A blog about all things mini golf, crazy golf and adventure golf. Brought to you by 'Putterfingers' the minigolf experts!
Crazy Golf / Mini Golf
Our golf courses are perfect for leisure golf activities in a range of locations – at home, in the office, at a fete, on an exhibition stand, at a marketing event, childrens parties, Charity events or in pubs and hotels.
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?
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.
2. 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.
4. 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!
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!
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
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.
“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”.
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.
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!
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.
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.
The installation of a crazy golf course in Rochester Cathedral has caused quite a stir to say the least. But love it or loathe it, it does highlight the accessibility of the mini-golf as an activity.
Rochester Cathedral crazy golf
The Archbishop of Canterbury recently commented that cathedrals should be a place to have fun. So organisers of the Rochester Cathedral event aimed to do just that. As congregation numbers were in decline, they also wanted to attract a younger crowd.
So why did the organisers choose mini-golf to achieve this?
Crazy golf is great for novices – you don’t need any prior ability, you can literally pick up a putter and off you go
It is fun – navigating your way through a series of obstacles, whether they be bridges, tunnels, spirals or a laughing clown’s mouth – players are bound to enjoy themselves in their mission to succeed.
Brings people together – minigolf is an activity that can be enjoyed by all the family, whether aged 8 or 80, with no fitness levels or prior ability required – it is a sport that everyone can get involved in.
Developing social skills – kids will learn sportsmanship and fair play on the minigolf course. It is also a good lesson in self-control and perseverance to get a result.
Educational benefits – Hand-eye coordination is required for a good putt. Kids can develop it while having a fun time.
With such great benefits to the game, you can see why it would be chosen by event organisers as an activity with mass appeal. Rochester Cathedral has been busy since the course opened, so whether you feel the setting is right, crazy golf has certainly drawn in the crowds and has got people talking.
The increasing popularity of crazy golf
As experts in the portable crazy golf hire industry, we have worked on a wide range of events. The activity is hired to entertain a broad spectrum of guests/visitors from kids at school fetes, family entertainment in town centres to businesspeople at corporate events, trade shows and exhibitions.
Within UK towns and cities, leisure facilities are expanding to meet with public demand to be entertained and crazy golf venues are opening up everywhere.
We asked World Crazy Golf Champion, Marc Chapman for his opinion on the UK minigolf craze: “I think people are increasingly looking for cheaper and nearer family entertainment and experiences. Things that are easily accessible [no barriers or fear factor of playing] and don’t take too long to do [around an hour or so]. If there is food and drink nearby that also is a big pull factor. The rise of the stay-cation due to the current political climate is certainly having an influence too.”
With more crazy golf venues opening every week, it would seem the sport is set to rise. Keep an eye on our social media for information on new courses opening across the UK.
Get in touch
If you would like to hire or purchase a Putterfingers mini golf course for your event then give us a call and we’ll talk through the course size options and different obstacles. Call us on 01284 848 330 Email: email@example.com
Crazy Golf is booming and every week news comes in of a new minigolf course opening up somewhere in the UK.
Whereas Crazy Golf was – and to a large extent still is – a traditional seaside and summer holiday game, new minigolf venues are tapping into the public’s demand for new ways to be entertained. And Crazy Golf is a game that most people can easily pick up and play.
The game has changed massively since we first started playing and blogging about it in 2006. Back then there were two indoor courses, in Felixstowe and Great Yarmouth. Now, there are nearly 100 indoor places to play!
Recent new courses include Ghetto Golf in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Championship Mini Golf course at Clarkes Golf Centre in St Helens, Galaxy Quest Adventure Golf in Sunderland and the Mini Golf course at the Palace Fun Centre in Rhyl. There’s also a new indoor Mr Mulligans Adventure Golf centre opening in Basildon this month.
England’s first-ever Crazy Golf course opened in Skegness in 1926 and the seaside resort now boasts ten miniature golf courses on the seafront, including the Atlantis Adventure Golf course which opened this year.
Minigolf has been played in Worthing’s Denton Gardens since July 1924 when two grass Putting courses were created. 95 years later and people are still enjoying the game there, with the 18-hole Splash Point Mini Golf course celebrating ten years of fun with its tricky course full of twists, turns, windmills, loop-di-loops and other obstacles to tackle.
