

The company went into administration in 2012 with stores closing in October and was dissolved in November that year.

The old JJB Sports shop in Leigh, Greater Manchester. December 2020
The retail space occupies the ground floor of the Leigh Friendly Co-operative Society building that was designed in 1897 and opened in 1899.

The JJB brand is now owned by Sports Direct.

This shopfront on the town's main shopping street retains the pre-2010 branding on the signage.

The old JJB Sports shop in Leigh, Greater Manchester. December 2020

Old shops and lost brands

One of my areas of interest is in old retail brands - I'm a marketer by profession and two of my first jobs in the 1990's and the year 2000 were at Tandy and Toys R Us. It's been fascinating to find remnants of a number of lost, dead and defunct brands on the high street and at retail parks. Some of them include Blockbuster Video, Woolworths and RadioShack, as well as examples of previous brand iterations such as Happy Shopper.