Meet the Gottfrieds: the nation’s favourite putter nutters

Couple play on over 700 crazy golf courses

The couple who played on over 700 crazy golf courses ??“It's about 50/50 about who comes first”

Posted by BBC Radio 5 live on Monday, July 10, 2017

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.

Minigolfers the Gottfrieds
Minigolf makes them happy – or maybe they are happy anyway and that’s why they play minigolf. Either way they are winners.

 

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.

Emily and Richard Gottfried
The Gottfrieds on international minigolf duty

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!

British Open: Who will don the tweed jacket this April?

BMGA minigolf British Open 2017
Worthing is where the real magic happens. On the seafront, just up from the chippy

As Augusta, Georgia fills up with golf Masters Tournament fans from April 6th, Britain’s minigolfers will be drawing equally large crowds at Splash Point Mini Golf in Denton Gardens on the seafront at Worthing, just up from the chippy. In a stunning timetable clash with golf’s Masters Tournament, the BMGA British Masters is taking place on the very same weekend. Augusta National Golf Club were unable to give a reason for the calendar bungle when Putterfingers called them for an explanation.

This mistake was easily avoidable. Surely the U.S. Masters could have been moved to another weekend? The pro golfers would have understood. However what’s done is done, and it means that fans of both sports will have to check live results as they watch the other tournament. It will be a weekend of twin battles: one for the coveted green jacket of the Masters and the other for the just-as-coveted and only slightly ketchup-stained tweed jacket of the BMGA British Open.

BMGA minigolf British Open 2017
Oh yeah, that is happening as well.

Splash Point is a challenging course run by BMGA rivals Anthony Pope and Peter Emmerson. Richard Gottfried’s definitive blog post about the course gives it a whopping nine out of ten for all three criteria: difficulty, creativity and atmosphere. It will sort the men from the boys at the Open with its tricky holes. However players will already have a good feel for the course, because, like its ‘big golf’ equivalent Augusta National Golf Club, Splash Point has hosted the British Open for the last six years.

In what could be shock news, Minigolf superchamp Michael Smith has not yet registered for the tournament, according to the BMGA website at the time of writing. The list of registered players can be seen here. Smith has been dominant in recent years, and his absence, if confirmed, would lay the field open for a mighty struggle for the tweed jacket between the likes of Steve Lovell, Tiger Pragnell and Adam Kelly. However it’s possible he is playing cat-and-mouse with his opponents and will sign up at the last minute. Make them sweat, Michael.

BMGA minigolf champion Michael Smith
Bubba who?

For those unable to secure tickets for the event, score updates will be available via the BMGA’s website.

For all your minigolf needs, including sports bar minigolf hire during both tournaments, call Putterfingers on 08450 570 321.

Putterfingers.co.uk

office@connectedshopping.com

4 new minigolf attractions planned for England!

Minigolf seems to be top of the list for developers, councils and shopping centres as a sure-fire winner to attract business and happy putting people. With a bit of luck and a fair wind, this Spring and Summer could see FOUR new minigolf attractions around England, and probably more. These are just the ones we’ve heard about this week!

Jurassic-themed course in Tonbridge

adventure golf tonbridge dinosaur
Families will have a roaring good time at the new course

‘Dino Putt’ is slated as the name of a new 18 hole adventure golf course to be built within the boundaries of the existing Tonbridge Golf Centre. The Jurassic-themed course aims to attract around 50,000 visitors a year.

A planning statement submitted to Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council says: “The emphasis of the game is that the participant embarks on an adventure through the features, which all form interactive environments that the player will engage with.

“Tonbridge Golf is well known for its junior golf and the Centre is continuing to develop programmes to encourage and facilitate the take-up of the sport by younger people.

“The Adventure Golf Facility would fulfil this objective, with typically 50 per cent of customers being children under the age of 12.”

The plans have been approved, so Families will soon be able to enjoy a brand new 2,000 square metre 18-hole adventure golf course in Tonbridge.

Cheltenham’s Brewery Quarter to get a Mr Mulligan’s course

Mr Mulligan new minigolf England
Mr Mulligan drops in to Cheltenham

The Brewery Quarter in Cheltenham has signed up Adventure Leisure Ltd. to build a Mr Mulligan’s Lost World of Golf in the centre. Mr Mulligan’s is going from strength to strength and the Cheltenham course will add to the portfolio of current courses at Castleford, Sidcup, Milton Keynes, Nottingham, Stevenage and Woking.

Work on the 20,000 square foot space is expected to start this month.

A spokesperson for Adventure Leisure said: “We’re very excited to bring Mr Mulligan’s Lost World of Golf to The Brewery Quarter with such a prime location within the town centre, we’re sure it’s going to be the perfect location for our unique brand of adventure golf fun.”

