In the spotlight: Putterfingers catch-up with Puttstars

This National Miniature Golf Day we have had the pleasure of catching up with Puttstars, Golf Operations Manager, Andy Johnson.

Puttstars-mini golf
Copyright: Puttstars

Andy and the Puttstars team at Hollywood Bowl Group, have had the challenge of not only navigating their business around the Covid-19 safety measures, but also the opening of 2 new Puttstars venues, in the midst a Pandemic. No mean feat!

Andy shares the experience at Puttstars and their plans for the future.

You have successfully managed to launch new Puttstars venues during the Pandemic, how has this gone?

“It was a challenge, given that we usually ensure all our team are given some time training with an experienced team member, obviously this was very limited due to the restrictions we faced, however, I have been pleased with the teams and how they have handled the opening weeks. On top of this, the teams have had to operate in an environment where hand sanitising, and face masks are the norm, meaning that extra operational pressures have been put onto the teams.”

What piece of technology could you have not lived without at Puttstars?

“CRM, it’s really important to use to get to know and understand our customers, not only can we then offer them products that are desirable for them, it helps us to communicate with our customer base when required, and to push offers when trading conditions are tough.”

Has Covid-19 brought any positive changes to the business?

“NO!”

Where do you see the role of mini-golf in the competitive socialising market moving forward?

“I believe that as people move towards more experience-based leisure time, mini-golf is well placed to offer this to a range of different customers groups, whether they are families or students. For us offering the playing experience on the courses alongside a fully licensed bar, with diner and amusements makes us a great place for people to socialise and spend time with their friends and family.”

As a customer, what you can expect from a visit to Puttstars at present?

Puttstars_mini golf
Copyright: Puttstars

“A memorable experience for the right reasons hopefully, we set out trying to design holes which offer intrigue and interest and are fun for everyone to play, we have tried to create an environment where everyone is welcome and can enjoy the space, we also believe that our offering is incredibly good value for money.”

What is your best score playing Puttstars Mini Golf?

“7800, which I scored on only my 3rd round, I have been unable to better this since, much to my annoyance, and despite lots of attempts.”

What is your favourite mini golf hole at the venues?

“I don’t have one favourite, we have 27 holes within each centre that are bespoke to us and can’t be found anywhere else in the world, we spent a lot of time working with our course designers to make the playing experience a unique one.”

What do Christmas parties at Puttstars look like this year?

“I think that’s partially a question for the government, depending on what the rules are on group gatherings, without COVID we would be offering a package that contained golf, food and drink with trophies for the winners among other things, however, I think that restrictions this year will limit us. That said we will still be offering great value deals whatever the restrictions, check out our website for the latest information.”

What does the future hold for Puttstars?

“Our early trading has been very positive even launching in these unusual times, so we are confident that we can continue on our proposed path to open future sites and keep expanding our brand. Keep an eye out near you for a new Puttstars opening soon.”

Thanks to Andy for taking the time to give us an update.

About Putterfingers

At Putterfingers, we supply a whole range of mini golf equipment both to trade and for home use. Check out our website for portable crazy golf courses to hire or buy, for putters, balls, obstacles and more.

 

Beat the Rule Of Six and spread the party out!

Last week we blogged about the measures we are taking for our customers’ COVID-19 safety. This week we hear from a customer who used one of our crazy golf courses to plan a series of socially distanced garden games events for their daughter’s birthday party that followed the rule of no more than six people, and kept them apart while they had fun.

Socially distanced birthday fun

Rather than hosting one big party on the same day, Lynn Williams from Northants came up with the idea of spreading it over several days, with just a few friends invited each day. That way her daughter had not just one birthday party but several, giving the family the maximum value from their crazy golf hire.

Birthday party crazy golf
The layout for the multi-day birthday party

Great for all ages

“The parents and family that came had just as much fun as the kids,” said Lynn. “In fact they were probably more competitive!”

“Having it for a week in the current situation allowed family and friends to come and have fun whilst keeping to the rules of social distancing. Our daughter loved having a week long birthday.”

