Can music help you play better minigolf? What about SMELLS?
Improbable Research, the website behind the Ig Nobel Prize, has brought to our attention some crucial research in this area.
About Ways of Psychoemotional Status Regulation of Minigolf Playersis a piece of research published in the Medcrave Online Journal of Sports Medicine. In the name of science, a group of Russian boffins in Moscow bombarded minigolf players with music and odours to find out which ones made them perform best. We think that’s hilarious, so we’re sharing it with you.
Here’s a typical sentence from the study: ” The
functional status of an athlete organism is directly bound to his
psychoemotional states – conditions of stress, optimum readiness
The researchers assessed the players’ minigolf performance before and after playing them music at 54 BPM and releasing various pongs.
“Odorants represented 10% of mix of essential oils of bergamot, ylang-ylang, lemon, mint, sage muscat, basilic, geraniums, lavenders, rosemary and an eucalyptus in different combinations in oil of grape seed.”
The scientists took 13520 measurements of blood pressure and heart rate to assess the psychoemotional state of the players. Their conclusion, if you can call it that, is ““It is established that the effect of influence of the functional music is comparable with effect of influence of an activating odorant and exhaustion.”
So does this mean minigolf courses will soon be full of people playing chill-out music on their earphones and sniffing bottles of essential oil?
Do you have some favourite music you listen to when you play? And as for smells, well, we reckon that a true minigolf player just needs the smell of eternite and injection-moulded plastic to get into the Zone. That is the true smell of victory!
This might be ancient news to some, but we’ve only just stumbled across this episode of The Simpsons from 1990 which revolves around minigolf. So we’re excited about it and flapping our arms around like chickens. If you’ve seen it before, you can re-live the yellow putting fun with the two clips we’ve posted below. If you haven’t seen it, you’re in for a treat.
Simpsons writer Jeff Martin was an experienced miniature golfer and based much of the golf-related scenes in the script on his own experiences. This episode (Season 2 episode 6) is titled Dead Putting Society and tells the story of Homer’s plan to humiliate Ned Flanders by setting their two sons against each other in a minigolf competition. The loser’s father has to mow his front lawn dressed in his wife’s Sunday dress. But Bart and Todd turn out to be equally matched, with unexpected results for the two feuding dads.
Lisa helps to train Bart for the showdown with some mystical advice that seems to work, and Bart becomes a putting prodigy. Homer tries to help too, telling Bart that the club is to the golfer what the violin is to the ‘violin guy’.
For this episode, the animators went on a field trip to a local miniature golf course to study the mechanics of a golf club swing. Moore commented that the reason for this was that much of the humour in the series comes from making the scenery look lifelike; “The realism of the background serves as the straight man for the absurd situations.”
So, are you a father with a young son, feuding with an annoying religious neighbour who also has a young son? Then you’re reading the right blog post! Settle it once and for all with a minigolf showdown. And get your wife’s Sunday dress ready, because you’ll probably be needing it.
For all your minigolf-based neighbour feuds, hire the equipment from Putterfingers!
Watch a couple of clips from the Dead Putting Society episode below 🙂
If you haven’t heard about Richard and Emily Gottfried, they are the charmingly eccentric (but otherwise normal) couple who have made it their life’s mission to play every single crazy golf course in the country. Their Crazy World of Minigolf tour started in 2006 and is showing no signs of slowing down. With new courses opening all the time and being reported on this blog and elsewhere, it’s clear that their task is never-ending. To date the Gottfrieds have played 740 crazy golf courses in the UK and quite a lot abroad too. Both are tournament winners with a swelling trophy cabinet – which includes a Putterfingers mug! Richard blogged about that in 2012.
The past week has been a media extravaganza for the putting-mad couple, with radio and TV interviews, newspaper articles and social media exposure. So we’re adding to the buzz by dedicating this week’s blog to Richard and Emily’s various media appearances in the last week or so. What a week it’s been!
BBC Radio 5 Live’s segment on Richard and Emily is at the top of this post. You can hear Richard tell the story of how the Crazy World of Minigolf Tour got started and ‘kind of steamrolled from there’. The Beeb have overlaid the sound onto various clips of Mr Gottfried holing out and fist-pumping with infectious enthusiasm.
Next thing we knew they were on the 6 O’clock news on Radio 4. The dulcet tones of Radio 4’s Danny Savage relate the tale of the Gottfrieds’ first game of minigolf at Southsea, and Richard tells the nation about the equipment used by top players, including the special set of minigolf balls. Here’s the programme, start listening at 27:10.
As if that wasn’t enough media exposure to warrant the Gottfrieds going around in dark glasses and wigs, The Times published an article about their putting exploits, in which Richard said, “It really has become an addiction. Mini golf is incredibly good fun and always such a challenge as the courses are different.
