Friday, August 09, 2013

Not Winning at The Buttons in Bournemouth

While down in Bournemouth earlier this summer Emily and I headed to the amusement arcades on the seafront with our friend and Minigolf rival Seth ‘Wandsworth’ Thomas.

In the pier amusements we spotted a great looking bumble bee prize in one of the Prize Every Time grabbers and it would of made a great gift for another friend and Minigolf rival (and sometime blogger) Oliver ‘Oflo12’ Florence.

The players look at the buttons bee

However, while playing the £2 machine I jiffed it and grabbed an orange thing that made a squeaky noise.

Jiffed, robbed, diddled, fiddled and daddled

I was not best pleased.

The incorrect toy was sold for 20 pence on a car boot stall last week.

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Friday, August 02, 2013

M!MS Empire Sunset Nine Hole Mini Golf course in Bedford

Playing a Minigolf course 'sculpture' set-up for one-day only!

With nothing planned for Saturday 27th July I was looking forward to sitting down and not doing much at all. However, a couple of early morning tweets from Northamptonshire-based Cider & Perry Maker Mark Shirley alerted me to a Minigolf course that he'd spotted being set-up in Bedford! What’s more, it was only going to be in the town for one-day!!!

After shooting a round on the temporary course

So, rather than lounging about I did a bit of research and found out the M!MS Empire Sunset Nine Hole Mini Golf course would be open from 3pm until 11pm.

A view of the M!MS Mini Golf course from hole 7

The M!MS team hard at work on hole 4

The M!MS art collective is based in Bedfordshire, with M!MS standing for “Maximum Irony! Maximum Sincerity".

I arrived in Bedford at around 1.30pm which gave me a chance to see the final preparations and site-clearing being done before the course opened for play.

The course looked brilliant and was a great use of a long vacant plot of land in the town’s Midland Road.

A view from over the road

The idea came from artist Andy Holden who designed (and with the help of the M!MS team) built the ‘playable sculpture’ using simple and cheap materials to create the innovative and very playable course.

Photos of the course.

M!MS Mini Golf - in Bedford for one day only!

Hole 1 of the M!MS Mini Golf course

Hole 2 - from the tee

Hole 2 - this one worked really well and the ace shot was very satisfying

Hole 3 - up and over

Hole 5 - a tough loop-di-loop - I had a mixed bag of scores here

Hole 7 - a 3 here was a good result

Hole 8 - a tricky pipe hole

I played two rounds, shooting a 19 followed by an 18 in a match against Andy (who scored a 30). After the course had closed forever I was told that my round of 18 was the best of the day – a course record that will stand for the ages!

Playing hole 9 - the rotating sun

The course not only looked interesting, but it played incredibly well – even more impressive considering it was mostly made out of old pallets! The mix of easy, hard and fun hole designs meant there were some great hole-in-one opportunities, as well as some testing obstacles and second putts.

A view of the course, an art deco building and some old advertising on a building - you could almost be in the 1930's...

The course harked back to 1920’s depression era USA when vacant lots were often turned into improvised Miniature Golf courses.

The M!MS Mini Golf layout, aka Mini Sculpture Golf, was the 533rd course visited on the Crazy World of Minigolf Tour and the 320th played since September 2006.

The M!MS Empire Sunset Mini Golf course scorecard

The scorecard - very well designed and quite large too

Andy Holden and the M!MS team will be showcasing their work – Towards a Complete History of M!MS – at the Zabludowicz Collection in London from the 26th of September to the 15th of December 2013. I’m looking forward to seeing the final collection and film. All of the M!MS events are filmed and by attending them you become part of the work! 


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Saturday, July 27, 2013

Playing the new Barnard Castle Mini Golf course – A Journey Through Teesdale

Visiting the 532nd course on the Crazy World of Minigolf Tour.

The new Barnard Castle Mini Golf course

On Friday 19th of July Emily and I headed north to the town of Barnard Castle – home to a brand new UrbanCrazy Mini Golf course!

The 9-hole layout is a great design, with some excellent hole-in-one opportunities and very good fun to play.

Playing hole 7, my favourite

The course is located at Scar Top, Barnard Castle in County Durham and replaced the old course that had been in place since 1985. The course has been dedicated in memory of Alan Wilkinson who passed away earlier this year. He was a noted historian of the town and first introduced Minigolf to Scar Top. One of the stones laid at the course carries a dedication to him. A very nice touch.