As we said last week, by its very nature minigolf has social distancing built in. The fun lies in watching the success or failure of the one person who is putting and either supporting their efforts or just taking the mickey. This can be safely done from the sidelines. There’s no need to get near other players.

Mini golf hire UK
Waiting for the guests to arrive …

People have used our crazy golf courses in so many creative ways over the years. We’ve had rooftop crazy golf, wedding marquee crazy golf, office crazy golf, even crazy golf in a field full of cows. Nobody has tried underwater crazy golf yet, but it’s probably just a matter of time. This birthday party is another example of somebody using our equipment to fit in with their plans in a totally personalised way.

minigolf social distancing
Social distancing is built into minigolf

“It was great for our daughter as she got to invite her friends, albeit separately, over many days. We also had just as much fun in the rain as we did the sun,” says Lynn (the equipment is all waterproof and the putting surface has drainage holes to enable play to resume quickly after a shower – or carry on through one).

“Communication was great and everyone I dealt with was very professional and friendly,” she adds. Well, we do our best (blush).

So, crazy golf might just be the ideal activity for parties and events in these strange times. Get in touch for a hire quote and your loved ones could soon be putting away the 2020 blues while still obeying the ever-changing rules.

Good CLEAN fun: COVID-safe mini golf

Like so many businesses in 2020, Putterfingers have been forced to sit down and think about how we can continue to serve our customers in a COVID-safe way. So here are our thoughts (and actions) on the matter.

Mini golf… ideal for social distancing

Firstly, we’re happy to report that mini golf has some built-in social distancing features that tend to keep players 2 or more metres apart.

It’s a one-player-at-a-time sport. Each player takes their place in turn at the tee-off mat and plays their ball for what they fondly hope will be a hole in one. They then move forward to either pick up their ball out of the cup or play another shot. Meanwhile, other players should be standing well off the putting green and well distanced from the active player so as not to distract their opponent from their shot(s). This worked well before COVID, and it continues to work well with COVID about.

Modular crazy golf courseSocial distancing_crazy golf

Our courses are modular, and holes can be set up as far apart as the organisers wish. So hole 1 can be many metres away from hole 2 and so on, space permitting. This means the course layout can be done in ways that minimise any risk of accidental cross-contamination from players straying too close to one another.
Players can go around the course either alone or in their social bubble group, and enjoy the same participation, enjoyment, competitiveness and scoring that they would in pre-COVID times.

Sanitising mini-golf equipmentCrazy golf for events post Covid

Players usually only handle their own ball, even in normal times, and tend to keep hold of the same putter. So the risk of cross-infection from balls and putters is low. We can provide extra putters and balls for your event if required.

If players can agree to stick more firmly to these rules during these difficult times, then the risk is reduced further. Children should be encouraged to follow these rules where that is practical.

Nevertheless, COVID is always a worry. So we are providing paper towels and sanitiser to customers who request them, to allow balls, putters, obstacles and cups to be sanitised during each round. Also available as part of the hire, are freestanding hand sanitiser stations. The hand sanitiser stations can be branded with Hand Sanitiser Station_1 dispenseryour own logo or personalised with your own messaging.

As for the equipment coming from our warehouse, it’s worth noting that all our hire equipment remains boxed for at least 24 hours prior to delivery, and often longer. 24 hours is approximately how long coronavirus can survive on cardboard. Before we box the equipment, we sanitise balls, putters, obstacles and putting cups with alcohol-based sanitiser and thoroughly clean the astro grass tiles that form the playing surface.

We are applying the same anti-COVID measures to all our hire equipment. A footpool table hire from us, for example, will come with pre-sanitised futsal balls and a thoroughly cleaned playing surface.

So, we’re doing everything we can to make our hire equipment COVID-safe. We want you to enjoy yourselves and have good clean fun!

Minigolf is a great way to relax and forget about the state of the world at the moment.