Demelsa Coleman, Marketing Manager for The Brewery Quarter said: “We’re delighted to welcome Adventure Leisure and Mr Mulligan’s Lost World of Golf to The Brewery Quarter, as a visitor attraction we expect it to add to footfall and complement our existing mix of tenants.”

Glow-in-the-dark minigolf for Chichester?

Flashing Golf Balls | www.putterfingers.co.uk
Never lose your ball again

Glow-in-the-dark minigolf is a special kind of fun and we haven’t seen all that much of it in the UK yet, so it’s great to hear that Chichester District Council has received a planning submission for a luminous minigolf-filled extension to Chichester Golf Club in Hunston. If approved, it will add to the existing minigolf offer which includes Jungle Paradise Adventure Golf.

Seaton Carew (Hartlepool) redevelopment to include crazy golf

seagull minigolf crazy golf
There’s an obstacle you might want to hit

Hartlepool Council is seeking bids for a crazy golf attraction to be privately run and financed at seaside resort Seaton Carew. This comes as part of a seafront regeneration effort that will include water jets, play areas, beach huts and communal spaces on the promenade. It will complement recent traditional seaside additions to the seafront such as Gelatos, Glady’s Vintage Tearoom and Fizzy Izzys. Yay! We’re all for keeping England’s seaside atmosphere and traditions alive.

We’re taking bookings for our portable minigolf courses, so as well as visiting permanent attractions, why not hire or buy your own crazy golf course to set up wherever you like? Talk to Shelley for more details on 08450 570 321 or email office@connectedshopping.com.

www.putterfingers.co.uk

Dawlish minigolf course entrepreneur needed

Last week we posted on Facebook about the uncertain future of the minigolf course in Dawlish. Teignbridge Council had decided the course was dangerous and would have to be demolished. This caused a furore among town councillors who said they had not been consulted about what would replace the historic minigolf course and were left in the dark about future plans for the site. The ire of local minigolfers and travelling putters was not mentioned, but we can only assume the would consider it a great loss to the minigolf world.

Well, a week is a long time in minigolf. According to the Torquay Herald Express, the area is to be redeveloped but the minigolf course will remain, albeit with some re-landscaping.

Dawlish minigolf course redeveloped business opportunity

The Exe Estuary Trail cycle route is to be extended through Dawlish and this will require widening an existing footpath running next to the minigolf course. Some modifications will be necessary to the course, but it will remain in place … if the Council can find somebody willing to run it.

A Teignbridge Council spokesman said: “As part of the alterations, Teignbridge looked at what improvements could be made to the existing Mini Golf Course.

“Investigations were made and it was felt that there was an opportunity to invite Expressions of Interest to take on the running of the mini golf for a minimum term of five years so that it could be open all year round. Any improvements proposed could involve modernising the course and making it more of an attraction to the area.

“This will hopefully offer an exciting business opportunity for someone to invest in the town as we look to welcome visitors to Dawlish all year round.”

So if you are a minigolf fan with an entrepreneurial bent and/or deep pockets, here is your chance to run your own course – and one steeped in minigolf history.

Interested parties are to invited complete an Expressions of Interest form by 12pm on Friday, February 17.

Planning an event or wedding in 2017: Hire a minigolf course from Putterfingers for friendly service and a lot of putting fun!

www.putterfingers.co.uk

Minigolf in the movies

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.

Legends of Minigolf: The Flamingo's Challenge

 

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.

4.  Overboard

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.

It's the Wonders of the World miniature golf course.

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!

For all your minigolf needs, visit us at www.putterfingers.co.uk.

 

New minigolf course in Burnley

New minigolf course in Burnley

East Lancashire has acquired brand new minigolf and short game practice courses at Prairie Sports Village in Burnley. The golf training centre and driving range has added the £75,000 new facilities with funding from Sport England. It features a 9-hole minigolf course with holes inspired by famous golf holes around the world. It comes in addition to the £2.5 million Prairie Sport’s Village’s existing driving range, bar and bistro, 3G artificial turf floodlit football pitch and modern changing rooms. Putterfingers supplied a selection of putters for the courses via European Golf, the artificial turf specialists, who laid the putting surfaces.

Prairie Sports Village
The bar and bistro at Prairie Sports Village

At the official launch, Burnley Mayor Counc. Jeff Sumner said “This is the final piece of the jigsaw and it looks fantastic. There’s a big difference from how it looked a few years ago and it is a privilege to have these facilities on our doorstep.”

Paul Foster, Burnley Leisure’s Head of Development, said “It provides another activity that we can now offer to families with young children, women and young people who want to have a go at playing the sport. We want to encourage as many people as possible to come along and play mini golf.”

