Check out my blog post about Halloween minigolf events.
What started as an exploration of the minigolf courses in the UK and around the world has exploded into all areas of the weird, wonderful and especially the unique. Sharing the great (and not so great) things we find, learn about and appreciate as we go!
Check out my blog post about Halloween minigolf events.
I played the three indoor adventure golf courses at Mr Mulligans Space Golf centre at Broadway Plaza in Birmingham a year ago today.
The Supernova, Asteroid and Mars Base courses at Mr Mulligans Space Golf were the 929th, 930th and 931st visited on our Crazy World of Minigolf Tour.
We've now been to 956 courses on our travels since September 2006.
Check out the Mr Mulligan website for more information, opening times and prices.
The Floodgate in Digbeth, Birmingham officially opened it's doors a year ago this Sunday.
|Pit-Pat table golf at The Floodgate in Digbeth, Birmingham|
It was nice to be the first player on the Pit-Pat table golf layout on the pre-opening night a year ago today as I'm a big fan of the minigolf and pool crossover game.
You can also play on indoor baseball batting cages and a curling rink at the social sports venue.
Visit The Floodgate website for more information, opening times and prices.
Check out the blog post from my visit to The Floodgate.
There are seven giant inflatable monsters to track down around the city centre.
|The Halloween in the City Dragon at The Printworks last year|
Check out the Visit Manchester website for more information and to download the location map.
Take a look at my blog posts from last year's Halloween in the City:
Garnet Carter created the first artificial miniature golf course in the USA in 1926. The first of the 'Tom Thumb Golf' brand of miniature golf course was an 18-hole layout located near Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
By 1930 there were some 25,000 miniature golf courses in the USA, 3,000 of which were the now patented Tom Thumb course franchises.
The course and fantasy theming caught the imagination of visitors and on the 23rd October 1930 the final of the first-ever National Tom Thumb Championship took place.
Qualifying events had taken place in all of the then 48 states of the USA, with 200 players representing 30 states in the grand final. The event had a total prize fund of $10,000, with the champion winning $2,000!
We haven't played a Tom Thumb Golf course on our travels, but we do have some nice old postcards of Tom Thumb courses in our collection. This one is of a course at Westende Bains in Belgium
Check out the Crazy Golf Museum website for more details of minigolf history.
A new themed, adults-only Crazy Golf course called Glory Holes is opening in Nottingham.
The 18-hole course, bar and diner will be located in the Hockley area and is scheduled to open in November.
Glory Holes is part of the Curious Venues group of bars and pubs.
Find out more on the Gloryholes indoor crazy golf course website.
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|Back on the 13th March I got to see a DeLorean time machine at MediaCity in Salford. How different times were then!|
|Last Saturday we found a video rental shop stocked with loads of VHS tapes. It was like stepping back in time! You can find B.V.C. - Bolton Video Centre in Little Lever|
|I got to see my first DeLorean at the Didsbury & South Manchester Car Show in Didsbury Park back in July 2019|
At its peak in 2004 there were more than 9,000 stores around the world. 500+ of which were in the UK.
There is now just one Blockbuster Video store left open. It's in Bend, Oregon.
Blockbuster Video entered the UK video rental market in 1989 following the purchase of Ritz Video.
I remember going to the Ritz Video shop on the Peachcroft Estate in my home town of Abingdon, Oxfordshire back in the late 80's and early 90's. That store became a Blockbuster and I rented some classics from there back in the day.
Blockbuster 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.
There are still clearly visible remnants of the brand on the high street and on retail parks almost seven years later.
This is the old Blockbuster Video store in Fallowfield, Manchester, UK.
We've also been to the Blockbuster Video Express in Colne, Lancashire and found the remains of quite a few other old stores.
Last Saturday happened to be National Video Shop Day and we were fortunate enough to stumble upon a video rental shop in Little Lever, Bolton! What are the odds?
|It was like stepping back in time|
The old-school video rental shop was fully stocked with VHS tapes. I haven't seen anything like it for years.
What a time capsule.
You can find B.V.C. - Bolton Video Centre in Little Lever.
This was the first Family Shopper I saw. It's in Ashton-under-Lyne, Tameside, Greater Manchester.
|In action in my tilt for the title|
I've also found that back when we were freely able to travel around the country we had unknowingly 'visited' some former stores, most notably in Felixstowe, Suffolk. There, the old sign with its distinctive torn ticket outline had been used for a new business.