Mini-golf hire for your event

If you would like to hire our portable, modular mini-golf courses for your event then please get in touch with the team:

Tel: 01284 848330

email: office@connectedshopping.com

Crazy golf is ideal for smaller wedding receptions

Crazy golf is a hugely popular addition to wedding receptions. It is an ideal way to keep guests of all ages entertainedKids playing crazy golf at wedding for age 8 to 80. This year has scuppered the wedding plans of many couples, but with the latest ease in lockdown restrictions, allowing receptions of 30 people, there is still hope. So couples with their wedding date booked for the coming months may be rethinking their receptions plans and adapting to a smaller, more intimate celebration with close friends and family. Some may even welcome the imposed restrictions – what a perfect excuse for swiping Great Aunt Greta off the invite list!

Crazy golf could be an ideal solution for entertaining a smaller group of guests.

 

Why crazy golf for smaller weddings?

Here are the top reasons why they work for smaller weddings and socially distanced gatherings:

1. Courses can be hired in a range of sizes – 4, 6 or 9 holes, depending on the number of guests you are entertaining and the space available at your venue.

2. Crazy golf is a family favourite activity, something that can be enjoyed by all guest, no matter their age or ability.

3. Courses are modular, the 1msq interlocking astro-tiles can be assembled to suit the space that you have available. Golf can be spaced out to enable guests to maintain social distancing.

4. We can offer sanitation stations as part of your hire package to maintain hygiene – these can be customised with your own wedding colours and name of the bride and groom.

5. Course hires for weddings include a set of wedding-themed obstacles, which can also be personalised for your event.

6. The course is suitable for use indoors and outdoors. So even if the weather isn’t so kind on your wedding day, the quick-drain astro tiles will stay useable.

Wedding Mini Golf - fun for brides, grooms and all the family - and romance

Wedding entertainment packages

Mini golf can also be built into a package of different games and photo opportunities. Choose the selection of games and activities you think will be perfect for your guests. We’ll take care of delivery, collection, and set-up as well if you’re not too far away from our warehouse in Norfolk. When you plan your wedding celebrations, you can consider the space you have available and choose the right combination of minigolf course, Mr & Mrs table tennis, giant wooden games, face in hole boards, photo wall, kissing booth etc. to make sure that everywhere they look, guests have something fun to do for a few hours.

Wedding games

Get in touch

If you would like to discuss the options available and how we can assist in making your big day special for your selected guests, then give the team a call:

Tel: 01284 848330

email: office@connectedshopping.com

Welcoming back the crazy-golfers

This week we have seen the re-opening of ‘big’ golf courses across the UK following lockdown. Mini golf courses have yet to open their doors. Latest Government advice this week has suggested that leisure facilities, such as our mini-golf courses, may begin to re-open from 4th July. Depending on the all-important R-number at this time.

What preparations can crazy golf courses be making?

Social distancing

Social distancing is here to stay for the foreseeable future. Whilst this may be easier for ‘big’ golf courses to adhere to, mini-golf courses, are just that – mini.

Mini golf courses will need to follow the same example of retail and limit the number of players entering the facilities. The players will need to keep to the 2m rule and possibly only play with members of the same household initially.

Ticketing will offer the best solution for this. Whether than be through a website function or a socially distanced queue on the seafront.

HygieneHygiene for customers_sanitiser stations

“Wash your hands”…. This has been the Government’s mantra since earlier this year. Maintaining good levels of hygiene is one of the key ways we can all contribute to stopping the spread of the Coronavirus. Crazy golf courses, like all leisure facilities, will be required to provide handwashing facilities for visitors on their premises. For some, venues this may be easier than done.

Hand washing is deemed preferable, however, the practicalities of offering soap and fresh water at the entrance may make this tricky. The next best alternative will be to provide hand sanitising facilities and to make it clear to customers that this is a requirement on entering the venue.

Cleaning of equipment between players will also be a necessity. Staff will need to be able to make time for wiping Bundle_junior_puttersdown the putters and balls between groups and ensuring that equipment remains within the same group during play.

At the moment it’s a case of watch and wait to see how the next phases of lockdown pan out. It is clear however that leisure will look very different from what we have been used to.

Britain is renowned for its stoic public, we have managed so far and we will continue to!

At Putterfingers we are taking every precaution we can. Our deliveries will continue to adhere to social distancing and we will continue to thoroughly sanitise our equipment after every hire.

