Battle of Hastings: World Minigolf Champs in 3 weeks!

Hastings Adventure Golf
The Battle of Hastings starts on the 10th of June

Hastings Adventure Golf lies on the seafront in the shadow of the ruins of Hastings Castle. This quintessential British seaside town, town, famous for a certain invasion rather a long time ago, sees a newer invasion every year in the form of hundreds of avid mini golf enthusiasts, who descend on Hastings for the World Crazy Golf Championships. Brandishing putters rather than swords, they are of all abilities from novice to professional (uniquely, it’s an open competition), and compete for the coveted trophy. The tournament has its own unique set of rules, including the condition that all players must use the same type of ball. This contrasts with some other minigolf championships where a selection of balls with different properties can be used, and players select the desired one for each hole.

In 2013 an 18-year old Czech, Olivia Propokova, was both the first lady winner and also the youngest. Michael Smith has won it for the last two years, with Sean Homer never far behind. This year it kicks off on the 10th of June and lasts two days. The course presents many challenges, including a waterwheel, a windmill, an obelisk, lighthouse, ramps, bends, twists and bunkers. The top players know each hole inside out and are frequently able to hit a hole in one. The winner is the one who hits the most – and it’s usually tight at the top, with play sometimes going down to the last hole and the victor winning by a single stroke.

Here’s a video taken at the 2014 World Crazy Golf Championships, in which Sean Homer, Chairman of the British Mini Golf Association, talks about the World Minigolf Federation’s efforts to get Minigolf into the Olympic Games. There’s no good reason why it shouldn’t be included in the Olympics. It’s competitive, watchable, tense and requires great skill. Who knows? Maybe in a few years we will be watching Michael Smith and other top players kissing their gold medals on the Olympic podium. We’re keeping our Putterfingers crossed for that!

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.

 

Is this the worst minigolf attraction ever?

When you see something like this advertised (see photo below), you think you’re in for a good family day out. After all, adventure golf parks are pretty reliable fun, so what could possibly go wrong?

Minigolf course, Belfast Titanic, crap minigolf course
Looks lovely. Let’s book!

Well, this is what one family found when they arrived at the very same ‘state of the art’ crazy golf course advertised above:

crap minigolf course
Oh. That’s a bit disappointing

Michelle Marshall, from County Down, took her daughter Arianna on a family trip to the crazy golf attraction as a treat before going back to school. But she described what they found as ‘like a playground left behind after a civil war’. Located next to Titanic Belfast, a genuinely good tourist attraction, the course lies on waste ground and is made of rotting wood with nails sticking out. The most attractive feature is a shipping container. If you were into Urban Exploration and enjoyed watching 28 Days Later, you’d probably love it, but a family with a small girl who booked a day of minigolf in good faith were so disappointed they just laughed.

worst minigolf attraction ever
A world of adventure. If you’re a rat

With good humour, Ms Marshall said, ‘It was so hideously awful my sister and I just laughed and laughed. We’d been taken for mugs by a glossy ad and no one is even embarrassed enough to try to tart the place up.’

The story is similar to the famous ‘Winter Wonderland’ attraction in Milton Keynes that closed after just a single day of business following an outcry from customers. There have been numerous such stories and they are always hilarious, but this is the first time we have seen a minigolf attraction that looks like something inside the Chernobyl exclusion zone. Look through our past blog posts to find some proper crazy golf attractions!

Continuing in a tragi-comic vein, here’s a video of Mr. Bean playing crazy golf:

Smithy wins again!

Minigolf, British Open 2016
This year’s British Open winners

In the British Open held on September 17th and 18th at Hastings Adventure Golf, Michael Smith once again triumphed, finishing 80 under par and winning by 2 shots from Adam Kelly with Will Donnelly taking 3rd. See the full results here. Over 10 gruelling rounds, Smith scored just two 3s and very nearly achieved a clean sheet at the ninth hole, dropping just a single shot there in the first round.

And here’s a bit of minigolf news from abroad:

African Minigolf Summit held in Kenya

Meerkat, Kenya, minnigolf
These guys will help find the ball

The World Minigolf Sport Federation has organised a pan-African conference to discuss investment in minigolf on the continent. Representatives will attend from Botswana, Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania and Togo. A WMF representative said, ‘There are a lot of minigolf courses in different African countries, but there are also many opportunities to develop minigolf from a ‘street’ level towards a professional sport and Continental Championships in the near future.’

Putterfingers.co.uk 

 

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?