“Some require a lot of skill, and others are just down to luck. Visiting all of them has become a bit of an obsession, but it’s also been a great way to use our weekends and see other parts of the country we otherwise would never have been to.
“As much fun as I always have playing with Emily, we are also really competitive. We very often finish only a couple of shots apart, and sometimes if I lose I won’t speak to her in the car on the way home.”
The readers’ comments below the article are quite amusing too, reflecting both the general public’s bafflement at people getting obsessed with minigolf and the ‘dull’ image it is given by people who have never played it. The Gottfrieds revel in such prejudices – they are longstanding members of the Dull Men’s Club, an organisation that celebrates the ordinary.
We wish Richard and Emily all the best for their future putting endeavours. Their fun approach to life makes them wonderful ambassadors for the sport!
Scientists have discovered that bumblebees can learn to ‘putt’ a ball into a hole in order to receive a sugary reward. It’s surprising because rolling a ball into a hole isn’t standard bee behaviour. But they can learn how to do it, and not only that, but teach other bees how to do it as well.
Using a fake bee on a little stick, the boffins rolled a tiny ball into a hole and then administered a drop of sugar solution which the test bee hungrily sucked up. After a couple of goes at this, the bee was left to its own devices with a ball and a hole rigged to dispense a reward when the ball dropped into it. Pretty much straight away, the test bee rolled the ball into the hole and had a sweet drink. It then appeared to show this behaviour to another untrained bee. Watch it in this video.
One of the boffins said, ‘We wanted to explore the cognitive limits of bumblebees by testing whether they could use a non-natural object in a task likely never encountered before by any individual in the evolutionary history of bees.’ Not only did the bees succeed, but they got better at it over time and showed adaptive behaviour that goes well beyond what most people would expect from a bee. They haven’t tried including obstacles in their experiments yet because it’s difficult to make really tiny windmills, but the bees would probably learn to get round them if they were there.
So what do we learn from this? Well, that minigolf is fun, even for bees. And all human minigolfers know the sweet sensation of holing out. This research shows that bees experience the sweet sensation too. All right, it is administered by someone in a lab coat holding a pipette, but still, this shows that bees enjoy minigolf just as much as people.
We don’t sell putters for bees, but we do sell them for people. Maybe after holing out you could drink a coke or eat a cupcake if you want to imitate the experiment. But usually just playing minigolf is enough enjoyment in itself.
Hire or buy a minigolf course from Putterfingers and see what the buzz is all about.
A fresh new year brings a fresh new range of products from Putterfingers! We’ve put our heads together over the Christmas break and thought of ways to boost the fun factor even further at events, parties and weddings with a range of traditional garden games, face in hole boards, ping pong and our new popup face in hole art gallery. Our aim is to leave no guest un-entertained.
Giant wooden garden games
Set these games up at various spots around your event and let guests amuse themselves. Giant Jenga, Dominoes, Skittles, Noughts & Crosses, Four in a Row and Croquet are all good fun, and because there is a variety, guests can move from one to the other for a quick game or hang around their favourite and get competitive – it’s their choice. Hire the games in addition to a minigolf course for extra fun for everyone.
Face in the hole boards
We have a big selection of these traditional funny boards. There’s a set specially for weddings, another with a seaside theme, Christmas boards, and seasonal Easter and Halloween boards. We can also make you a bespoke face in the hole board to your specifications if you give us a bit of notice. The boards are best used for taking photos. Guaranteed laughs and some memorable snaps!
Face-in-the-hole portrait gallery
This is an absolute scream. Classic portraits with the faces cut out so guests can pose in them. This picture shows just some of the results you can get. The gallery consists of five boards that can be arranged in a ‘U’ shape. Guests walk round the back and put their faces in the holes. Another great photo opportunity, and a really good laugh.
Here’s the gallery when all the boards are put together:
It can be set up indoors or outdoors.
We supply full-size tables and everything you need: bats, balls and nets. Give your guests a chance to be competitive and have fun practicing their slice shots and smashes. The tables can be set up indoors or outdoors. You can leave the table for free play or organise a tournament. Tables, bats and balls are tournament quality and in top condition so duff shots are the player’s fault, not our equipment’s!
Minigolf is such a popular pastime that it has often been featured in films. The fantastic, surreal environments of adventure golf courses are inviting settings for filmmakers to have their characters exchange dialogue or conjure up some slapstick moments. Some films are all about minigolf, but in others the courses are used as backdrops while the characters pootle around with their putters developing the plot.
Here are seven films that we could think of. We’ve tried to include films in which minigolf plays a significant role. If you think we have missed an obvious one, head over to our Facebook page and let us know.
1. Life, Death and Minigolf
Definitely a B-movie, but minigolf features big. You could say that B-movies and minigolf go hand in glove since both are a little way off the beaten track.