Hand Sanitiser Stations

Hand Sanitiser Station_1 dispenser

Our sister brand, Photo Cutouts, have been busy working on a new product – freestanding, portable hand sanitising stations. They are fully customisable with your own branding and available in different sizes for hire and to purchase. A hand sanitising station could offer mini-golf venues with the ideal solution for maintaining customer hygiene on re-opening and beyond.

Get in touch:

Get in touch with the Putterfingers team to talk about customised hand sanitiser stations and stock of all your mini-golf course supplies.

Tel no: 01284 848330

email: office@connectedshopping.com

The virus is no ‘obstacle’! Lockdown minigolf kits

As regular readers of this blog will know, our stock-in-trade is minigolf hire and sales for parties, corporate events, trade shows and weddings. Well, those events are not so hot right now because of a certain microscopic gremlin that’s keeping us all cooped up.

But fear not! Miniature golf fun can still be had in the meantime. There’s a new section on our website full of minigolf-at-home kits starting at just £21. Check it out here.

Lockdown mini golf kits for putting at home in the garden or indoors

Garden minigolf

Grab a few putters, balls and obstacles from our online catalogue, set them up in the back garden, pour your springtime beverage of choice and while away the lockdown hours honing your putting skills. Get the whole family involved if they are up for it. If you have a smooth lawn then you’ve already got the ideal putting surface. But if there’s no lawn or a bumpy one, we can supply a number of interlocking astro grass tiles to create a lovely smooth-rolling surface to play on. Paved areas like patios work well too – but you’ll need to be a bit gentler with your putts because concrete is a much faster surface.

Indoor minigolf

Putting indoors is just as much fun – especially when you involve your own furniture! Almost anything can be pressed into service as a minigolf obstacle, and it’s possible to create some interesting and challenging layouts that use the room’s angles and features. The balls we supply are low bounce – designed to stay low and minimise the threat to windows and fragile objects. But you shouldn’t really be hitting the ball that hard anyway! For the ultimate safety, use our airflow balls which are as light as a feather.

Mega home mini golf set lockdown putting

We’re selling kits for one or two people, and larger ones for the whole family. Which one do you fancy to putt away the lockdown blues? See the options here!

How to get your golf fix from home

Well, what a start to Spring. With the whole of the UK being told to stay home, it comes as little surprise today that golf courses across the country are announcing their temporary closure. The Prime Minister’s latest announcements are pushing towards tougher measures to crack down on the spread of Covid-19. Whilst leaving home once a day for exercise and essentials is still permitted, it is clear that the social distancing measures have so far not been tough enough. Sadly, things will have to change in the leisure industry for a short while and in the meantime, we have some suggestions on how you can continue playing golf from the safety of your own home.

Golfing from home - ideas for practising golf from home during self isolation

Mini Golf Hire by courier

Training Aids

Practice Foam Golf Balls

Putterfingers Putting Cups

Target Spiderball Golf Set for kids

 

Mini golf is a hit at University Events

Are you part of the events team at your University? If you are involved in planning this year’s May Ball, end of term bash, Graduation party or Fresher’s Week activities, why not consider adding crazy golf into the entertainment mix.

Crazy golf is now hugely popular in the UK and competitive socialising is booming in the leisure industry. Many towns and cities popular with students, may even be home to one of the latest crazy golf venues that have been popping from the likes of Junkyard Golf, Plonk Golf, Ghetto GolfSwingers, Mr Mulligans, and a growing number of other chains.

So why not bring a bit of competitive socialising into your student union or University setting? Crazy golf works for entertainment on many levels…

It’s fun

Fellow students will have the chance to let their hair down and have a laugh trying to make their way around the course. It’s a good way to relax at the end of a busy term.

University of Hertfordshire Welcome Fest
University of Hertfordshire Welcome Fest photography by Pete Stevens

It can be enjoyed with or without alcohol

With an increasing number of tee-total students, it’s good to have on hand entertainment that doesn’t involve propping up the bar. And with crazy golf, everyone is catered for.

Competitive socialising

It brings out everyone’s competitive side – who doesn’t love a bit of healthy competition between friends?! A bit of banter over a round of crazy golf is great for getting to know new people and new sides to people that you thought you knew! It’s popular at Fresher’s events and Welcome Week for that very reason.

