Saturday, April 04, 2020

The Lost Valley Adventure Golf at Amazonia

A look at The Lost Valley Adventure Golf at Amazonia in the Market Place shopping centre in Bolton.


The Lost Valley Adventure Golf at Amazonia

It was the last course we visited before the social distancing lockdown commenced.


Back in December 2016 it became the 420th course played and 720th visited overall on the Crazy World of Minigolf Tour.


We've now been to 948 courses since September 2006.

I wonder where number 949 will be?

Friday, April 03, 2020

A postcard from Pontins Prestatyn Holiday Centre

A look at an old postcard from Pontins Prestatyn Holiday Centre.


One of the old postcards I bought at the recent Stockport postcard fair was this one sent to Chester in 1987.


Pontin's Prestatyn Holiday Centre. Bamforth & Co. Ltd. 1987
Pontin's Prestatyn Holiday Centre. Bamforth & Co. Ltd. Postally used in 1987

The Bamforth & Co. Ltd. card gives a nice view of the holiday camp.



Pontins Prestatyn Sands was the setting for the Holiday on the Buses and we've stayed there twice. The swimming pool and main building on the card are still instantly recognisable today.

Pontin's Prestatyn Sands holiday camp
Outside the main building at Pontin's Prestatyn Sands holiday camp in 2014

The July 2019 issue of Picture Postcard Monthly magazine contains an article I wrote about Pontins postcards
.

One of my prized minigolf possessions is from the Pontins Holiday Village. It's something of a crazy golf postcard holy grail as the sender wrote about the course depicted on the card.

Pontin's Prestatyn Holiday Village. Photo Precision Limited R5605. Postally used 8 July 1977
Pontin's Prestatyn Holiday Village. Photo Precision Limited R5605. Postally used 8 July 1977

Thursday, April 02, 2020

Competitive socialising in isolation

Keeping social and competitive in the new world of physical distancing.


Competitive socialising and competitive isolation in the world of social distancing

I've been thinking a lot about what'll happen post-pandemic, where I want to visit and what I want to do when things begin to 'return to normal'. My bucket list of places to go is filling up fast.


What that 'normal' looks like is certainly up for debate. I think it'll take a while before we're able to go about our daily lives as carefree as most of us were lucky enough to be as before coronavirus struck.


That said the changes we will need to make to how we live our lives will include some positives.

While we've been at home and practicing safe social distancing we've found a number of ways to stay social and have fun.

Admittedly I'm still spending a bit too much time on social media and will look to cut this down. I need to read more books, watch more films and play video-games, rather than scrolling through Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn where you can quite easily be bombarded with bad news.

Like many people we're using apps and platforms in different ways and I've had more video calls with friends, family and colleagues than ever before. Why didn't we use video chat more before coronavirus? Surely this was one of the attractive advancements of the future promised to us by sci-fi films and TV back in the 80s and 90s, as well as being heralded as something we'd all be doing by the presenters on Tomorrow's World.

I suppose we don't readily break out of our routines or comfort zones unless we're really pushed, something the current situation has forced upon us.

Competitive socialising and social distancing


Before the pandemic hit the phrase 'competitive socialising' had become a popular way to describe going out, with lots of new operators catering to the demand of a public who wanted to compete at something while eating and drinking in a nice setting.

Whether it was table tennis, darts, shuffleboard, bingo, tenpin bowling, arcade games, or my personal favourite minigolf, people were finding new ways to quench their thirst, have fun and compete without signing-up to a full sports league or taking things too seriously. But we all know you have to take competitive socialising seriously – right?

'Competitive socialising' may, for the time being at least, have been replaced on everybody's lips by 'social distancing'. But when we're able to safely emerge from isolation there will be an appetite for playing games, having fun and doing new things.

Some of those experiences may not actually be totally new though, as people will want to tap in to the things they enjoyed, or were good at before lockdown.

I really love playing crazy golf and visiting new miniature golf courses, which explains why I've spent the last 14 years travelling to almost 1,000 courses.

My interest in minigolf comes partly from the memories of playing the game as a kid, as well as the fun I've had travelling the world to visit new courses and compete in tournaments with Emily. I also enjoy the aesthetics, design and architecture of courses. Seeing the rise in popularity, innovations in the sector, and the development of the game has been brilliant too.

Competitive socialising wasn't a new thing. It was a new way to describe something humans have done for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. While many of the sports and games we enjoy were codified in the last 150 years or so, people have been competing against one another – for honour, pride, money and bragging rights – for centuries.