2. Legends of Minigolf: The Flamingo’s Challenge
Jeff is a young man trying to get his life back together. With the aid of his girlfriend, Jenna, he’s re-enrolled in school at Utah Valley University and is determined to make things work this time. However, when an eccentric mini-golfer by the name of The Flamingo challenges him to an exhibition match, Jeff develops an obsession that begins to tear his world apart.
Minigolfers who have watched the sport gradually come to dominate their lives can probably relate.
3. Happy Gilmore
A better-known film starring Adam Sandler, in which a rejected hockey player puts his skills to the golf course to save his grandmother’s house. Here’s a slapstick minigolf scene that takes place as our hero is trying to improve his short game.
Goldie Hawn helps Kurt Russell to land a construction job for a miniature golf park by suggesting a theme of famous world landmarks, and prepares sketches that sell the concept to the investors.
Here is a very short clip from the film as Russell’s character is pitching the concept to investors.
5. Getting Even With Dad
Macaulay Culkin is a cocksure brat who frustrates his dad (Ted Danson) by various means, including minigolf. This is the best clip we could find – sorry about the quality.
6. That’ll Be The Day
Ringo Starr played minigolf in this film. Here’s an interesting video about a search for the Isle of Wight course that was featured in the film.
7. Putterfingers: The Movie
We had to include this classic. Shelley from Putterfingers stars in Putterfingers: The Movie a demo video on setting up a portable, modular Putterfingers minigolf course. She ramps up the dramatic tension superbly. Great acting skills Shelley!
Office minigolf is one of the hottest office party hires in London. One of our recent customers, communications agency Hive Health Group, have been kind enough to send us some photos of their Putterfingers minigolf course in place at their offices in Piccadilly, London.
‘Our event went really well and everyone had a great time playing mini golf in the office,’ said Prateek Shah, Finance Manager. He didn’t mention who was responsible for putting a cow on the course though, but we think it’s an imaginative addition!
Minigolf is the perfect entertainment to hire for an office party because it brings people together who might not normally interact, and colleages learn something about each other as it soon becomes clear who is the most competitive – if it wasn’t already!
Staff can improvise by adding extra items like pot plants to the courses – or raising a corner of a hole, as seen in the photo above, to make it even more challenging. Office minigolf allows staff to relax and socialise whilst remaining competitive.
Harking back to 2015 and an office minigolf hire to Next15, another communications agency, these were some comments we received from them:
‘Putterfingers have been a great company to do business with, everything was very quick and simple all the communication was very clear and if I had any questions I knew I would get a quick response back.
This is the 2nd time we have used Putterfingers and it won’t be the last. The mini golf idea is fantastic and it really creates a wonderful atmosphere around the office.’
Putterfingers have also supplied mingolf courses to Facebook, Criteo and other leading firms.
Two weeks ago we blogged about where to play minigolf in and around London this Summer. As if in response, Londonist have now speculated about places that should have a minigolf course, but don’t (yet). London being London, the possibilities are endless, but here are Londonist’s suggestions for places they’d like to see a crazy golf course, with our comments.
Hampton Court Palace Maze. Some putting holes can be labyrinthine, but this idea is to have a minigolf course in London’s biggest green maze. Mini-maze putting holes within the big maze? The mind boggles.
The Horniman Museum, famous for its large collection of stuffed animals. It would be a ready-made dinosaur-themed adventure golf park. The exhibits aren’t actual stuffed dinosaurs, but they are suitably odd and creepy. Crazy golf taxidermy, anyone?
Mail Rail. This is Royal Mail’s underground line dedicated to transporting mail across the capital, running from Paddington to Whitechapel. It’s not on the tube map, but will be opening as an attraction in Spring 2017. It transported mail from 1927 to 2003, and would make an excellent subterranean crazy golf course, but the holes would be very long if the whole system were used – at 6.5 miles, that’s a third of a mile per hole.
Dans le Noir. The restaurant in Farringdon where diners eat in total darkness. It would need a system a bit like that used by blind footballers, with the balls making some kind of noise. And the holes as well. Protective headgear might be an idea too.
Sky Garden. Atop the Walkie Talkie at 20 Fenchurch Street, this viewing platform and restaurant complex has plenty of space for crazy golf, and already has some exotic gardens. It’s half way there already.
HMS Belfast. The permanently-moored ship on the Thames is a maze of ladders and companionways that would make a perfect crazy golf course. Conveniently, there are also nine decks, so one hole per deck would give an exciting half-round.
Somerset House Fountains. The open, public-participation fountains where hot people cool off in the middle of Summer. Maybe an even better place for crazy golf than Trafalgar Square, which nearly, but not quite, got its own crazy golf makeover this Summer.
