Putterfingers are thrilled to be involved in a major fundraising event in Norwich. A Funsize course graced the courtyard of the Intu Chapelfield shopping centre for a weekend as part of GoGoHares 2018 – a fundraiser to mark the 50th anniversary of local charity Break.
Break has been providing homes for vulnerable children and young people across East Anglia since 1968. GoGoHares is a sculpture trail around Norwich featuring 50 large hare sculptures and 164 leverets (smaller hares) all decorated by local artists for people to find and mark on their maps. At the end of the event, which started in June and ends in October, the sculptures will be auctioned off to raise funds for Break.
GoGoHares is the latest in a series of sculpture trails organised by Break with the help of public art events specialists Wild in Art, who organise major art trails like this all over the world and raise millions for charity. GoGoGorillas in 2013 and GoGoDragons in 2015 were similar events and highly successful in raising funds. This year there have been numerous side-attractions and things to do, including a Guinness World Record attempt at the most people dressed as a hare in one place, which must have been pawsome. Our minigolf course was one such ‘sideshow’ to the main event.
The Putterfingers course was branded ‘GoGoGolf’ and we’ve got some pictures of the course with some of the hares dotted around it. There were plenty of jokes about putting a ball down the rabbit hole, doe-nating a few bucks or going as crazy golf as the Mad March Hare.
Putterfingers were super-pleased to help out at GoGoHares 2018 and we hope that when the hares are auctioned off it will raise masses of doe for Break!
An evening at the local mini golf course is fun and challenging, and a great way to get to know your date. It’s a bit of a classic dating idea over in the USA, tinged perhaps with 1950s-type nostalgia. It’s an innocent pastime that breaks the ice and brings out people’s personalities. And it gives you something to do with your hands while you’re fighting those first- or second-date nerves. Meeting someone new is an emotional roller-coaster at the best of times, so why not simply do something fun?
Crazy golf is affordable – much cheaper than taking your date to a restaurant or even a film these days. It fosters social interaction, which is what you are after on a date, right? Almost anyone can play it as well. You might think naked bear wrestling is a cool thing to do with your date, but they might not be quite as enthusiastic. Minigolf is a tried and tested way to have simple and relatively safe fun together.
Wear sun protection – a wide-brimmed hat, or slather yourself with sun cream. You’ll be out on the course for a while and getting fried to a crisp would spoil the fun (unless it’s a ploy to have your date apply lotion to your shoulders. If so, well played.)
Don’t be over-competitive. You’re on the minigolf course to get to know someone, not just to beat them at minigolf. Celebrate their good shots as well as your own.
You can make a friendly wager at the beginning, though, like buying a drink or an ice cream afterwards.
Wear trainers, sandals or flat shoes. You know, suitable footwear for playing minigolf. No boots or high heels.
If you want a quick date, choose a 9-hole course. If you want a more extended meeting, choose an 18-hole course. If Cupid’s arrow has at least left his bow and is on its way, then go round again!
Southport man proposes to girlfriend at their favourite mini golf course
A heartwarming story reached Putterfingers Towers this week. Louisa Henry and Allan Connell are regular players at The Masters Mini Golf Course in Southport. One day after two years of playing together as a couple, Allan suddenly got down on one knee after the 18th hole and produced a small round golden item from his pocket. Louisa responded in the traditional fashion by going bright red, fanning her face and giggling uncontrollably. Luckily for Allan she then said ‘Yes!’ The happy couple were applauded by onlookers and given two free games. Here’s a photo of the moment of romance captured by the Champion Newspaper!
Minigolf is traditionally a great place to go out for a date. From the 1920s onwards, it has been a fun and friendly activity for couples getting to know each other. It brings out the kid in everyone, breaks the ice and there’s the opportunity for a bit of one-to-one swing guidance if things go well. It doesn’t matter how rubbish you are at it. In fact, it’s best to be as rubbish as possible and have a good laugh as your ball bounces off walls and onto the next hole. Even bad minigolf beats sitting rigidly in a restaurant or staring silently at a movie together!
If one thing leads to another and the Big Question gets popped, as it did with Louisa and Allan, then you’ll need a theme for the wedding. Now what could that possibly be?
Minigolf-themed weddings are great fun for guests and the happy couple alike, for the same reasons it’s good for dating: it breaks the ice and helps people get to know each other and have a good time. Plus it makes for some good wedding photos!
