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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
‘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!
A little while back, we blogged about how pub minigolf could be the next big thing in leisure. Somebody must have heard us, because not long after that we had a call from The Hangout in Llandeilo asking to hire crazy golf for a crazy golf pub crawl. The Hangout is a vibrant venue that serves delicious healthy food and puts on a lot of events throughout the year for its regulars and their friends. The 9 hole mini golf tour started at The Hangout but nobody remembers where it finished, probably because there were drinks at each hole. We have no photographic evidence of the scene at the 9th hole, but we suspect that any reports of putting accuracy there are greatly exaggerated.
The Hangout’s patrons and their friends took the compulsory fancy dress rule and ran with it, most of them going for the PGA golfer from the 1980s look. With a drink served at every hole, it looks as if this photo was taken well into the round or after it. Or it could just be the euphoric effects of playing mini golf, which are well documented. Probably a mixture of the two. They also have Nerf gun wars and an Oktoberfest at the Hangout, which are two other reasons, if such were needed, to like this fun-loving town very much indeed.
We were more than happy to provide the mini golf equipment for their Pub Golf Day. It seems that the pub minigolf format works well for a bunch of fun-oriented folks like the residents of Llandeilo.
The Pub Golf Day was part of the Llandeilo Festival of the Senses | G?yl y Synhwyrau, a three-day binge of music, food, comedy and sport throughout the town.
Most towns have at least one festival of food, music, arts or other things. A mini golf pub crawl can add extra fun to town festivals everywhere. For hire details, call Shelley on 08450 570321, visit our pubs & hotels page or drop us an email.
Putterfingers visited Disneyland Florida earlier this month, all in the name of product research of course. Being of a putterish persuasion, a spot of minigolf at the Magic Kingdom was just the ticket for a fun-filled day.
In sweltering heat we headed straight for the Winter Summerland crazy golf course, having heard so much about it and hoping that the Winter course might offer some kind of relief from the blazing sun and 34-degree temperature.
We loved the Christmas music played throughout the really neat winter course. The winter course is full of fun surprises, so we were careful to read the signs on each course for hints. The snowman squirted water out of his nose when you got the ball in and at various points cool water jets helped us stay just the right side of boiling. We got to know some of the local wildlife, too, which isn’t officially sanctioned by Disney but tends to come along and explore the courses along with humans. In particular we made the acquaintance of quite a few lizards (real ones) which were actually pretty cute.
The mix of difficulty on the holes was reasonable, but overall the course was on the easy side, which is probably right considering that most visitors are children. We didn’t witness any putter tantrums, so the kids weren’t finding the course too frustrating.
After 10 holes on the Summer course, we were told to abandon play because of the threat of lightning! It seems that even Disneyland’s imagineers haven’t yet worked out how to control the weather. Here are a few more snaps of our Disneyland minigolf experience!
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!
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!
Look on my minigolf course, ye mighty, and despair!
The whole idea of adventure golf is to get ‘lost’ in a far-away world that takes you away from your mundane existence. So when the courses themselves get lost, i.e. abandoned, there is a very special feel to them as the observer becomes doubly lost. Walking among the gaudy, peeling obstacles, the ghostly laughter of players from the course’s sunlit heyday can almost be heard. It speaks directly to the soul about how brief our enjoyment is, and leaves us with a profound sense of … something or other.
Why are abandoned minigolf courses so creepy? It’s hard to put your finger on it really. Philosophers and writers have tried to pin down our fascination with decay for a long time. Nietzsche had a stab at it with his musings on cultural decadence in Twilight of the Gods, and in the books The Aesthetics of Decay and The Memory of Place: the Phenomenology of the Uncanny, Dylan Trigg explores the thrill of decay in chapters with titles like An Uncanny Memory, An Impossible Nostalgia, Dark Night of the Soul and The Post-Industrial Sublime. Going back a bit further, the Romantic poets nurtured a love for the wild and abandoned. The most famous example is probably Shelley’s Ozymandias, a tale of hubris and destruction featuring the crumbling statue of a once-great king lying in a desert.
It’s funny how so many adventure golf courses feature Mayan temples, Inca gods, dinosaurs, pirates and jungle themes. And that’s before they are abandoned! It’s almost as if they are foretelling their abandoned creepiness before it has even happened.
This all ties in with the urban exploration craze. Abandoned factories, tunnels and fairgrounds attract slightly weird yet understandable people who want to go on adventures that make the hairs on their necks stand on end. Post-industrialist urban decay is a fertile place for the imagination, so in a sense, those old derelict crazy golf courses just keep on giving.