A look at four Swedish Felt Mini Golf courses we've visited in Essex.
|Playing Mini Golf on the pier in Southend-on-Sea|
There are a wide-range of minigolf courses in the world. Some of the designs are formal and standardised, while others are more outlandish and fantasy courses. Some sit in-between the two extremes.
Feltgolf and the WMF
World Minigolf Sport Federation tournaments are held on four types of minigolf courses and the WMF has its own definitions for the sport.
These are Concrete, Miniaturegolf, Minigolf Open Standard (MOs) and Feltgolf.
Feltgolf courses (also known as Swedish Felt) are a type of course made of a felt covered wooden base consisting of 18-holes (often described as lanes) from a selection of 32 standardised designs.
|How to play mini golf|
Feltgolf in the UK
There are no standard full-size Feltgolf courses in the UK. There was at one time a version at The Green in Hither Green, London. However this has long since closed.
It was a brilliant venue and we enjoyed competing in a number of league, club and national tournaments there.
|The Green indoor mini golf course in Hither Green, London|
Feltgolf in Finland and Austria
We have played official Feltgolf courses on our Crazy World of Minigolf Tour. The first was at the Manse Ratagolf Club in Tampere, Finland in 2008. I also played the course at the Askoe Wien Wasserpark in Vienna, Austria in 2010. That layout was the longest Swedish Felt course in Europe.
|Playing an incredibly long Feltgolf hole in Finland as my team-mate Steve 'F1' Gow looks on|
|Playing Feltgolf at the Askoe Wien Wasserpark in Vienna, Austria|
Feltgolf versions in the UK
There are quite a few smaller versions of Feltgolf in the UK and they do offer a different putting challenge to other crazy, mini and adventure golf courses. I'd say they tend to be trickier and more technical courses to play, where you need to be very accurate with the line of your tee-shot and any subsequent shots you have to take.
Feltgolf in Essex, England
Looking back on our travels we've been to four Swedish Felt courses in the county of Essex. These were in Dovercourt and Blake End in May 2009, Walton on the Naze in August 2013 and on the end of Southend Pier in June 2016.
Dovercourt - May 2009
|Playing the Crazy Golf course at Low Road in Dovercourt|
Blake End Craft Centre near Braintree - May 2009
|Playing on the Minigolf course at Blake End Craft Centre near Braintree|
Walton on the Naze - August 2013
|The Crazy Golf course at Coronation Gardens in Walton on the Naze|
Southend Pier - June 2016
|Putting on the Southend Pier Crazy Golf course|
The game in Sweden
The first minigolf courses created in Sweden were introduced in 1930 and the popularity of the game saw the formation of the Swedish Minigolf Association in 1936.
The game is still incredibly popular in Sweden and the country is a powerhouse in international tournaments.
We played for the Great Britain team in the 2011 WMF Nations Cup held in Stockholm. We also returned to Sweden in February 2018. While we've visited Swedish Felt courses in the country, we've never played a round of Swedish Felt Mini Golf there.
|The closest I've got to playing Swedish Felt Mini Golf in Sweden|
Another course to play
There is another version of Swedish Felt Mini Golf in Essex, it's at Caddies in Southend-on-Sea. The competitive socialising venue opened up in the seaside town shortly after our last visit. Some of my cousins who live in the area have played it and gave it the thumbs up. We're looking forward to playing it in the future.