UEA Crazy Golf - Freshers Week
UEA Crazy Golf – Freshers Week

Great for all abilities

No skills required – it’s tricky to navigate shots whether you’re a beginner or not. Even people good at ‘BIG’ golf can look silly negotiating obstacles on a putting green – so everyone is on a level pegging.

Instagrammable

It makes a great photo opportunity. Our courses can include branded obstacles, bumpers and tee-off mats – a perfect branded and Instagram-worthy photo opportunity to use on University socials.

Get active

Crazy golf has many health benefits – it’s a fun way to get active and relieve stress, check out our blogs on its benefits to mental health and stress relief. As a result, mini golf is often used at Universities during Healthy Mind and Wellbeing weeks. It gets students moving, away from their screens and out socialising face to face with friends – what better way to promote wellbeing at your institution.

 

Sheffield Hallam University - Get Active Week
Sheffield Hallam University – Get Active Week

Looking for something extra?

Our sister brand, Fun4Guests, offers a number of additional activities to hire which go perfectly with crazy golf:

Fun4Guests_Street Art Gallery_Footpool_Table Tennis

Get in touch:

Talk to our team about your upcoming University events and we can recommend fun activities to suit your requirements and budget.

Tel no: 01284 848330

email: office@connectedshopping.com

Putt away for your first date nerves

It’s Valentines Day and love is in the air. Whether you buy into the cheese-fest that is Valentine’s or reluctant to indulge in romance, there is no getting away from the expectation to do something to mark the occasion.

For those of you taking out a date this weekend, you might be looking for something to do that on the face of it, is less of the cheesy romance and more chilled out and a good laugh.

That’s where crazy golf comes in!

Why crazy golf for date-night?

Sarasota-Golf-Valentines-ball

1. Relaxed and informal

At crazy golf venues, there won’t be a candle in sight. There is less emphasis on Valentine’s romance and more focus on enjoying each other’s company. You’ll be moving around rather than awkwardly sat at a dinner table, trying to watch your P’s & Q’s.

 

 

Crazy golf fun2. It’s a good laugh

Crazy golf courses are not designed to be easy to complete. Whilst there might be some pros for the majority of us it’s one of those activities where we are all on a level pegging… to begin with at least. You can’t be afraid to look silly with crazy golf – it’s a great way to get people to let their guard down.

 

3. There are crazy golf venues everywhere!

With so many courses opening up left, right and centre in the UK you are bound to find a course local to you. Gone are the days of crazy golf being solely a seaside pastime, the high streets of our towns and cities are awash with leisure venues. Check out Ghetto Golf, Junkyard Golf, Plonk Golf, Mr Mulligans, to name a few, and find a great venue local to you.

Competitive crazy golf4. Bring out your competitive side

Many a relationship has hit the rocks over a competitive game. We all have that one person in our life who we can’t play monopoly with without crossed words. Test the water with your latest beau over a round of crazy golf, nothing like a bit of healthy competition to bring out someone’s true colours!

 

Axe throwing for beginners ©Channel Super Fun
Axe throwing for beginners ©Channel Super Fun

5. Less risky than axe-throwing

If you’ve not been as romantic as expected, or have hogged all the duvet, then crazy golf should be the perfect activity for making amends. There’s a wealth of options for a bit of competitive socialising – but axe throwing might not be the best choice if you are starting out on the back foot!

 

So how will you be celebrating Valentines Day?

If you are popping the question, don’t forget to come back to us for your wedding mini golf hire!

Benefits of mini golf on mental health

Mental Health has been at the forefront of social media and the press this week. #ChildrensMentalHealthWeek has focussed our attention on supporting young people to manage their mental health, and #TimeToTalkDay has helped encourage people to talk about mental health and reduce stigma.

At Putterfingers, we are big advocates of the role mini golf can play in improving the mental health of players. We have blogged previously about how crazy golf can reduce stress levels, an issue closely linked to mental health. But there are ways that mini golf can be beneficial on mental health as a whole.