A new way of doing things


Competitive socialising hasn't gone away. But the pandemic has certainly changed how we enact it.

Over the last few weeks I have seen how quickly people and businesses have adapted to cater for that need we have to fill our down time and have fun.

Our regular pub quiz at the Micker Brook in Cheadle Hulme is now online, with participants from the pub taking part in regular Zoom conference calls while using the SpeedQuizzing App as our team answer sheet. Our excellent host Mike Prince runs a number of quiz nights at pubs around Greater Manchester. The lockdown has meant we've been part of ‘pub’ quizzes we wouldn't normally have participated in, as the teams from across all five pubs are now playing together up to three nights a week all whilst enjoying some friendly rivalry.

I've also seen a number of friends on Facebook hosting regular quiz nights and drawing in people who may not previously have been able to take part, had the event taken place down the pub.

On the minigolf side of things our friends at The Putting Penguin were quick to organise the Putting Penguin Pandemic Putt Off online – a stay-at-home putting competition with entries being submitted from around the world.

Similarly Tom and Robin at A Couple of Putts in the US have been sharing all the examples of putting at home on their Instagram story to illustrate the fun to be had.

One of those competitions in the USA is the Home Mini Golf Challenge organised by the team at Cool Crest Miniature Golf in San Antonio, Texas.

Another was the At Home Challenge organised by Fun Fore All Family Fun Park in Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania where customers were invited to design their own versions of attractions and rides from the fun park.

Here in the UK Plonk Golf have put together a Plonk at Home package for people young and old to encourage home minigolfing fun and also to raise money for charity.

I've also seen lockdown contests from Inverness Crazy Golf and Volcano Falls Adventure Golf in their two Castleford and Edinburgh locations.

Before the lockdown Roxy Ball Room had started work on their new location in Manchester, which will be a local venue for us. As well as an online Roxy Isolation Pong game the brand has launched a competition on Instagram where a lucky winner will receive a party for 50 people at their local venue when this is all over.

Emily and I have put together a Big Mini Golf Bucket List with 12 activities you can ticket off while in lockdown as well as a few ideas for what to do when allowed back outside.

In the world of dodgeball the sport's governing body British Dodgeball have been sharing lesson plans for younger players and sharing video challenges on social media. While the Manchester Bees Dodgeball Club issued a Loo Roll Challenge to other clubs.

These have all been great ways to combat the impact of social distancing and isolation.


Competitive isolation


Social distancing is a bit of a misnomer if you think about it, as the end result from the actions we take is to limit physical contact and proximity to others, rather than being anti-social. I've certainly been social, and seen a lot more social interaction, albeit online, in the last few weeks. We've got a lot more planned in case the weeks spent indoors with limited outside activity turn to months.

A better term for what we're seeing and experiencing is 'competitive isolation'. Yes, we're indoors and cut-off from friends, family and colleagues for a long time. But ingenuity and the desire to have fun, interact and compete is still there.

I'm a big fan of darts and love playing and watching the game whenever I get the chance. Last night the Professional Darts Corporation held the first-ever Darts From Home event, with a five-player round-robin tournament won by South Africa's Devon Petersen. From the positive feedback and enthusiasm from fans this looks to be the first of many home-based pro darts events streamed online.

Speaking of streams, last week saw The Stockport Show launched online, with a daily broadcast on Facebook and YouTube. The aim is to help combat loneliness and isolation as well as bringing the community together and have fun.

I found out about this show after seeing a retweet about a Battle of the Borough. This online vote has been organised to get some community spirit, local rivalry and fun going in lieu of any sporting action. The tournament bracket and the areas of the borough competing certainly caused some interest when they were announced on Twitter on Tuesday evening.

As I said following the first online pub quiz after lockdown "It was superb. A brilliant way to beat social isolation during social distancing through competitive socialising using technology."

What are you doing to beat the isolation blues? Have you taken part in any competitive socialising online during the lockdown? Do let me know.



While a lot of the minigolf world is out of action, plans are still being drawn up for new courses, work is ongoing to finish courses where permissible, and ideas formulated for when it's safe to get back out on the course. If you'd like to have a chat about competitive socialising, minigolf, marketing, or minigolf marketing do get in touch.

Snooker at CLUB GOLF

Anyone for snooker?


CLUB GOLF pop-up crazy colf course at Coal Drops Yard in King's Cross, London

The last new minigolf course played on the Crazy World of Minigolf Tour was the pop-up rave-inspired art installation Crazy Golf course at Coal Drops Yard in King's Cross, London.