Read more at: http://www.burnleyexpress.net/news/hole-lot-of-fun-as-prairie-sports-village-unveil-mini-golf-launch-1-8194416

British Open tees off this weekend in Hastings

If you want to watch the UK’s best minigolfers in action, the place to be on the weekend of September 17-18 is Hastings Adventure Golf. It’s the British Open! As it’s the final major BMGA stroke play tournament of the year, it’s your last chance to see these superb players under big tournament pressure.

Everyone will be trying to knock Michael Smith off his perch, which is a big ask seeing as he’s three-time World Champion and British number one. The two-day, nine-round event will be held on the Pirate Course which comes with cannon fire and explosions. What that does to the players’ nerves we can only imagine. The organisers might turn the bangs off during the Open, but we’re not sure.

Hastings Adventure Golf has just undergone a massive refurbishment as part of a transformation of a rather tired area of the promenade. More info at http://hamandeggerfiles.blogspot.co.uk/2016/09/british-minigolf-open-at-hastings-adventure-golf.html

BMGA British Open, hastings adventure golf
The hidden treasure this weekend is a trophy.

We tweeted on September 6 about a new minigolf course at Broad Street Mall, Reading. At the time we didn’t have much info, but now getreading.co.uk have given us a first glimpse inside. It’s a Lost City-themed adventure golf course that looks well made, with Easter Island heads, Cannons, Toucans, treasure chests and Inca carvings dominating it. We reckon it’s well worth a visit – it’s upstairs in the Broad Street Mall.

adventure golf, minigolf, Broad Street Mall, Reading, crazy golf
First glimpse inside the Broad Street Mall adventure golf attraction

Follow us on Twitter for updates like this as they happen!

An interesting video has surfaced showing minigolf’s original heyday in 1930’s America. Apparently it was OK back then to have live bear cubs as obstacles! Miserable bears aside, though, this video is footage of the year when 25,000 minigolf courses were built in the USA as the country went minigolf mad. It was the era when minigolf became industrialised, and when gas pump-operated obstacles were invented. In New York City alone there were 150 rooftop courses to choose from.

As the video suggests, we’ll never see scenes like that again, but minigolf is undergoing its biggest renaissance since that golden decade. The fun just never stops! Book your own minigolf course hire or just grab a few putters and balls from the Putterfingers web store! 

1930s, 1930s minigolf, minigolf vcraze, crazy golf 1930s
In today’s money that adds up to … a lot!

 

New York minigolf, 1930s minigolf
A New York City rooftop course in 1930. How many holes is that?

Minigolf turns 100, says America

Minigolf lies about its age

Strange articles have been popping up this week in U.S. newspapers about minigolf ‘turning 100’ this year. This would be news to the Ladies’ Putting Club of St Andrews, formed in 1867. But the U.S. news articles are probably referring to the first standardised, commercial mass-production minigolf courses, of which the first was built in Pinehurst, North Carolina in 1916. The first documented commercial minigolf course in mainland Europe inspired by the American phenomenon was built in Germany in 1926 by a Mr. Schröder, who had visited the USA and observed minigolf courses spreading across the country.

But minigolf goes further back than that. In June 1912 The Illustrated London News featured a minigolf game called Golfstacle, by F.A. Davis of London. Here’s a set auctioned a few years ago at Sotheby’s.

crazy golf set, crazy golf kit, crazy golf game

Our own take on minigolf sets has become pretty popular with the British public. Check out our courses and kits to buy or hire!

Minigolf courses, minigolf course, minigolf set, minigolf kits, putters, golf balls,
This is our Supersize course. We also offer Funsize and Bitesize.

Looking further back to before the U.S. idea of commercialising and franchising minigolf, there was the Ladies’ Putting Club of St Andrews, formed in 1867 so that ladies could practice without taking the club back above their shoulder, which was deemed improper.

Anyway, happy 100th birthday to the fun and colourful American sport that gave us Putt-Putt, Tom Thumb, and ‘rinkie-dink’ courses made with drainpipes and other cheap stuff during the 1930s Depression. They can be credited with kicking off the whole thing by taking it from a casual weekend pursuit to a commercial phenomenon.

Minigolf: The Movie

To celebrate the 100th Birthday of minigolf, a feature film is being made called Through The Windmill. U.S.-centric (World Series, anyone?), it charts the history of American Minigolf and features copious footage of some of the best courses being played. Definitely worth checking out once it’s released later this year. Here’s a video from Producer/Director, Amanda Kulkoski.

Crazy golf croc shocker!

minigolf, crazy golf,
Snapped – the croc after being hauled out of the lake

At Holiday Resort Unity at Brean Sands near Weston-Super-Mare, management received calls from concerned holidaymakers about a crocodile being spotted in a lake at the resort. Staff approached it cautiously and poked it with a stick, only to find that it was made of fibreglass. It turned out that pranksters had snaffled the croc from nearby Brean Leisure Park’s Congo Adventure crazy golf course and put it in the lake during the night.