The new course has been named “A Journey Through Teesdale” and each of the nine holes is themed on local landmarks or local places of interest, such as the nearby Bowes Museum and the castle itself.

Photos of the course (19th July 2013).

Hole 1 - River Tees

Hole 2 - Market Cross

Hole 3 - The Witham

Hole 4 - The Bowes Museum

Hole 5 - Hills & Dale

Hole 6 - Forces of Teesdale

Hole 6 - view of the green

Hole 7 - Egglestone Abbey

Hole 8 - County Bridge

Hole 8's bridge

Hole 9 - Barnard Castle

The course was the 532nd visited on the Crazy World of Minigolf Tour and the 319th played.

In our first round on the course I managed to beat Emily by one-shot 20 to 21. In our rematch in the afternoon I shot a 16 to Emily’s 18.

Emily playing the 6th hole

Along with fellow British Minigolf Association Tour members and Great Britain Minigolf Sport Team members we took on locals in challenge matches, did some coaching and also competed and coached in the first-ever ‘Inter-Mayoral Minigolf Challenge’ charity competition held to support Teesdale YMCA.

The Great Britain Minigolf Team members and the Mayor of Barnard Castle Councillor Frank Harrison

It’s a great layout and a great test of putting skill. A course record was set at 16(-2) by John Moore on the day, with the round equalled by me, Emily and Chris Harding throughout the day. If you play the course and do better do let me know by leaving a comment below.

Me playing the 3rd hole as John Moore looks on

Some videos of me playing the course:
- A hole-in-one on hole 7
- Playing hole 2
- Playing hole 3

Read all about the course’s design and build on the UrbanCrazy website and check out the Barnard Castle web page on the course.

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Friday, July 26, 2013

An Advertising Airdancer Not Dancing in Boscombe

Another in the long line of sort of Wacky Waving Arm-Flailing Inflatable Tube-men to add to my 'collection'.

The latest in the long line of Airdancers spotted on my travels was advertising payday loans at the Cash Converters in Boscombe, Dorset. It was lurching a fair bit when we first spotted it.

The not so Wacky Waving Arm-Flailing Inflatable Tube-man in Boscombe

The following day it was a bit more upright, but needn't a bit more air.

A little more upright


Sunday, July 21, 2013

Minigolf Report – Gottfried’s Tee-Off at New Minigolf Course in Barnard Castle

21st July 2013
Press Information
For Immediate Release

Minigolf Report – Gottfried’s Tee-Off at New Minigolf Course in Barnard Castle

Richard Gottfried 3rd and Emily Gottfried 5th in UrbanCrazy Challenge tournament. 

Luton Minigolfers Richard and Emily Gottfried were in action at the launch of the new UrbanCrazy designed 9-hole Minigolf course at Scar Top, Barnard Castle in County Durham on Saturday 20th July.

In the two-round UrbanCrazy Barnard Castle Minigolf Challenge competition Richard and Emily competed against fellow Great Britain International Players and members of the British Minigolf Association. After 18-holes Richard finished in third place in the nine-player event on a total of 36(par). First-round leader Emily scored a 22 in round two to slip to tied fifth place alongside Jon Angel with the pair finishing on 38(+2).

Richard Gottfried playing hole 3 at Barnard Castle

Emily’s first round score of 16(-2) tied the course record set earlier in the day by Newcastle’s John Moore and Richard. Birmingham’s Chris Harding also managed to match the score of 16.

Richard said “We had a great day playing at the new Barnard Castle course and I was pleased to get the course record too. My third place in the UrbanCrazy challenge match was a nice end to a packed day of activities.”

Emily Gottfried playing hole 6 at Barnard Castle

Emily said “My first round was brilliant, and but for a small blip on the 8th hole I was on course to break the current course record. Unfortunately I couldn’t continue my performance into the second round, which was a shame. However I still greatly enjoyed the competition. The people of Barnard castle and all of the staff and representatives from UrbanCrazy were really supportive, and the course is set in a beautiful location, so I look forward to going back again.“

During the Minigolf course party launch the GB and BMGA players acted as coaches for members of the public and were each assigned to play in a group during the first-ever ‘Inter-Mayoral Minigolf Challenge’ competition held to support Teesdale YMCA. The contest saw ten Mayors and consorts from the local area compete in the charity event. Emily’s team was runner-up, while Richard’s team tied for third-place.