Minigolf courses can pop up in the strangest places. They’re also getting more and more popular for office parties and team-building events. One idea is for each team member, or each team, to design a hole with what’s around them in the office. We supply the balls and putters – and the putting surface if necessary – and you have the fun! Give us a call on 0845 057 321 if you have an idea for a minigolf course in an unusual place.
Inspired by Henrik Stenson stealing the Open from Phil Mickelson? Want to imagine you’re holing out at the 18th at Troon to win the famous claret jug? Don’t know what we’re talking about and just want to have some putting fun? If you’re in or near London this Summer there is plenty of choice when it comes to minigolf venues, and it costs an awful lot less than golf club membership and green fees.
For a few quid a head per course you can putt your way round the capital sinking holes-in-one along with cocktails and burgers.
Let’s start in the suburbs and work our way in.
Out East there’s Moby Golf, a whale of a good time in Dagenham. It’s inspired by the whale bones that sat in the toll booth on nearby Whalebone Lane throughout the eighteenth century. Definitely in the Adventure Golf vein, this course features a lagoon dyed bright blue, an eight-metre waterfall and a giant replica sperm whale.
Down South in Surrey, you can have a roaring good time at Jurassic Encounter Adventure Golf. It has animatronic dinos to put you off your stroke by bellowing at you, velociraptors in lakes of blood to give you the yips, and giant diplodoci to loom over you primordially. Why not take the old fossils along to play on a family ticket?
Out West at Northolt, Dinosaur Escape has the same theme, with somewhat less scary dinosaurs as it’s firmly pitched (heh heh) at young’uns, with children’s parties actively encouraged.
And Up North you could do a lot worse than visit Barnet and … oh, it’s another Adventure Golf course full of dinosaurs. There seems to be a theme developing here. Still, kids love Dinosaur Safari Adventure Golf, and it’s an 18-holer with some really beautiful holes in amongst the obligatory giant reptiles.
Now let’s pay our Congestion Charge and move inwards.
We’ve already told you about Swingers under the Gherkin, which is now open for business in an old wartime bunker. Try chipping out of that one, heh. It’s an 18+ venue with bars and a pretty awesome course snaking around under Shoreditch. Entry to enjoy the bars and food is free but putting tickets are a little on the pricey side at £13 for both walk-up and advance purchase.
Along and across the river at Battersea you’ll find Putt in the Park, a rocky expanse of putting pleasure surrounded by cafés and wine bars, and not far from Battersea Park Zoo so you can get your fix of reptiles, which are for once absent from the actual crazy golf course. Genteel putting fun.
In trendy Dalston you’ve got one of four London minigolf courses run by Plonk Golf (The others are in Hoxton, Hackney and Battersea). Push your way through the hipsters to reach EFEs Snooker Club, which houses a 200ft crazy golf course every Wednesday and Thursday. Mingle with Turks, eat kebabs and play minigolf. Cool. Like Dalston.
And on Brick Lane, there’s a visiting course from Manchester that has already been a huge success: Junkyard Golf. Open for three months this Summer, it’s a Heath Robinson-esque collection of slides, wendy houses, cows and treadmills. In their own words, Junkyard Golf is ‘Three nine-hole crazy golf courses of weird and twisted junk, car booty and charity shop shizzle.’ And it’s a hit.
So to play crazy golf this Summer, you don’t have to go to the coast (although you should at some point to support our seaside culture). London is chock full of putting action.
The London Design Festival has launched a Kickstarter campaign to turn Trafalgar Square into a crazy golf course for a week, with holes designed by leading names like Paul Smith, the late Zaha Hadid and other creative visionaries.
It will be free for the public to play. Designer Paul Smith, curator and ambassador for the project, wants a ‘public takeover of Trafalgar Square, transforming it into a free, colourful and playful arena of Visionary Crazy Golf.’ Those last three words are the name of the project. Mr Smith has made certain to secure permission to use the square from the Mayor’s office, so it won’t be quite as anarchic as that quote sounds – but it does sound like huge fun. The project’s funding goal is £120,000 to set up, install and run the installation for a week, which will be during the London Design Festival from the 17th to the 25th of September 2016. If that target is not reached then it will not go ahead. At the time of writing this, the Kickstarter campaign had raised £1,470 in pledges, but there are 42 days to go till the June Kickstarter deadline. Fun Kickstarter projects have a habit of wildly exceeding their funding goals, so let’s hope it does happen.
Tim Hunkin is involved as well (anyone remember his crazily informative drawings in The Observer?). He has come up with a typically Heath Robinson-style contraption, a tall tower through which the ball rolls and, if it manages to avoid the numerous hazards, triggers a machine that pours you a glass of whisky. If Visionary Crazy Golf happens, it will be the biggest thing the London Design Festival have ever done, and it will be a great publicity boost for the wonderful sport of crazy golf.