Major inland towns and cities around the UK are finding themselves home to multiple venues, with London, Manchester, Birmingham and Newcastle growing as hotbeds of Crazy Golf courses. Places such as Leicester, Derby, Glasgow, Belfast, Nottingham, Cardiff, Edinburgh and Leeds are also getting in on the action with multiple new places to play opening up this year.
The good news for minigolf fans is there are plenty of places to have some putting fun in the UK.
Last month Emily and I made the landmark 900th course visit on our Crazy World of Minigolf Tour when we had a round at the North Bay Mini Golf course in Scarborough, North Yorkshire.
When our travels began back in September 2006 there were around 600 courses in the UK. We’ve now been to 862 courses in the British Isles and 39 overseas. The North Bay Crazy Golf course was the 520th we’ve played in the last 13 years as a number of courses we’ve visited have been closed, derelict, flooded or abandoned.
There are now more than 1,000 courses in the UK and as detailed here, an almost never-ending procession of new ones opening their doors. We’ve still got a few traditional Crazy Golf courses to visit, as well as a number of the new Adventure Golf courses and indoor minigolf bars to play.
It’s always really nice to find unique courses and the North Bay Crazy Golf course in Scarborough is that. There are some very good hole-in-one opportunities and a few tricky second putts on the colourful course. What was great to see was that the borders had felt on them that allowed skilful shots to be rewarded.
Our travels have taken us all over the UK and we love visiting new places, experiencing new things and meeting new people. It’s also interesting when we return to a place some years apart, as was the case with Scarborough. Apart from a brief visit to the North Bay and the one course that was there in 2009 we’d not explored the area.
It was brilliant chatting to the course owners. They’ve got a real passion for the game and have created a fun and challenging layout. They told us that the course record was a 20, but not many players get close to that. I was pleased to hear that as I’d had a round of 24. If the weather hadn’t gotten worse and if the day was longer I would’ve had another round or two to try and beat the record.
Since our 900th course visit our Crazy World of Minigolf Tour has continued to roll and we’re currently at 911 course visits.
Putterfingers were delighted to be interviewed recently by a top BBC reporter for a feature article about crazy golf which sat on the front page of the BBC News website for over a week. This interest from the Beeb shows how popular minigolf is becoming in the UK and how interest in it as a significant leisure pursuit and competitive sport is growing.
When the phone rang one day at Putterfingers Towers, our logistics manager Richard Clarke answered it in the usual way: “Good morning, Putterfingers, Richard speaking. How may we surprise and delight you and your guests with an expertly-crafted and professionally delivered bespoke crazy golf solution today?”
Or he might have just said, “Hello, Putterfingers.”
When the voice on the other end announced that it belonged to Kevin Peachey, Personal Finance and Consumer Affairs Reporter at the BBC, and that it wanted to talk to us about the crazy golf business for a feature article, Richard said, “Of course. I am a gold mine of statistics and information on all aspects of the manufacture, hire, sale and installation of miniature golf, crazy golf and other putting-based games in the UK. Please ask me anything you like.”
Or he might have just said, “Um, okay?”
The ensuing twenty minutes saw Mr Peachey draw facts out of Richard’s head via the time-honoured method of asking him questions and listening to the answers. Finally the golden soundbite Mr Peachey was looking for fell from Richard’s lips: “The business of crazy golf has a fair bit of growth left in it.”
It’s a good read, with profiles of some top British minigolf players, some info about the tournament circuit, equipment used in matches, a few of the rules of competition, a bit of minigolf history, some current leisure trends and mini golf’s place in the leisure market.
We were particularly chuffed that the top BBC journo read through our blog posts as part of his research, and used some of what he found there, particularly the history of mini golf (this and this).
“Anyone tempted to train for potential Olympic glory may want a course at home”, writes Peachey. “A self-assembly “supersize” nine-hole crazy golf course, with assorted obstacles, 18 putters, 18 balls and 1,000 scorecards certainly sounds like the ultimate kidult gift.
But it does not come at pocket money prices. It is yours for £3,000.
More affordable, perhaps, is hiring a four-hole course for just over £200.
Selling and renting these courses is Putter Fingers, a business based in Thetford in Norfolk, which bizarrely is an off-shoot of a software company which started selling courses mainly to show off its ability to make websites.
“The business of crazy golf has a fair bit of growth left in it,” says logistics manager Richard Clarke, explaining that putters are the biggest seller.
“Schools, corporate event organisers, couples looking to entertain their guests at a wedding, and birthday entertainers are all regular customers.”
Our business continues to grow along with national interest in minigolf, and we’re really happy to play a part in it.