Michael Smith wins the 2015 World Crazy Golf Championships

Congratulations to Michael Smith who took home the top cash prize of £1,000 in the final major mini golf competition of 2015 at Hastings Adventure Golf Course last weekend!

World Crazy Golf Championships 2015
Action from the World Crazy Golf Championships 2015 (Image Credit: Richard Gottfried)

The annual World Crazy Golf Championships took place at Hastings Adventure Golf including 75 players from 4 different countries, was won by Great Britain’s Michael Smith with an impressive -31 under par over the 7 rounds.

Second place Pasi Aho from Finland finished with -18 under par and in a admirable third slot was Chris Harding, last year’s World Crazy Golf Champion finishing with -17 under par.

Doing it for the girls was former winner and child mini golf prodigy Olivia Prokopova, from the Czech Republic in a very respectable 4th place.

Notable ‘Most aces in a row’ included Emily Gottfried who scored 3 aces in a row and a total of 22 hole in ones in the whole competition, with hole 16 obviously being a favourite for her.  Emily scored 5 aces out of a possible 6! Here is some footage from the World Crazy Golf Championship Final on Hole 16:

Here is a candid review from Jonathan Wells who writes for the Telegraph, in this article ‘I competed in the World Crazy Golf Championships…and came last‘  It is really not as easy as you think………

You can see the full list of results from the BMGA website here.  You can also read the Gottfried’s Report on the event as Richard and Emily took 20th and 34th positions respectively.

The next event on the British Mini Golf Association Tour is the Kent Open, on November 14 at the Lost Island Encounter Adventure Golf Course in Chislehurst.

Image Credit: Richard Gottfried

Sources: The Ham and Egger Files

The Telegraph

 

Why have a Lucky Last Hole in Crazy Golf?

For those of you that haven’t played the 19th hole on a mini golf, crazy golf or adventure golf course, these are often known as the Lucky Last hole.

The last hole on a crazy golf or adventure golf course, sometimes the 10th, 19th or even 13th (maybe unlucky) at one our local courses, is usually there to test your skills for a free round of the course.

During my attempt at the Lucky Last hole at Felixstowe Golf FX course last year, both my daughter and I failed miserably!  So we hung up our clubs and went for ice cream instead!

All 3 courses in Hastings have an electronic, interactive ‘Lucky Last Hole’ where every player has a chance to win a Free Game Ticket. I have been told that you need to be prepared to be insulted if you miss though!  Here is Woody – the lucky last hole:

Lucky Last Hole at Hastings Crazy Golf

Have you ever won on the Lucky Last Hole at a crazy golf course?

Useful links:

Hastings Adventure Golf

Pirate Adventure Golf

Golf FX, Felixstowe

 

World Crazy Golf Championships 2013

The prestigious World Crazy Golf Championships took place last weekend on Saturday 26th and Sunday 27th October at Hastings Adventure Golf, home to three 18 hole miniature golf courses which is also known as the national centre for Miniature Golf in the UK.

In the midst of the storm St Jude, 18 year old Czechoslovakian schoolgirl Olivia Prokopova, won the World Crazy Golf Championships on a windswept Hastings seafront by a margin of 21 shots.

World Crazy Golf Championships 2013 Winner Olivia Prokopova

The event with its 78 strong field saw its first ever female winner, and Olivia was just one of three women placed in the top 50, with her best round of 30 on the 18 hole course.

Olivia has been playing mini golf since the age of 3 and at the age of 8, she came third in the World Crazy Golf Championships.  The competition is now in its 10th year attracts a field from all over Europe, with participants from Czechoslovakia, Finland, Germany, Portugal and Great Britain.  Olivia puts her success down to the fact she practises 12 hours a day and has been for the last 15 years.  She said that “If there is any way way I can play minigolf professionally in the future, I will”

The most aces in a row was achieved by Tony Kelly from Great Britain, with an impressive 4 consecutive aces.

Sean Homer, Chairman of the British Minigolf Association said:

It was a brilliant event and the spirit among the players during what were some of the harshest weather conditions I’ve seen in 8 years on the tour was incredible. I’d like to say a huge thank you to all the players, organisers, scorers, referees, helpers and supporters who took part in the weekend, along with all the team at Hastings Adventure Golf – it’s all of you that make the event such a special part of the BMGA tour and such a great competition every year. I look forward to seeing everyone again next year – hopefully without the particularly ‘crazy’ weather we had this time!

World Crazy Golf Championships 2013

Source:

World Crazy Golf Championship First Female Winner  from the Guardian

Full results from World Crazy Golf Championships via www.bmga.co.uk