Thursday, May 27, 2021

Guest blog - Planning a BIG minigolf break

Check out our guest blog post over on the Putterfingers Crazy Golf website at "Planning a BIG minigolf break".

The Crazy Putting Challenge at Hamptworth Golf Centre
The Crazy Putting Challenge at Hamptworth Golf Centre - one of 18 courses we visited on a road-trip in May 2019

Playing the Holbeck Putting Green in Scarborough
The Holbeck Putting Green in Scarborough. The course has been open since 1925. It was the 901st visited overall on our travels and one of seven miniature golf courses we went to on the trip back in June 2019

New Crazy Golf centre opening in Norwich

Putt Noodle Crazy Golf planned for the Castle Quarter in Norwich, Norfolk.


Putt Noodle Crazy Golf planned for the Castle Quarter in Norwich, Norfolk

Norwich city centre could soon be home to a new indoor minigolf venue as Putt Noodle Crazy Golf is looking to create three 9-hole themed layouts at the site in the Castle Quarter shopping and entertainment centre.

It'll be a new set of courses for us to visit on our Crazy World of Minigolf Tour. My brother and charter member of the tour doesn't live too far away so I'm sure we'll swing by for a game when it opens.

Retailtainment minigolf

Putt Noodle Crazy Golf is proposed to open in a retail unit in the centre and is the latest in the new wave of retail entertainment (retailtainment) activities opening up around the UK.

Indoor minigolf

When our Crazy World of Minigolf Tour began in 2006 there were only two indoor places to play the game, both in East Anglia. Now there are around 100 indoor miniature golf courses around the UK, with more planned and opening all the time.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

InterFun Expo Guide for UK Operators

I contributed a feature on marketing in the time of Covid-19 for operators in the UK entertainment sector in the new InterFun Expo Guide.

InterFun Expo Guide for UK Operators

The whole publication is well worth a look, but you can also jump directly to my piece at Top 20 tips for operators.

The InterFun Expo will next be taking place at New Dock Hall in the Royal Armouries complex in Leeds on the 26th and 27th April 2022. I'm looking forward to speaking at the event and seeing developments in the sector from a range of suppliers and colleagues.

Links:

Monday, May 24, 2021

New mini golf course in Falkirk

A new mini golf course is opening at the Falkirk Wheel.


A new mini golf course is opening at the Falkirk Wheel

The new 9-hole mini golf course at the Falkirk Wheel will have a water-way theme.

Visit the Falkirk Wheel website for more information.


We last visited Falkirk in 2014 when we were in Scotland for the Commonwealth Games. It'll be nice to travel up again and have a game on the course on our Crazy World of Minigolf Tour in the future.

New indoor adventure golf in Newquay

There's a new indoor mini golf course in Newquay, Cornwall.


There's a new Adventure Golf course at Pirate's Quest in Newquay

The Pirate's Quest attraction in Newquay has a new addition this year with an indoor glow-in-the-dark minigolf course opening at the end of May.

The pirate-themed adventure golf course is a 12-hole layout.

Further information can be found on the Pirate's Quest website.


It's another new course for us to visit on our Crazy World of Minigolf Tour next time we're in the South West.

New Adventure Golf course opening in Bracknell

An adventure golf course will be part of the new Golf Plex entertainment centre in Bracknell, Berkshire.


An adventure golf course will be part of the new Golf Plex entertainment centre in Bracknell, Berkshire

Many thanks to my friend, minigolf rival and fellow adventure golf explorer Matt Dodd for letting me know about the development. The Golf Plex Adventure Golf will be a new local course for him and one for us to swing by on our Crazy World of Minigolf Tour in the future.

Miniature Golf at Newham Grange Farm

There's a Miniature Golf course at Newham Grange Farm in Middlesbrough.


There's a Miniature Golf course at Newham Grange Farm in Middlesbrough

Visit the Newham Grange Farm website for more information.

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Princess Parade Crazy Golf in Blackpool

Work is nearing completion at the Princess Parade Crazy Golf course on Blackpool's North Shore.


I was in Blackpool two years ago today where I first met with colleagues on the project team working to refresh and reopen the Crazy Golf course on Princess Parade in the seaside resort.

The minigolf layout has undergone a lot of improvement work to get it up to scratch and it is planned that the course will be open to the public for the first time in many years later this summer.

Princess Parade Crazy Golf in Blackpool
The course on the 20th May 2019

The base of the course itself has changed very little since it was first created in the late 1950's and it's wonderful that the area is still easily recognisable from old postcards from the 1960s, 70s and 80s.

Crazy Golf Course and North Pier, Blackpool postcard. The Photographic Greeting Card Co Ltd. London. Posted to Manchester 4 June 1969
A Crazy Golf Course and North Pier, Blackpool postcard by The Photographic Greeting Card Co Ltd. London. Posted to Manchester on the 4th June 1969

Visit the Princess Parade Crazy Golf course Facebook Group for more information and to see some photos of how bright and fresh the course and its surroundings are looking now.