If you are interested in hiring or buying one of our courses for your event or venue, then please get in touch on 01284 848330 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
For many men, Father’s Day and golf go together like fish and chips. A day at the golf course is not always what you might have planned for the Dad, stepdad and Grandad’s in your life. So what better way to celebrate the day with the dad in your life than with mini golf. Mini golf is a great compromise to whet the appetite of golf lovers and get the whole family involved.
Now, you could go to an outdoor crazy golf course, but I will take an educated guess that ’twill be busy. Why not stay putt instead and organise a mini-golf tournament at home. Our delightfully fun Putterfingers mini golf courses come in a range of sizes (we even have one called “Funsize”!), are suitable for indoors and outdoors and are really easy to put together. And, should you wish to go above and beyond by getting dear old dad some great mini golf gifts, we have gifts galore available as well!
Putterfingers top tips for Father’s Day
#1 First and foremost, we have let go of many rigid constrictions, and it is more than fair to celebrate Father’s Day for a gentleman who is not necessarily a father as per the “official” definition of being a biological parent. Any person who acts like a father can be honoured on Father’s Day. In fact, there are now cards for stepfathers and honorary dads, which, in my humble opinion, is great since there are people who certainly deserve to be celebrated for acting like a dad.
#2 Second, check out our website to read a bit more about which Putterfingers mini-golf course would be best for your Father’s Day festivities, then pick up the phone and call us pronto (you can email us as well, but sometimes phone calls are quicker) in order to book (or buy!) a course. http://www.putterfingers.com/putterfingers-minigolf-crazygolf.htm
In a nutshell, we have:
• Supersize is a 9-hole course with 36 tiles and plenty of balls and putters to keep a sizeable crowd entertained.
• Funsize is a bit smaller but still a full 9-hole course, but for medium-sized events.
• Bitesize is a 4-hole course that can fit in an indoor space to create a small mini golf course, but with plenty of fun built in!
#3 Third, have a quick think about food and drink. Perhaps some pre-made nibbles? Or, follow the North American trend of a potluck? Or possibly throw things on the grill for an easy BBQ? Regardless of your choice, make sure that the father of the hour has one of his favourite things on the menu, and, most importantly, his drink of choice. And if that drink happens to be a very expensive bottle of whatever, then, ummm, hmmm, uh…well, you will have to sort that out since I cannot have an answer for everything.
#4 Fourth, back to our website to check out some gifts. We have Gifts under £10, Training Aids, and For Serious Golfers, but feel free to poke around and peruse it a bit as you never know what might else strike your fancy. Whether you wish to gift dad with some trick balls, a funny animal head cover, a fancy putting mat, and/or a snazzy all weather golf glove, we have it all and more. The only job you have to do is choose that special Father’s Day golf gift.
So, although my blog is rather late, I have done all the hard work and given you four – count them, only four – little tasks to ensure you have a wonderful day celebrating your dad. You are welcome.
A sigh of relief. The garden is well on its way, and I have given sage advice. All is well in the world again.
PS Not that I am looking forward to autumn quite yet, as we are still enjoying spring, and about to enjoy summer, BUT the 21st of September is International Miniature Golf Day, so do make certain to mark your calendars.
This post is by guest blogger Jordan Fuller, a passionate golf enthusiast and coach from Omaha, Nebraska and owner of golfinfluence.com. Here, Jordan leaves no doubt as to why every family should own a minigolf course!
For a parent who is considering doing something significant to bring together their family, owning a mini-golf course offers a wide array of terrific and exciting benefits to every family member.
Being the owner of a mini-golf can create situations for parents to teach their children about work ethic while having fun. Children can also take advantage of the facility by using their creativity to put their own flair on the design of the layout.
With an assortment of positive reasons to choose from, I’ve decided to highlight four of our favorite ideas below as to why we think owning a mini-golf will make you and your entire family happier.
A Sport Built on Creativity
Whether you decide to build your own mini-golf or redesign an existing layout, making the place your own can give the entire family a tremendous sense of pride. Taking this step is vitally important for all involved, because without each member “buying-in” to the overall idea of the mini-golf, then you’ll never have full engagement.
So how do you get everyone there? By creating an environment where all ideas are welcome, and each member gets the opportunity to put their personality into the creation of the course. This opportunity begins with the look and feel of the mini-golf.