The rigid reptile has been returned to its rightful place on the crazy golf course and slightly disappointed wildlife crews have now stood down.

Our obstacles are challenging, colourful and ridiculously easy to set out. Take a peek at them here.

U.S. man travels 50 states in search of minigolf

Dan Caprera, minigolf, usa, crazy golf, 50 states
Dan Caprera was last seen heading North towards Alaska with putter in hand.

After graduating from college a young man from Denver, Colorado has embarked on a trip across all 50 states to visit and review crazy golf courses. A minigolf fan since childhood, Dan Caprera, 23, has trekked around the States putting and fulfilling his passion for travel. He’s still out there, and is documenting his exploits on a blog, with funny and action-packed posts on each minigolf course he visits and plays.

You could say he’s an American version of our home grown hero, ‘putter nutter’ Richard Gottfried, whose similar passion has led to his visiting hundreds of minigolf courses in the UK and Ireland. His blog The Ham and Egger Files can be found here.

But Caprera has a fellow countryman of equal or even greater minigolf fame: Pat Sheridan aka The Putting Penguin. Pat has been reviewing minigolf courses since 2001 and also happens to be Editor in Chief of Minigolfnews.com. The impressive array of courses he has reviewed can be found on this Google Map.

At the moment Caprera is somewhere in Canada on his way to Anchorage, Alaska. So he seems to have reached the edge of the United States and just kept on going. Maybe he’ll putt his way right over the Arctic Circle and end up in Russia. We don’t know much about the minigolf scene in Russia, but if Caprera did find himself there, he’d blog about it. We wish him all the very best of luck, fun and adventure on his crazy golf tour.

Minigolf courses and clubs everywhere buy their putting equipment from the Putterfingers, the Minigolf Masters: putters, balls, obstacles, cups, and extras like scorecards and marker flags. We also hire out complete minigolf packages for parties, weddings, corporate events and charity fundraising. Browse our range of equipment here and our range of complete packages here.

Olympic Alligator Club Poke Shocker!

In other news, champ golfer and recent Open winner Henrik Stenson poked an alligator with his club during the Olympics.

We’d like to take this opportunity to say that we in no way recommend annoying large aquatic reptiles with sporting equipment. Especially not ours, as we like it to be returned to us in good condition. Preferably not chomped through by an enraged hellbeast from a Brazilian swamp.

Thank you, and remember we’re always here for all your putting needs.

alligator, golf, stenson, olympics, poke, club
He just had to, for some reason.

 

2016 British Minigolf Championship this weekend!

BMGA minigolf championship, wroxham barns
One of the holes at the championship course

An exciting weekend of minigolf is in store this weekend at Wroxham Barns in Norfolk. They are hosting the 2016 BMGA British Open Championships, and it’s tight enough amongst the Men’s top seeds to promise a white-knuckle contest for the title. Reigning champion Michael Smith will be up against 2014 winner Adam Kelly as well as strong contenders Steve Lovell, Chris Wood and Andy Wilde. In the Ladies’ Championship, defending champion Ruth Burke will face 2014 winner Brenda Smith as well as Marion Homer, runner-up in the last two competitions.

Minigolf champion, Michael Smith
Defending Champ Michael Smith

The Champs are over Saturday 7th and Sunday 8th May. Ahead of the main tournament, on the evening of Friday 6th May Wroxham Barns will see a charity Pro-Am event run by the BGMA to raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Support.

The mini adventure golf course at Wroxham Barns, designed by UrbanCrazy, was opened in 2008 by the GB minigolf team. With 18 varied holes, it has an all-weather, true-rolling putting surface and rewards accurate putting and cleverly played rebound shots. It has water hazards and other obstacles including a bridge, all set in a landscaped site with rockeries, a watercourse with waterfall and a central fountain. The course is designed to British Minigolf Association standards and is DDA (Disability Discrimination Act) compliant.

Minigolf BMGA champion Ruth Burke
Defending Champ Ruth Burke

You can’t play the course during the Championships, but it will be a great weekend for a minigolf fan to see the UK’s top players putt it out for the 2016 title. Just watching them will improve your game, and you can get close enough to observe their technique!

Don’t forget it’s also National Golf Month! National Golf Month is an initiative driven by the British Golf Industry Association (BGIA) that gives golf clubs the opportunity to promote offers through the National Golf Month website that will target both lapsed and new golfers. Its stated aim is ‘to make 100,000 lapsed or new golfers aware of an opportunity to try golf again for free or at special offer prices’. So keep an eye out on the site for special offers near you!