Blackpool and the Fylde Street Angels and Blackpool Fulfilling Lives joined forces to refresh and reopen the Princess Parade Crazy Golf course on Blackpool's North Shore in 2019 and a number of other people and groups have been a part of the project.

The activity has helped homeless and disadvantaged people in Blackpool by giving them the chance to work on the Crazy Golf course so it is playable and the opportunity to continue by staffing the site for the season. It's a brilliant plan to give people work experience, while also bringing a disused minigolf course attraction and asset to the town back to life.

We're really looking forward to seeing the course open again and having a game there on our Crazy World of Minigolf Tour as I haven't played it since I was a kid. Our first visit to the course on our tour was in 2009 and it wasn't open then.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Crazy Golf at North Marine Gardens in Bridlington


North Marine Crazy Golf in Bridlington
Emily playing the Swedish Felt part of the course in July 2015

North Marine Crazy Golf in Bridlington

Crazy Golf Adventure at Lakeside Village in Doncaster

Looking back at the Crazy Golf Adventure at Lakeside Outlet Shopping Village in Doncaster, Yorkshire.


Crazy Golf Adventure at Lakeside Village in Doncaster
The pop-up miniature golf course in May 2016

Filwood Fantastic Mini Golf Club Community Decorating Day

The new Crazy Golf course at Filwood Community Centre in Knowle West, Bristol is nearing completion.


To add some finishing touches there will be a Filwood Fantastic Mini Golf Club Community Decorating Day on Wednesday 26th May.

Filwood Fantastic Mini Golf Community Decorating Day poster

Find out more on the Filwood Fantastic Mini Golf Club Facebook Group.


We're looking forward to visiting Knowle West and playing the new layout on our Crazy World of Minigolf Tour.

It was was brilliant meeting up with fellow members of the Filwood Fantastic Mini Golf Club during the first lockdown last year.

New Crazy Golf course in Addlethorpe, Skegness

There are plans for a new Crazy Golf course in Addlethorpe, Skegness.


There are plans for a new Crazy Golf course in Addlethorpe, Skegness

The new Crazy Golf course is planned to be built as part of a new holiday park on land that was formerly Addlethorpe Golf Club.

Skegness was home to England's first Crazy Golf course and the town is a real hot-spot for the game with ten courses and 120-holes there at my last count. The first Crazy Golf opened on South Parade in Skegness in 1926.

We're looking forward to getting back there on our Crazy World of Minigolf Tour in the future.

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Mini Golf at Hutleys Caravan Park in St Osyth

Spotting a Mini Golf course at Hutleys Caravan Park in St Osyth.


My cousin Elaine spotted a new Mini Golf course while in St Osyth recently. It looks like a nice layout.

Mini Golf course at Hutleys Caravan Park in St Osyth. Photo by Elaine Jones, May 2020

Visit the Hutleys Caravan Park website for more information.

New Puttstars minigolf opening in Harrow

There are plans for a new Puttstars minigolf venue to open in Harrow, London.


There are Puttstars locations in Leeds, York and Rochdale and in addition to the new Harrow site there are plans for a further eight Puttstars courses to open in the next three years.

There are plans for a new Puttstars minigolf venue to open in Harrow, London

Visit the Puttstars website for more information.

Monday, May 17, 2021

Lost shops - Debenhams

Debenhams recently became the latest retail casualty as the brand ceased trading on the high street in May 2021 after 243 years of operation. More than 100 bricks & mortar stores closed and Debenhams will continue as an online-only brand as it is now owned by online retailer Boohoo.

Debenhams in Manchester

Debenhams in Stockport


Debenhams in Stockport
The lights were still on in December 2020

Debenhams in Stockport
A view of the store during lockdown in April 2021

Debenhams in Stockport

Debenhams in Stockport
In the store in April 2021

Debenhams in Stockport

Debenhams in Stockport

Debenhams in Stockport

Debenhams in Stockport
In January 2021

Debenhams in Nuneaton


Debenhams in Nuneaton
In May 2021

Debenhams in Nuneaton

Debenhams in Nuneaton

Debenhams in Nuneaton

Debenhams in Nuneaton

Debenhams in Nuneaton

Debenhams in Manchester


Debenhams in Manchester
Debenhams on Market Street in Manchester one day after the store's closure

Covid-19 signs


Debenhams in Stockport
Covid-19 signage in January 2021

Debenhams in Stockport

Debenhams in Stockport

Debenhams in Stockport

Debenhams in Stockport
A Covid-19 sign in August 2020

What next for the former shops?

As with other collapsed chains it'll be interesting to see who moves in to the former Debenhams shops and how long the last traces of the brand will linger on the high street.

There are already plans for one former store to become an indoor entertainment venue. Gravity Active Entertainment will be opening a new centre in Wandsworth, London. The four-floor site will be home to a crazy golf course, bar & restaurant, pool, tenpin bowling, darts, high ropes, go-karting and more.