Not only can creating a new look (ie for example in a separate room) for the establishment bring a family together with one common goal in mind, but it can also be used to engage the imagination of each parent and child. From adding unique flourishes to allowing the children to create their own obstacles for a hole, allowing creativity to carry the construction of the mini-golf course is the only sure-fire way to receive total acceptance of the family.
And once everyone’s ideas are put in place, the look on each family member’s face when their vision comes to life is something that can’t be replicated any other way. Once you see your child’s excitement because they created something that the entire family will grow to enjoy, you’ll know all the struggles are worth it in the end.
Happiness to Others
The incredible attraction of mini-golf is that you don’t need to have years of golfing experience to enjoy the sport. At any time, golfers of any skill level (including women who may disregard regular golf) can make a hole-in-one or create a memory with friends and family that lasts throughout a lifetime. Perfect for dates or a birthday party, mini-golf allows players to enjoy their day in a relaxing and non-stressful environment.
A huge reason why owning a mini-golf center is excellent for a family is because of the lesson it teaches each member about the importance of giving to others. By providing a comfortable haven, a family can create a place for individuals seeking to forget their busy lives and just spend quality time with the people that are most important to them (ie. their loved ones).
By creating an establishment that captivates people of all ages through a fun and exciting activity, you are providing joy into countless lives. Imagine waking up in a house where people are always smiling, and happy will have a residual effect on the entire family. This creation of joy for others is a huge reason why owning a mini-golf can be so enriching to parents and their children alike.
Raising Your Family in a Safe Environment
Every parent wants their child to be safe throughout their school years. Having a mini-golf directly in the house will assure that they’ll have a secure after-school location to learn & work while having fun.
Mini-golf courses don’t need a considerable amount of maintenance. Sure, it is essential to keep it clean and make sure that everybody are having a great time, but the calm atmosphere allows parents to interact with their children while working full time jobs.
By owning a mini-golf, parents don’t have to send their children to after-school care or worry that they are causing mischief. Instead, they’ll have the peace of mind that their children are nearby.
Finally, it is easy to argue that children benefit the most from their parents buying them a mini-golf course. As they grow up under the umbrella of their family, there are a host of lessons that children can learn from.
Self-reliance is a terrific skill that parents can pass down to their children. Whether it be during a break from classes in the summer or after school, by creating a routine of chores for your children, you’ll discover them rising to the challenge if the tasks engage them creatively. Having them understand the value of money and the use of efficient resources will make a huge difference in their upbringing. By creating this work ethic standard for them, you’ll soon see that your children will adopt this lifestyle as the way they should hold themselves when playing the mini-golf.
Perhaps most important of all, by showing them the values mini-golf players care about, your children will pursue careers of their own that give back to society and create overwhelming joy. A childhood built around happiness allows children to blossom into an adult that spreads love to the world.
As your family matures and grows over the years, having the mini-golf will present each member with memories that will carry them throughout their lives. Whether it be working with you or discovering their own dreams for their future, finding a nurturing and fulfilling location for your children can build a foundation for the skills they’ll need to pursue their own careers.
When you dive into these four reasons, I am confident that you’ll discover even more advantages to owning a mini-golf that will benefit your family on a financial, personal, and developmental level.
Tantrums and putter threat on pro minigolf course!
This week’s post was to be part 2 of A Putted History of Minigolf – see part 1 here. But we have a story from New Zealand that we think trumps it and might generate some discussion, so we’ll push that post back to next week.
A recent series of events in New Zealand raises questions about minigolf as a professional sport and how seriously or otherwise it should be taken. A feud between two prominent Kiwi minigolfers escalated into one allegedly threatening the other with his putter, saying “I’ll wrap my putter round your head”. This was apparently the final straw for Minigolf Federation of New Zealand secretary Damo Kissick, who said it followed a string of incidents in which Bobby Hart lost his temper, threw putters, swore and generally spat out his dummy. In the light of this behaviour the player has been asked to leave the federation.
Star national and international player Bobby Hart is known for his no-joking approach to the game and for saying things like “I’m here to compete, not make friends”. Which is kind of fair enough – he takes the game seriously and after all it requires great skill and practice. Interviewed after the incident, he said, “I’m not there to have a joke and a laugh, I’m there to take things seriously and grow competitive putting as a sport here in New Zealand. It’s not a joking matter … I think there’s a future for competitive putting and actually doing it as a job.”