Putterfingers have provided minigolf at hundreds of weddings up and down the country. Give Shelley a call and find out how to book it at your wedding!
Much-loved American putting game Putt-Putt turned 64 last week and is still going strong, which shows that the U.S. putting population’s answer to the question “Will you still need me, will you still feed me when I’m sixty-four?” is a resounding “Yes!”
Some British readers might not be familiar with Putt-Putt, but rest assured it’s miniature golf, just a specific version of it that was commercialised and popularised in the USA in the 1950s. Here’s a bit of its history and one notable occurrence.
When the first Putt-Putt® course opened in Fayetteville, North Carolina in 1954, the Putt-Putt mission statement was simple and honest: “To provide families with a safe, clean, wholesome entertainment venue where they can have an enjoyable experience for a reasonable cost in their own community.” A game cost 25 cents and the courses were standardised to give as equal a challenge as possible from one course to another. Doing away with windmills, fountains and other paraphernalia, they consisted of simple geometric shapes and standardised carpet and rails to give even roll and predictable bounce. The holes are designed so that a hole in one is always possible. So it’s a game of pure putting skill and judgement.
A franchise business right from the start, Putt-Putt courses spread quickly and became a household name in family entertainment. It is still possible to apply to become a Putt-Putt franchisee! Soon the brand had its own league, the Professional Putters Association (PPA) which still exists today and offers relatively substantial prize money.
Here’s a video we’ve shared before which not only shows what Putt-Putt holes look like, but also one of the very few occasions on which a player has hit 18 consecutive aces – the perfect game (see original post here). It’s a superbly made animated video that documents the most exciting moment in the putting career of an IT manager called Rick Baird.
At the weekend Hastings hosted the 16th World Crazy Golf Championships. Taking place at Hastings Adventure Golf, the annual event saw the biggest turnout of competitors since 2005. The winner was Marc Chapman, a fencing coach from Canterbury on his 9th attempt at the title.
After claiming the trophy a visibly chuffed Chapman said, “It feels amazing to finally become the World Crazy Golf Champion! It’s been a great personal ambition of mine to win this event and I have been close to it a few times before. I’ve only played in a few events in the last five years, which makes this win even more amazing to believe!”
He has every right to celebrate, having beaten a host of top pro minigolfers including 4-time champion Michael Smith, star putter Adam Kelly and many other illustrious names. Chapman chalked up an impressive 26 under par 226 over the seven rounds, with Kelly rolling in second just one shot behind and Smith taking third having dropped just a single shot from Kelly.
The Novice category was won by Russell Smith from Tunbridge Wells on 10 under par over four rounds, with Chris Horn and Mark Berezicki in second and third places respectively.
Seasoned pro and twice runner-up Sean Homer said: “I made my debut in 2006 and got hooked on the game. I’ve played in every competition since. It’s fantastic that the Hastings’ event is still focused on what has always made it so special – a fun, exciting, inclusive and entertaining spectacle for the young, old and everyone in between.”
Here’s some video of the event, with players explaining the challenges of the Arnold Palmer course and plenty of match play footage, seagulls, good weather and tricky shots. From 10:35 you will hear a series of delighted cries of “Yes! Come on!” from Chapman as he edges closer to the title.
Planning an event and looking for guest entertainment? Minigolf is the go-to choice of event planners around the UK in 2018. Minigolf covers all the bases because all ages can play it and it’s a simple game that takes seconds to grasp. But it has that ‘one more go’ factor that keeps guests entertained. Minigolf is great for all the following types of events.
Anniversary parties, awards ceremonies, fun days, team building days, breakout activities, recruitment … playing a round of minigolf breaks the ice, shows people’s competitive spirit, reveals a bit about character and just allows people to enjoy themselves. HR departments and corporate event planners around the UK have hired flexible Putterfingers minigolf packages to suit the space they have available and the type of event they are organising.
Product launches, promotions, trade shows, awareness campaigns … any business event where the aim is to engage people, we’ve got an option to suit. From single putting lanes at trade shows to fully-branded 9-hole courses at shopping centres, a branded minigolf course gets people into your product or service while they have fun putting. Google are currently touring the USA with a branded minigolf course to promote their product Google Home, so that tells you something about how top marketing minds see the value of minigolf in creating public engagement. It can work for your company, too.
Charities and causes can use minigolf to raise awareness and funds. We have helped to organise numerous sponsored minigolf-a-thons, putting challenges and tournaments. We can brand a course to help project the right image and can help to organise the event if necessary. Recently we’ve done this for Guide Dogs, Age Concern and several other charities.