It was the 948th course visited on our travels since September 2006.


CLUB GOLF pop-up crazy colf course at Coal Drops Yard in King's Cross, London
Anyone for snooker?

One of the 9-holes was snooker-themed.

CLUB GOLF pop-up crazy colf course at Coal Drops Yard in King's Cross, London
A snooker crazy golf hole

CLUB GOLF pop-up crazy colf course at Coal Drops Yard in King's Cross, London
The putting surface

CLUB GOLF pop-up crazy colf course at Coal Drops Yard in King's Cross, London
Rules

CLUB GOLF pop-up crazy colf course at Coal Drops Yard in King's Cross, London
The pipe takes the ball down along the stairs

CLUB GOLF pop-up crazy colf course at Coal Drops Yard in King's Cross, London
The bottom part of the hole

CLUB GOLF pop-up crazy colf course at Coal Drops Yard in King's Cross, London
The green

Take a look at some of the stranger miniature golf and cue-sports crossover games we've played in this blog post.

We've seen and played a number of minigolf/snooker cross-over holes, courses and obstacles
We've seen and played a number of minigolf/snooker cross-over holes, courses and obstacles

Putting Green at Marine Gardens in Worthing

Two old miniature golf postcards from Worthing.


Two of the old minigolf postcards I bought at the recent Stockport postcard fair were of the Putting course at Marine Gardens in West Worthing.


Neither were-posted and are both undated.


Marine Gardens, West Worthing. PT3206. Photo Precision Limited
Marine Gardens, West Worthing. PT3206. Photo Precision Limited 

Putting Green, Marine Gardens, Worthing. Plastichrome by Colourpicture
Putting Green, Marine Gardens, Worthing. Plastichrome by Colourpicture

We first visited the course in 2010 and revisited last April.

The Putting course at Marine Gardens in Worthing in July 2010
The Putting course at Marine Gardens in Worthing in July 2010

It hasn't changed too much over the years and is a nice spot to visit if you're in Worthing.

A postcard of Piccadilly Gardens in Manchester

A look at a postcard of Piccadilly Gardens in Manchester sent from Stockport in 1970.


The most recent Stockport postcard fair at Stockport Town Hall was a treasure trove of old miniature golf postcards. However, one that also caught my eye was this card showing Piccadilly Gardens in Manchester.


Piccadilly Gardens, Manchester. By Lilywhite Postcards., Brighouse. Published by Colin Richardson Printers Limited. Posted from Stockport in 1970
Piccadilly Gardens, Manchester. By Lilywhite Postcards., Brighouse. Published by Colin Richardson Printers Limited. Posted from Stockport in 1970

It's not just the image on the front that caught my eye as the message/address side has a very nice Stockport postmark cancellation celebrating the 750th Charter Anniversary of the town!

Stockport's 750th Charter Anniversary postmark cancellation

Ancient boroughs were historic units of lower tier local government.

The stamp has been removed and so some of the postmark is missing, but you can see it was sent from Stockport, Cheshire to Malvern, Worcestershire.

Minigolfnews guest blog post about the Crazy Golf Museum

My latest guest blog at Minigolfnews is about the Crazy Golf Museum.

The Crazy Golf Museum

Wednesday, April 01, 2020

Plonk Golf in Shoreditch

A look at the Plonk Golf course in Shoreditch, London.


This time last year we were down in London and swung by the Plonk Golf course in Shoreditch.


Plonk Golf in Shoreditch, London

It was the 860th course visited on the Crazy World of Minigolf Tour since September 2006.


The first Plonk Golf course we played was the pop-up at Efes Snooker Club in Dalston back in April 2015. Since then the team at Plonk Golf have opened a number of other pop-ups, as well as a few permanent courses.

The Battle of Stockport Borough

There can be only one winner!


Stockport infographic at The Old Rectory Pub in Stockport town centre

As there is a lack of sport going on anywhere at the moment The Stockport Show has organised The Battle of the Borough to find out which bit of Stockport is the best!



There are a number a mouthwatering clashes and the event has certainly got me and fellow Stopfordians excited.


Each day two areas of the Metropolitan Borough of Stockport will go face-to-face in a live poll on Twitter and Facebook every day to decide the ultimate champions.

My area - Cheadle Hulme - is competing as The Cheadles alongside Cheadle Royal, Cheadle Village and Cheadle Heath. Our first round tie is with Reddish.