Tracking down old Blockbuster Video stores I've noted that there were two in Barnsley, South Yorkshire. The one in Wombwell is now a charity shop and the old QuikDrop box is still in place. The other on Peel Street in the town centre is now a Taco Bell. We passed by it back in January 2019.
|Not a Blockbuster|
I always keep an eye out for Taco Bells on my travels. I think it's got something to do with the year 2032.
Sadly the old torn ticket sign from its days as a Blockbuster is long gone.
The Barnsley store closed along with the other last stores in December 2013. There had been 528 Blockbuster Video stores in the UK at the beginning of that year.
Peterborough could soon be home to a new glow-in-the-dark indoor crazy golf course.
It'll be a new course for us to visit on our Crazy World of Minigolf Tour when we're visiting friends in the area.
|Hole 4 of the Plonk Golf course in Shoreditch|
Plonk Golf are opening a new 9-hole indoor Crazy Golf course at Peckham Levels in London later this month.
West Park Golf Centre in Chelmsford, Essex will soon be home to a new adventure golf course.
The centre will be creating an 18-hole adventure golf course planned to open in January next year.
The course will be called Rascal Bay Adventure Golf and it'll be the third in the brand following the Brentwood, Essex and Manston, Kent locations.
Check out the West Park Golf Centre Facebook Page for more information.
We visited West Park Golf Centre on our Crazy World of Minigolf Tour way back in December 2009. The old Crazy Golf course there was the 157th course played on our travels. We've now been to 956 courses since 2006.
The inaugural Putt18 World Pro League season has concluded with Matt Ansley of New Zealand taking the title.
Matt was the wire-to-wire winner of the league with a tremendous display on the Putt18 Golf Putting Game Mat.
The Putt18 game mat consists of six tee-off boxes and three target score zones. Players must hit their balls from each of the tee boxes in turn aiming at the Par-4, Par-5 and Par-3 targets while avoiding fairways, bunkers and water hazards that carry penalty points. After the 18 shots have been played you tot up your score to see what you've shot for your round.
Players from Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain and the USA competed in the seven event series.
Each player had a 20-minute time limit to play four 18-hole rounds for a 72-hole total score in each of the seven events. There were additional points on offer for low scores and the round total.
20 players competed in the league. Matt Ansley took first place with a score of 866 points. Dave Gomm (GB) was runner-up with 693 points, with John Ansley (NZ) in third place with 655 points.
Also in the prize money were Cameron Couper (NZ) with 578 points and Josh Mars (AUS) with 455 points.
The leading US player was Pat Sheridan in 8th place on 352 points.
During the tournament Matt shot an average score of 63 per round.
As well as being runner-up Dave Gomm shot a world record low round score of 57.
In the team event New Zealand won, with Australia runners-up and Great Britain in third place.
I finished the league in 18th of 20 players with 107 points.
In the strokeplay rankings I finished in 17th place of 20 players with 2,189 shots and an average of 78.18 per round of 18 holes.
Check out the Putt18 World Pro League Facebook Group and Putt18 website for more information.
The Putt18 World Pro League has been a fun and interesting way to keep on putting and compete during the pandemic. It's also been a first in terms of getting players from around the world to compete on the same putting surface in a league format.
Read more in my blog post about Keeping social and competitive in the new world of physical distancing.
Check out the interview in The Viaduct magazine about our mission to visit every pub, club and bar in Stockport during lockdown this year.
|The first pub we visited - The Kings Tap in Cheadle Hulme|
|Pub number 73 - The Crown Inn in Stockport town centre with the viaduct behind it|
|Pub number 265 - The Nursery Inn in Heaton Norris|
We played the 14-hole Crazy Golf course opposite the Grand Pier in Weston-super-Mare back in July 2011.
It was the 260th course played on our Crazy World of Minigolf Tour.
In a first for us the course charged an extra 30p if you wanted a scorecard and pen to score your game!
Emily won our minigolf match-up with a score of 39 to 43.
We're looking forward to a return trip to Weston-super-Mare in the future.
The two other Happy Shopper shops I've seen this year have both been closed. One of those was also in Sheffield.
I remember seeing the Happy Shopper shops and branded products a lot when I was a kid in the 80's and 90's.
The Happy Shopper branding from the 1970's was changed in the year 2000 and I think it lost a lot of its charm and individuality. Many of the former Happy Shopper stores were rebranded as Premier shops.
|Interestingly the social distancing signs on the door showed the original Happy Shopper branding with the smiling blond face appearing before the word 'Happy' rather than in place of the 'o' as seen in the second incarnation of the logo|
The Happy Shopper brand has been part of the Booker Group since 1996. Booker itself is now owned by Tesco.
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