The alleged putter threat came following a long-running disagreement with another player, Murray Cramp, whom Hart accuses of not taking the game seriously enough. Cramp said “It’s essentially a sport for children and their parents to have fun that we’ve turned into something that is well beyond [that] … The last thing you want to do is create a level of intensity where it looks like you’re at the Olympics.”
And yet there have been efforts to get minigolf into the Olympics. We blogged about it back in 2014. The World Minigolf Sport Federation regularly lobbies for it to be included.
All this begs the question: how seriously (or otherwise) should we take minigolf? Is professional minigolf a threat to the fun of the game, or should we have more of it? Can you be professional and have fun at the same time?
If you have any comments on this, please post them to our Twitter page. But try to keep your toys in the pram.
A bit of history about the most fun you can have with a ball and a stick
This is the first in a series of two or maybe three posts about how minigolf got started, why it got so crazily popular, and other historical bits and bobs and trivia about the game. If you’re curious about where minigolf/crazy golf/adventure golf/putt-putt/goofy golf came from and how it got started, read on!
Much as we’d love to say that minigolf started in England, the truth is that it’s a transatlantic affair. There were British precursors – more on them in a minute – but the idea of a minigolf course as a theme park goes back to the American miniature golf boom of the 1920s. Surely no self-respecting Englishman would charge the public money to enter a kitsch landscape full of objects that made garden gnomes look like Michelangelos, and putt a ball around it in the name of enjoyment? But here’s the kicker: it was an Englishman who opened the first ever minigolf course in America! But first let everything go wavy for a moment as we take you back to the first inklings of minigolf.
For all we know, prehistoric folks might have played miniature golf with jawbones and rat skulls. But for this article, we’ll have to leave the anthropology aside and stick to the recorded facts.
If we define a precursor of minigolf as ‘a smaller and more compact version of golf’, the Ladies’ Putting Club at St Andrews was the first prominent example of such a game. To give the golf widows something to do as their hubbies hiked around the links all day, a putting-only area called ‘The Himalayas’ was set up specially for ladies. At the time it was considered unseemly for a lady to swing a club above the shoulder, but a bit of demure putting was permissible as long as they were all ladylike about it and didn’t make to much noise besides a light tinkle of musical laughter. So the patronised females were given their own bit of St Andrews, and it proved popular. Other clubs around Britain copied the idea, but they were more pitch-and-putt courses than minigolf as we know it today.
One of the earliest attempts to package miniature golf and sell it as a product was Golfstacle, a game patented by a British Army Colonel in 1907 as ‘a golf game for putters’ or alternatively ‘golf-croquet’. In your wooden box you got some painted metal obstacles including croquet-style hoops, balls, putters and a peg taken straight from croquet, which was presumably what you had to try to hit with your ball. Putting cups were still a thing of the future, but the introduction of obstacles and the compact size of the course layout was a significant step towards minigolf as we know it today. The game is documented in the 8th June 1912 edition of the Illustrated London News:
‘Big Top Ted’ McIver shows his passion for minigolf on BBC2
Some excellent minigolf footage has appeared on Celebrity Antiques Road Trip on BBC2! In Episode 1 of Season 8, Denise Van Outen and Tim Medhurst find themselves hunting for antiques in Margate, then they swing by Strokes Adventure Golf. There they meet none other than 3-time British Open champ John ‘Big Top Ted’ McIver! It’s great to see him chatting away genially with the celebs. McIver is a bit of a celeb himself in the minigolf world, and a very nice bloke to boot.
Van Outen and Medhurst trundle up in their convertible Morris Minor and hit the course to find Ted, whom they quiz about the history of minigolf. He is more than happy to oblige and launches into a potted history of the sport – a putted history really – that touches on several of the landmark eras and places in the development of our beloved game.
Big Top Ted mentions the Himalayas course at St Andrews, site of the Ladies’ Putting Club, which was a precursor to minigolf. The narrator then describes Golfstacle, the first mini golf set you could buy, before going across the pond to address the minigolf explosion over there. Ted then talks about some of the crazier things to be found on mini golf courses during its early heyday, including trained bears and monkeys.
This is high quality footage of minigolf on the Beeb, and we’re delighted to see it. Big Top Ted’s enthusiasm is obvious and he comes across really well. Here’s the clip.
It’s a bit of a shame we didn’t get to see three-time British champion McIver demonstrate his putting technique, but it was probably hard to concentrate with TV cameras there and celebs yacking in his face. Still, it’s another great bit of minigolf footage that we just had to share with our blog readers!