We do so many weddings we have lost count! Minigolf is perfect for wedding receptions because all ages can play it. We can work directly with the wedding venue to take pressure off the bride and groom and family. Delivery and collection is all done by us, and if the wedding is not too far away from us we’ll set up and pack away the course for you as well. The courses work indoors or outdoors. Talk to us for details!
School fun days
Minigolf is great for kids because it teaches hand-eye coordination and fair play. It’s a popular addition to school fun days and sports halls. A purchase option is available for schools who wish to use a minigolf course regularly. The modular tiles mean the whole course stores away in a small footprint for the next use.
Pubs & Hotels
Particularly in the Summer months, a minigolf course can be a profitable addition to a pub or hotel because it helps to pull in the punters and give them something enjoyable to do while they quaff your ale. They might even work up more of a thirst as well! Hire a course for a weekend event or buy a course to use on a long term basis. Pub & hotel owners can lay out a course and charge to play or just have it there for customers to use. Minigolf tournaments and leagues are a good way to get the most out of your minigolf course because they appeal to people’s competitive instincts and keep them coming back.
These folks really went for it and had a golf-themed party with the minigolf course as the centrepiece. Whatever party you are throwing – birthday, office, seasonal, housewarming or for no particular reason other than to have fun – minigolf helps to break the ice and get people laughing.
Hire or buy – it’s your choice. Here’s how to start the ball rolling!
On The 18th and 19th of May the US Prominigolf Association’s U.S. Open Championship was held in Hendersonville, North Carolina. One professional player stood out in particular, a man by the name of Niko Manou. What is different about him is that he does not use a putter. Niko has a debilitating condition that causes his wrists to dislocate very easily and without warning, which is painful and makes using a putter almost impossible. Refusing to be ‘disabled’, he has overcome this by designing special attachments to his shoes that present a putter-like face to the ball – and he putts with his feet.
He calls them shlubs, a portmanteau of shoes and clubs. And they are not just for himself – he makes them for other minigolfers and sells them. Here’s the shlubs Facebook page. Niko also plays big golf with shlubs and can drive a ball quite a way. He calls this sport shloffing.
Other pro players accept Niko and respect him for his resilience and creativity, and for the simple fact that he is a nice guy. Here’s a video of Niko talking about shlubs, shloffing and what makes him happy.
The sporting world is full of examples of people who play despite apparently overwhelming odds. Though his case is completely different, Niko reminds us of another disabled American by the name of Matt Stutzman, who has risen to the top of the sport of archery despite one tiny problem – he was born without arms. Want to see how he overcomes that one? Here’s a video about Matt, the amazing Armless Archer, who shoots as well as his able-bodied peers.
While we’re on the subject, it might be worth mentioning that Putterfingers minigolf courses are wheelchair-friendly. Because the putting surface is so low, wheelchair access is easy, and people using wheelchairs can enjoy a game if they are otherwise able-bodied. The only obstacles on Putterfingers courses are the ones they have to get the ball over!
There are special putters out there for wheelchair minigolfers. The shaft hinges just before the head to enable a good putting angle from a seated position. Unfortunately we are unable to source them at the moment, but we’re trying to get a supply line to help make our courses even more inclusive.
This week we came across a nice little quiz on clickondetroit.com that tested our knowledge of minigolf’s history and organisations. We got 9 out of 10 but we blog about this all the time so maybe it wasn’t fair. Why not head over to take the quiz and come back for a walk through the 10 questions? Here’s the original quiz.
How did you do? Tell us on Twitter. If you got 10/10, read no further. You are awesome. Go forth and play crazy golf. 9/10 and under, read on (or go forth and play crazy golf – the weather is great today!)
In the Macaulay Culkin/Ted Danson film Getting Even With Dad, what is the prize if Danson’s character wins? Why, the location of the stolen coins, of course. Here’s a grainy clip from the film.
The World Minigolf Federation is headquartered in which city? Why, Gothenburg, of course.
In 2008, David Pfefferle entered the Guinness Book of World Records for the most mini golf holes played in 24 hours. How many did he play? An astonishing 4,729. That’s a rate of play of 3.28 holes per minute! Pfefferle walked 55 miles in his 24 hour marathon in Ohio and raised £6,000 for charity.