The New Economics Foundation developed ‘The Five Ways to Wellbeing’, a set of mental health messages, which when practised, improves the mental health and wellbeing of the whole population. Mental health charity, Mind, have clearly outlined ‘The Five Ways to Wellbeing’ concept and here is how we strongly believe that mini golf can fit into this framework.

5 Ways to Wellbeing

Connect

Social relationships are important for maintaining a healthy mind. Mini golf can offer a social activity that brings people together in a relaxed and informal environment. As a sport that is played as an individual rather than in a team, participants can be social as much or as little as they wish, whilst still connecting with others.
The beauty of mini golf is that it is a challenge for everyone – there is no right or wrong way to do it. Overcoming obstacles, quite literally (!), brings people together, which is why it is so often used for team building activities.

Mini golf for socialising

Be active

“Regular physical activity is associated with lower rates of depression and anxiety across all age groups.” (Mind.org)

You don’t need to hit the gym or break a sweat to enjoy a bit of physical activity. Mini golf is a slower-paced activity that is suitable for anyone, regardless of age or physical fitness. Walking has a huge benefit to mental and physical health, walking around a miniature golf course gives a purpose and more enjoyment to that walk.

Putting, whether in ‘Big’ golf, pitch and putt, adventure golf or crazy golf, certainly uses the muscles on our arms. But engaging with your core muscles will help you to control the club according to Tom Watson’s article “Putt With Your Gut”.

University of Hertfordshire Welcome Fest © Pete Stevens
University of Hertfordshire Welcome Fest © Pete Stevens
Take Notice

Living in the moment, or being aware of the present, is the third concept of the 5 Ways to Wellbeing. Taking a moment to enjoy the environment around you is something that all of us leading busy lives can benefit from remembering.

Crazy golf has traditionally been a seaside pastime and you will often still find a course at coastal resorts. If you do take the time to visit one of these courses by the sea, take the time to notice your surroundings, the sea breeze, the seagulls, perhaps if the sound of the waves if you are lucky.

Many parks are also home to a miniature golf course or pitch and putt. So, a great opportunity to get back to nature and take some time for yourself.

Holbeck Putting Green in Scarborough © Emily Gottfried
Holbeck Putting Green in Scarborough © Emily Gottfried
Learn

According to Mind, learning a new skill can enhance with self-esteem. It also encourages more social interaction, which as humans is one our basic needs. Improved self-worth is an important factor for maintaining good mental health.
Mini golf could be that new skill you are looking for. It is such an accessible activity that literally anyone can get involved. It is fun to try and overcome the obstacles of the course, there are a few individuals who have mastered the tricks (Richard & Emily Gottfried, Marc Chapman!), but for the majority of us success is based on problem-solving and a little bit of luck. Who knows, you could be the next Minigolf Champion!

Red Interactive Mini Golf Winners!

Give

People who engage in activities to help others are “more likely to rate themselves as happy” (Mind.org).

Getting involved with a cause or community group and help your feeling of belonging and to support other elements of the 5 Ways to Wellbeing such as connecting with others.

As mini golf is an activity for all, yet still competitive, it is a great contender for fundraising activities. It’s been a staple of fundraising in the USA for a long time and is beginning to get some traction over here. It’s a fun, social activity that offers ample opportunity for charity branding to promote the cause and raise awareness and money.
Read some of our blogs on Mini Golf for Fundraising and see how charities such as Global Media & Entertainment’s ‘Make Some Noise’ charity has used Putterfingers mini golf for their charity day.

Mini golf for fundraising_Make Some Noise_Kate Garraway
Kate Garraway at Global’s Make Some Noise Charity Day

Don’t just take our word for it, The British Medical Journal blogged back in 2018, how shorter play versions of ‘big’ golf, such as pitch and putt, adventure golf, crazy golf or miniature golf, is an appealing introduction to the wider benefits of golf on mental, and physical health.

If you are planning a wellbeing event for your company, school, university or local community, then why not book mini golf as part of the event activities. We offer a variety of size courses which are available to hire or buy. There are options to brand the courses and obstacles with your logo and hashtags.

Get in touch

Email: office@connectedshopping.com

Tel: 01284 848330