The Piece of Cheese Cottage in Hastings

While in Hastings old town recently I spotted a very eye-catching building - the Piece of Cheese Cottage!

The Piece of Cheese Cottage in Hastings

In all my many visits to the town for Crazy and Mini Golf tournaments I've never seen the place before. It's certainly very different.

One of the sides of the building - the only three-sided cottage in England - has a blue heritage plaque on it that makes an interesting claim!

The cottage was built for a £5 bet in 1871 and is the second smallest in the country. The Piece of Cheese Cottage is also available to stay in from only £55 per night! I may be making a booking soon as it's very close to the seafront and the town's Miniature Golf courses.


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Postcards of Luton – Yes they do exist!

While in Rome recently Emily was looking for a postcard to send home to me, but it wasn’t until she was on her journey to the airport to fly home that she managed to get one. As they were flying back into Luton a colleague of hers jokingly asked if the town had any postcards of its own, and was amazed when Emily said there was.

It’s true, you can get at least four designs that I know of in the town’s library and tourist information centre. Emily went so far as to buy one for her colleague to prove it.

This led to some Twitter chatter on the topic and I had to buy more of the postcards to prove they really existed. In fact I cleared out the supply in Luton’s central library – the librarian thought it was funny that someone actually wanted to buy the postcards (especially at 6.30pm on a Wednesday evening) as there’s not generally much call for them in the age of other quicker forms of communication. The views of the town centre on the cards aren’t the most modern either. It’s been many a year since Lunn Poly was on George Street!

If you’re a fan of Postcards then do check out the Reflections of a Bygone Age website and Picture Postcard Monthly!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Some photos of the Little Oasis Crazy Golf course in Margate, Kent

Photos of the Little Oasis Minigolf courses in Margate (June 2013).

My brother Christopher recently swung by Margate in Kent and managed to get three snaps of the Crazy Golf course at the ‘Little Oasis’ in the Cliftonville area for me.

It’s not looking in the best shape!

The Little Oasis has two 18-hole Arnold Palmer Crazy Golf courses. Emily and I have played both of them – numbers 37 and 215 on our Crazy World of Minigolf Tour. We last played there in April 2011 and the course we played was in a decent enough condition.

Unfortunately he didn’t have time to visit the excellent Strokes Adventure Golf course on Westbrook Promenade on his quick trip to Margate.

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Sunday, July 14, 2013

Mini Golf by Simon Martin

New Minigolf book from photographer Simon Martin.

London, Kent & Brighton based photographer Simon Martin recently completed his latest project entitled 'Mini Golf'.

'Mini Golf' by Simon Martin - a great coffee table book

From late 2012 until May 2013 Simon travelled around the UK photographing a range of Mini, Crazy and Adventure Golf courses, as well as following the competition players on the British Minigolf Association Tour circuit to capture portraits of the players.

Simon Martin (l) presents Richard Gottfried with a copy of 'Mini Golf' at the 2013 WMF World Adventure Golf Masters tournament in Hastings

The book produced is a brilliant document of his travels to Minigolf 'hot spots' such as Brighton, Wroxham, Herne Bay, Blackpool, Great Yarmouth, Birmingham, Hemsby, Cheddar, Margate, Newport, East Finchley, Camden, Worthing, Sidcup, Canvey Island, The Mumbles, Arkley, Cwmbran, New Barnet and West Horndon. There are a couple of courses in the book that even Emily and I haven't yet visited on our Crazy World of Minigolf Tour!

The player portraits are a nice touch too - some of us stars of the BMGA Tour are actually quite photogenic!

For more information on the Mini Golf project and to view some of the book's images please check out the Simon Martin Photography website.


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Saturday, July 13, 2013

Caricatures by Howard the Celeriac

Howard the Celeriac – star of the eponymously named coeliac disease inspired comic strip website – recently put out a call for more suggestions for the site and also for fellow ‘Celeriacs’ (and ‘Gluters’) to send in their photos to be turned into caricatures.

As a big fan and contributor to the site I sent in a photo of Emily and I at Strokes Adventure Golf course and he turned it into this!

Howard the Celeriac Caricature


Check out the Howard the Celeriac website where “All of your most painful gluten free moments pictorially represented for you in one place.”


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