I've got a bit of a soft spot for reddish as it's home to Reddish South railway station. One of the UK's least used stations and one of the stops on the infamous once-a-week Parliamentary ghost train!

I'm really looking forward to following the action as it unfolds.

An old Metropolitan Borough of Stockport community noticeboard on Adswood Road in Cheadle Hulme. This was still in place until last year when a car ploughed into it in a massive crash at the crossroads
Which bit will be declared the best bit of the borough

The Stockport Show is a live stream for Stockport Borough promoting local businesses and helping isolated and lonely people to connect.

Check out The Stockport Show on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Stockport's Plague Stone

A look at the Stockport Plague Stone in Stockport Museum.


One of the places I highly recommend visiting in Stockport once the coronavirus quarantine lockdown is lifted is the museum in the Market Place.


It's full of interesting exhibits and artifacts.


One of which is a Plague Stone dating back to the 1600's. A very relevant exhibit given the current climate!

The Stockport Plague Stone
The Stockport Plague Stone

The Stockport Plague Stone

Visit the Stockport Museum website for more information.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

A postcard from Butlin's Pwllheli

A look at The Putting Greens and Lawns at Butlin's Pwllheli.


The recent Stockport postcard fair was a goldmine of old miniature golf postcards.


One of which was this card showing The Putting Greens and Lawns at Butlin's Pwllheli.


Butlin's Pwllheli The Putting Greens and Lawns. CT1306. 1 June 1964
Butlin's Pwllheli The Putting Greens and Lawns. CT1306. Posted from the camp to Boston, Lincolnshire on the 1st June 1964

My family often went on holiday to Butlin's holiday camps in Minehead, Bognor Regis and Ayr - and I spent many summers in the 80's and 90's at the Barry Island Holiday Camp, which was formerly a Butlin's camp.

Butlin's Somerwest World Monorail. From the Gottfried family photo archive 2019
My brother Christopher foudnd this snap of us riding the monorail at Butlin's Minehead back in the early 90's while looking through some old family photos

Scorecards from Swansea Crazy Golf

A pair of old scorecards from Swansea Crazy Golf.


I bought two old Swansea Crazy Golf scorecards at the last postcard fair I attended in Stockport.


One is an adult ticket/scorecard and the other is for a child.


They're lovely items.

Scorecard from Swansea Crazy Golf

Scorecard from Swansea Crazy Golf

Scorecard from Swansea Crazy Golf

Scorecard from Swansea Crazy Golf

Very rulesy!

Has anyone ever met a Crazy Golf course Ticket Inspector?

We played the two Crazy Golf courses in Swansea back in 2009. I'll have to dig out the scorecards from those games to compare.

Crazy Golf at Southend Park in The Mumbles Swansea
Crazy Golf at Southend Park in The Mumbles Swansea

It's interesting to note the scorecards were printed in Ashton-under-Lyne. Looking online Williamson was a big printing business and produced tickets for all many of events, activities and transport. The business was sold in the late 1970's.

Printed in Ashton-under-Lyne for a course in Swansea and bought in Stockport from a seller from Southport.

Minigolf on the Great Orme in Llandudno

One of the funniest things I've seen during the coronavirus pandemic lockdown are the photos and videos of the mountain goats roaming around Llandudno town centre. They've got free reign as streets are free of people.

We really like visiting Llandudno and the Great Orme. The mountain is home to three miniature golf courses!

Alpine Adventure Golf course on the Great Orme in Llandudno

We haven't seen any mountain goats up there, but it was fun seeing the sheep there roaming freely near the toboggan run


The Rocky Pines Adventure Golf course at the summit is the highest minigolf course in the British Isles.

Rocky Pines Adventure Golf in Llandudno

Half way down is the Alpine Adventure Golf course at the Llandudno Ski and Snowboard Centre.

Alpine Adventure Golf course on the Great Orme in Llandudno

If you head down to the town centre you'll find a Pitch & Putt course.

Great Orme Family Golf in Llandudno

Once the world re-opens we're really looking forward to getting back out to the seaside.

Half way up the Great Orme in Llandudno

Monday, March 30, 2020

Happy National Pencil Day

A selection of minigolf pencils from our travels.


Minigolf pencils

Thanks to the Derwent Pencil Museum for reminding us of this important day.


We love playing minigolf courses and it's brilliant when we find one that has branded pencils to score the game with.


It's a superb bit of minigolf marketing too.