The WMF has how many registered members? We picked 40,000 which turned out to be right. One possible answer was 1,000,000. Maybe one day there will be that many.
By the late 1920s, there were 150 rooftop minigolf courses in this city. Easy: New York. When Thomas McCulloch Fairbairn invented a playing surface specially for mini golf – a mixture of cottonseed hulls, said, oil and dye – it became possible to apply a puttable surface almost anywhere. Smooth when trodden down, good for putting and colourful, the new surface was enthusiastically applied to rooftops across the city during the crazy golf boom of the 1920s.
Which former Beatle played mini golf in the 1973 film That’ll Be The Day? It was of course Ringo Starr (To our eternal shame this is the one we got wrong! We thought it was George Harrison for some reason.) And here’s proof (see below): Ringo and David Essex mooching around next to the crazy golf course in a clip from the film.
The first documented minigolf competition took place in 1930 at which location? Why, Chattanooga, Tennessee of course. It was at Garnet Carter’s Fairyland Inn on Lookout Mountain and was the foundation for his 1920s Tom Thumb Golf empire.
In the 2017 world player rankings, every female and male player ranked in their respective top-50 lists was from this continent. Why, Europe of course. Here are the 2017 rankings.
True or false: Joseph and Robert Taylor of Binghamton, New York are credited for building the first set of minigolf courses with obstacles. It’s … true. The brothers were responsible for introducing the windmill to miniature golf. Before their castles, wishing wells and windmills, mini golf courses had banks, curves and hillocks, but not these kitschy objects.
Interestingly, somebody has tracked down the course used in the film and as far as we know it is still there (correct us if that’s wrong.)
If you got 8 or more right, you are a minigolf anorak and can be proud.
9 or 10 … we are not worthy.
6 or 7 … Not quite an anorak. More of a kagoule.
Less than 5 … have you been paying attention at all? If it’s because you’ve been out putting, we’re fine with that.
In April Putterfingers got a call from Donna Gooderham, a lady whose grandfather Lionel is in the process of working through his bucket list. Lionel has always been a fan of crazy golf, having played on many courses in various countries whilst on holiday. It seems that he’s well and truly bitten by the putting bug, because top of his bucket list was a family game of minigolf!
As a birthday treat Donna arranged to hire a 9-hole course from Putterfingers as a surprise for Lionel. So, on the hush, we arranged for Donna to pick up the course from our premises (our delivery van would have aroused curiosity.) True to the Putterfingers promise, the whole course fit into Donna’s Honda CRV and she headed to her Nanny and Grandads house early on the Saturday morning and with the help of other family members set up the course just before Lionel came downstairs for his morning coffee. Fair to say it was a great surprise and the whole family had a fab time playing all weekend, obviously Lionel with all his experience playing abroad being the overall winner!
We loved Donna’s idea and we are so happy that Lionel’s birthday weekend was a roaring success for the family. Donna has thanked us for the hire and is talking about hiring from us again – indeed, it might become a regular thing for Lionel and his family!
Let’s have a little sing-song to the tune of ‘Football’s Coming Home’ …
Why the daft song? Because THIS is coming soon to Putterfingers: [Update 09 May 2018: it’s here!]
Yes, it’s footpool – the blend of soccer and pool that is taking the nation by storm. And it’s available very soon from Putterfingers. Our version has ‘spots and stripes’ balls, just like the pool played in pubs. But the difference is, this pool table is 14 feet long and you play with your feet. There’s no learning curve at all to get playing, but it takes a bit of skill to build a break and pot the black.
The playing surface is ‘grippy’ and non-slip for safety, and the balls are low-bounce futsal balls designed to stay in play on this table. All the physics of pool are there – bounce and spin work like they do on a pool table. But you won’t need any chalk and there’s no offside rule. Everybody reckons they’ve got a bit of footy skill, which makes this game a compulsive winner at events, weddings and parties because pretty much everyone wants to have a go as soon as they see it.
A typical game is fairly short, which means guests don’t spend too long waiting for their turn. The cushions are wide enough to stand on to take a shot when the ball is tight against them, which we think is a good feature.
We deliver a table to you and set it up, so all you need to do is hire it, tell us the date, and let your guests have fun playing footpool!
We reckon it’s nearly as much fun as minigolf, which coming from us is really saying something.
We’ve already got the equipment and we’re going to add it to our website soon – but footpool is available to hire now! Call us for all the details if you are planning an event or wedding party (indoors or outdoors). 08450 570321