The retailtainment and minigolf boom

Miniature Golf is a big part of the retailtainment boom, with courses opening as standalone entertainment activities, or as part of large shoppingtainment leisure offerings in malls, high streets and retail parks.

Some of these retailtainment activities are permanent, while others are pop-ups catering to a mix of audiences, from children and families, to adults looking for competitive socialising fun.

Minigolf has really grown in popularity in the last decade and has moved from only being a traditional outdoor seaside summer activity to become a year-round game that can be played indoors, outdoors and at pretty much any time of the day.

A number of high streets, retail parks and shopping malls are now home to minigolf courses, with more new venues planned to open.

Minigolf is also a popular addition to boost footfall, create awareness and attract people to a location. Businesses also use portable and temporary minigolf layouts for product launches and promotions.

Other lost shops

We've seen traces, remnants and signage of a number of lost shop brands on our travels including Blockbuster Video, Toys R Us, Woolworths, British Home Stores, Kwik Save, Tandy, RadioShack, Grainger GamesCarphone Warehouse and JJB Sports.

A sneak peek of Aces Minigolf Gloucester

Check out the Aces Minigolf Gloucester Facebook Page for some sneak peeks of the course design and the progress of the build.


Aces Minigolf Gloucester

We're really looking forward to playing the new course when it opens at Dobbies Garden Centre in Gloucester next month.

More information can be found on the Aces Minigolf Gloucester Facebook Page.

Sunday, May 16, 2021

International Coeliac Day

Today is International Coeliac Day.


International Coeliac Day

About Coeliac Disease

Coeliac Disease (Celiac in the US and Canada) is a lifelong autoimmune disease caused by intolerance to gluten and the only treatment is to adhere to a strict lifelong gluten free diet.

In the UK it's estimated that 1 in 100 people have the condition.

Living a gluten free life

Having suffered from a range of symptoms for around ten years I finally received a positive diagnosis of Coeliac Disease following some 'interesting' and in-depth tests and procedures in 2008. It came as a relief to finally have a name for the mysterious cause of my illnesses and ailments, but at the time I was only given a brief summary and told that I'd have to "cut down on bread and beer". It was only later when I met with a Gastroenterologist and a dietitian that I found out that the only treatment for people with Coeliac Disease is a strict, life-long gluten free diet.

Coeliac Awareness

The month of May is Celiac Awareness Month and this week has been Coeliac UK Awareness Week.

Friday, May 14, 2021

Crazy Golf at Run About in Farnborough

There's a new Crazy Golf course at the Run About soft play centre in Farnborough, Hampshire.


There's a new Crazy Golf course at the Run About soft play centre in Farnborough, Hampshire

The new crazy golf course opens at Run About in Farnborough on Monday 17th May.

Visit the Run About website for more information.

Toys R Us in Stockton-on-Tees

A visit to the old Toys R Us store at Teesside Retail Park in Stockton-on-Tees.


Toys R Us store at Teesside Park in Stockton-on-Tees

We recently took a look at the former Toys R Us in Stockton-on-Tees.

Toys R Us store at Teesside Park in Stockton-on-Tees

Toys R Us store at Teesside Park in Stockton-on-Tees

Toys R Us store at Teesside Park in Stockton-on-Tees

It's a very nice example of a closed store, with lots of the original signage still visible.

Toys R Us store at Teesside Park in Stockton-on-Tees




I worked in the Gipsy Lane Toys R Us store in Luton, Bedfordshire back in the year 2000.

Toys R Us closed in the UK in April 2018. It's fun to see that there are still remnants of the brand on some retail parks in the UK. 

Check out my blog posts below about other former Toys R Us stores:

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Crazy Golf on Southsea Beach

There are plans for a new Crazy Golf course on Southsea Beach.


There are plans for a new Crazy Golf course on Southsea Beach

A new Crazy Golf course is planned to open at Southsea Beach in Hampshire.

The minigolf layout has been proposed by South Parade Pier and would be located on the shingle beach to the west of the pier.

Visit the South Parade Pier website for more information.


Our Crazy World of Minigolf Tour began in Southsea back in 2006 and we've played a number of miniature golf courses there over the years. One of those courses was a 12-hole Swedish Felt layout on South Parade Pier in 2010. That course can now be played on Southend Pier!

It'll be nice to get back down to visit again in the future.

Crazy Golf at Brimstage Maize Maze

There's a Crazy Golf course at Brimstage Maize Maze in Brimstage, Wirral.


There's a Crazy Golf course at Brimstage Maize Maze in Brimstage, Wirral

It's another course for us to visit on our Crazy World of Minigolf Tour in the future.

Visit the Brimstage Maize Maze website and Facebook Page for more information.

Mini-Golf at Between the Bridges in London

London's South Bank will be home to a mini-golf course this summer.


London's South Bank will be home to a mini-golf course this summer

A mini-golf course will be part of the new Between the Bridges food, drink, music and entertainment pop-up on the South Bank in London this summer.

The mini-golf activity will be provided by Plonk Golf.

Plonk! Golf

Visit the Between the Bridges website for more information.