Wednesday, December 30, 2020
Tuesday, December 29, 2020
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.
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.
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.
What a piece of signage.
|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.
A look at the snowy Park Square Putting Green in Cheadle Heath.
Grainger Games - a lost video game shop brand.
This is the Salford Shopping Centre location in Pendleton, Salford, Greater Manchester.
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.
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.
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
A look at the NIFO Steel Minigolf course at Solna Bangolfklubb in Sweden.
|A long hole on the NIFO Steel Minigolf course at Solna Bangolfklubb in Sweden|
Our Crazy World of Minigolf Tour
Saturday, December 26, 2020
A look at the Eternit Miniature Golf course at Solna Bangolfklubb in Sweden.
|The Eternit Miniature Golf course at Solna Bangolfklubb in Sweden|
Our Crazy World of Minigolf Tour
Friday, December 25, 2020
|Bad Santa graffiti in Blackpool by Seca_One|
|Bad Santa graffiti in Blackpool by Seca_One|
Thursday, December 24, 2020
|Playing a Christmas Crazy Golf hole at Teezers Retro Golf in Coventry at Easter in 2019|
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.
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.
The last new course Emily and I played together was the Sunnybank Gardens Crazy Golf layout in Hatfield, Doncaster on the 19th January.
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.
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.
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:
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.
Check out the Kosovo Minigolf Federation website for more information.
Wednesday, December 23, 2020
A look at a minigolf scorecard from Bowling Brno in the Czech Republic.
A look at the Swedish Felt minigolf course at the Vasaparken in Vasastan, Stockholm.
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 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.
What have you been watching during lockdown?
I managed to find these nice Blockbuster Entertainment postcards by Boomerang earlier this year. I think they sum up 2020 nicely.
A look at an old minigolf course postcard from Blackpool.
|The postcard is likely to be from the late 1970s|
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.
Tuesday, December 22, 2020
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:
A bit of retail archaeology in Leigh, Greater Manchester.
|A new Londis, Ellie D's Tattoo Studio and Grainey's Barbers on Holden Road in Leigh - but what did it used to be?|
|The QuikDrop box is still in place at the old store location in Prescot, Merseyside|
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.
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
A look at the Jurassic Putt Crazy Golf course at Roarr! Dinosaur Adventure in Lenwade, Norwich.
On a recent return visit he sent me this snap of the sanitisation station outside the entrance to the course.
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 in Leigh|
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.
I've been blogging for 14 years today.
Sunday, December 20, 2020
We saw our first Mask Vending Machine at the Spinning Gate shopping centre in Leigh, Greater Manchester on Saturday.
|A #maskbox PPE vending machine|
What a time we're living through!
Related blog posts:
This old minigolf postcard by Photo Precision Limited shows the South Shore Baths and Promenade in Blackpool.
|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.
We spotted this interesting shop while in Leigh, Greater Manchester on Saturday.
It's the best shop name I've seen during the pandemic.
COVID-19 Buster sells PPE to businesses and individuals.
A look at a shopping centre bench in the time of social distancing.
|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.
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 company went into administration in 2012 with stores closing in October and was dissolved in November that year.
|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.