If you'd like your minigolf course pencil (or other items of merch and ephemera) displayed and archived in the Crazy Golf Museum please do get in touch.

Just one of the many minigolf pencils in the Crazy Golf Museum - from the Wye Valley Miniatvre Golf course in Symonds Yat West
Just one of the many minigolf pencils in the Crazy Golf Museum - from the Wye Valley Miniatvre Golf course in Symonds Yat West

You can see miniature golf course pens and pencils on the Crazy Golf Museum website
.

A scorecard and pencils from Disney's Winter Summerland Miniature Golf in Orlando, Florida from our friend Shelley Barrett
A scorecard and pencils from Disney's Winter Summerland Miniature Golf in Orlando, Florida from our friend Shelley Barrett

Arnold Palmer Putting Courses Crazy Golf pencils from the course in Prestatyn
Arnold Palmer Putting Courses Crazy Golf pencils from the course in Prestatyn

A pencil from Lumberjax Mini Golf in New Zealand from our friend James Astrop
A pencil from Lumberjax Mini Golf in New Zealand from our friend James Astrop

A pencil from Urban Putt in San Francisco from our friend and minigolf rival (and sometimes team-mate) Kevin Moseley
A pencil from Urban Putt in San Francisco from our friend and minigolf rival (and sometimes team-mate) Kevin Moseley

Doug Fishbone's Leisure Land Golf minigolf pencil
A pencil from Doug Fishbone's Leisure Land Golf

Minigolf pencil from Swing by Golfbaren in Stockholm, Sweden
Minigolf pencil from Swing by Golfbaren in Stockholm, Sweden 

A pencil from Swingers Crazy Golf in London
A pencil from Swingers Crazy Golf in London

A pencil from the CLUB GOLF crazy golf pop-up at Coal Drops Yard in King's Cross, London
A pencil from the CLUB GOLF crazy golf pop-up at Coal Drops Yard in King's Cross, London. This was the last course I played before the UK went into coronavirus pandemic lockdown / quarantine

An old postcard from the Putting Green, Denton Gardens, Worthing

Minigolf was first played in Denton Gardens on Tuesday 1st July 1924.


You can still enjoy a round of miniature golf on the Splash Point Mini Golf course there.


Splash Point Mini Golf was the 181st played on our Crazy World of Minigolf Tour.


Putting Green, Denton Gardens, Worthing. Photogravure by S. & E. Ltd., Hastings. Postally unused. Undated
Putting Green, Denton Gardens, Worthing. Photogravure by S. & E. Ltd., Hastings. Postally unused. Undated

Related blog posts:
A Putting Green postcard from Denton Park in Worthing
Splash Point Mini Golf
Worthing

An old Crazy Golf course at Alum Chine in Bournemouth

A look at an old minigolf course at Alum Chine in Bournemouth.


I bought a number of superb old postcards at the last fair I attended, one of them was this cracking old card showing a temporary / portable Crazy Golf course at Alum Chine, Bournemouth. It was printed by Deardon & Wade Bournemouth. It's postally unused and undated.


Postcard of Alum Chine, Bournemouth. Printed by Deardon & Wade Bournemouth.Postally unused. Undated
Postcard of Alum Chine, Bournemouth. Printed by Deardon & Wade Bournemouth.Postally unused. Undated

It's brilliant seeing old, long-gone miniature golf courses depicted on postcards. Portable and pop-up minigolf courses are very often seen as a modern thing. However there have been a number of seasonal set-ups at seaside locations over the years.



We were really looking forward to revisiting Bournemouth, Boscombe, Southbourne, Poole and Sandbanks next month. That trip is now postponed until next year.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

The Lost Valley Adventure Golf course at Amazonia in Bolton

A look at The Lost Valley Adventure Golf course at Amazonia in the Market Place Shopping Centre in Bolton.


The Lost Valley Adventure Golf course at Amazonia in Bolton

In 2016 The Lost Valley Adventure Golf course at Amazonia in Bolton became the 420th course played and 720th visited overall on the Crazy World of Minigolf Tour.


The Lost Valley Adventure Golf course at Amazonia in Bolton

We revisited on Saturday 14th March.


The Lost Valley Adventure Golf course at Amazonia in Bolton
  
The Lost Valley Adventure Golf course at Amazonia in Bolton

Check out The Lost Valley Adventure Golf website for more information.

Do read my blog posts about the growth of shopping centre minigolf and minigolf courses in Greater Manchester.