Putterfingers’ long-time friend and mini golf supremo Richard Gottfried has been busy. This is nothing new. He is, after all, half of the couple who regularly hit the news with their project to play every single crazy golf course in the country. With wife Emily he has played hundreds of minigolf courses and tirelessly blogged about them ever since 2006. As new courses pop up the Gottfrieds feel compelled to visit and play them, so their task is never done. The current tally is hovering around the 1,000 mark. Read about the Crazy World of Minigolf Tour here!
Richard is a marketing expert whose publications include The Minigolfer’s Guide to Marketing, a unique book that blends marketing and minigolf. It applies marketing techniques to minigolf and vice versa and is a must-read for anyone with an interest in the two subjects. He operates as a consultant in minigolf marketing by applying his deep knowledge of aspects of minigolf including course operators, pop-ups, competitions, equipment, national associations, international federations, clubs, suppliers, designers, builders and technology providers.
Among Richard’s latest efforts to promote mini golf is an article in the Interfun Expo Guide for UK Operators (page 13) which provides tips on how best to treat and communicate with customers in the light of COVID-19. With people emerging from government restrictions, he predicts a big uptick in demand for leisure activities like mini golf, even going so far as to say that demand will outstrip supply for a while. He encourages operators to go the extra mile to make customers feel welcome and secure upon their return to the mini golf course and to add as much warmth, goodwill and credibility as possible.
One example of how to achieve this is Cornwall Football Golf – admittedly not a crazy golf venue but operating along very similar lines. They have chosen Putterfingers to supply some additional signage to communicate with customers and make them feel welcome and cared for. Here are the boards they chose – call Putterfingers if you would like to discuss something similar to brighten up your mini golf course.
In the meantime, we wish Richard and Emily Gottfried all the best in their quest for minigolf completeness and we are cheering them on all the way!
Here is a recent example of a Putterfingers mini-golf course in use at a residential care home. On this occasion the staff at The Beeches Care Home in East Harling, Norfolk decided to put on a mini-golf tournament for residents and staff. They rented a 9-hole course and laid it out in the garden on a warm Spring day. Had it rained, the course could have been laid out indoors instead and adapted to suit the floor plan. But luckily the weather was fine and the residents and staff had a very enjoyable day with a bit of mild competition and exercise.
Relatives were invited to attend and encourage their elderly family members from the sidelines. Even residents who had never held a golf club before soon got into the game. It is a good example of how easily players can make putts from wheelchairs or with otherwise limited mobility. One resident even scored a hole in one!
Putterfingers in the Press
The Beeches Care Home mini-golf tournament was covered in the Eastern Daily Press. After a long period of lockdown for the residents, the chance to get outside and enjoy some leisure time was most welcome. Read the full article here.
Mini golf is an ideal activity for care homes because it provides a level of mild challenge and some gentle exercise. Putterfingers are easily accessible and wheelchair-friendly. Mini golf offers residents an opportunity to socialise and communicate. Courses can be set up indoors or outdoors according to almost any floor plan. The layout can be modified to fit the surroundings. The difficulty level is adjustable by moving obstacles.
Read all about the benefits of mini-golf for care homes here.
Residents often enjoy a game of mini golf because it reminds them of the seaside. In fact, as an optional extra we can provide seaside-themed course obstacles and face-in-hole boards like the traditional ones often seen at beach resorts around the UK. They provide a great photo opportunity and add visual appeal to the event with their bright colours and funny characters. Many residents will remember these!
A variety of course sizes is available, from three holes to a full 18-hole course. There is a size to suit most venues and budgets.
Interested in hiring a mini golf course for a care home event? Call our friendly team on 01842 337 100 or use our contact form.
Putterfingers are now offering a range of large format print products to enhance golf courses. We have the technology and design expertise to print branded photo boards, leader boards, banners and other display media. We’re on a mission to make golf and mini golf venues look more attractive and professional!
Face in hole boards
The face in hole boards are colourful, fun, free-standing images featuring characters with the faces cut out and holes for people to put their own face in. They are similar to traditional seaside face in hole boards but brought up to date with modern designs and materials for today’s marketing and branding needs. A branded, golf-themed face in hole board is a photo opportunity for customers to snap and share, with the venue’s brand front and centre. It is good for boosting brand awareness and adding extra fun for customers.
We will soon be offering branded leader boards and winner photo opportunity boards. These ideas will be on our website soon, so keep checking back or give us a call if you like the idea of these engagement-boosting visual features. They are great for your marketing and provide extra fun for your customers.
Golf print media example
One of the first customers we provided branded photo boards to was Cornwall Football Golf. The boards work in exactly the same way for golf, minigolf and adventure golf courses and for Putterfingers minigolf course hires and purchases. So why not order one to create extra visual impact and photo opportunities at your minigolf course?
The image above is the design for a board featuring two football players flanking England’s number 11 player and raising a trophy, with the football golf course in the background. Notice the website address, social media handle and hashtag. These are there so that visitors to tag their photos, which gives Cornwall Football Golf some extra online exposure.
Accompanying that board is a photo stand-in – a branded frame with a large cutout for several people to get into. Again, the idea is to get visitors to share their photos online, which helps to spread the message about the attraction.
We also provide large format printed materials such as banners for marketing messages and announcements. These can be fixed to walls or freestanding and moveable. For indoor communications, you could choose a branded and custom-designed roller banner.
Get an edge over competitors
Looking to attract more customers and get better reviews? Add visual appeal with Putterfingers print products, created by the Minigolf Masters!
Boost your visual presence by calling us on 01842 337 100 or using our contact form!
Course owners and other people in the minigolf trade can sign up for a trade account on our website. This gets you discounts and VAT-free pricing for bulk purchases. Sole traders and limited companies can use us as their trade supplier and get the best rates in the business, all delivered with our legendary customer service!
So, are your putters getting a bit dog-eared, or have you had a few get lost or damaged? Refresh your stock with one of our great value putter bundles. Getting low on balls? Grab one of our minigolf ball bundles and it’ll keep you going for ages. We’ll also make custom scorecards specially for your minigolf business.
With a sport as social as minigolf, here at Putterfingers Towers we have extra work on at the moment to disinfect all crazy golf equipment before we send it out. Each putter, ball, and obstacle is wiped down with alcohol-based disinfectant. At mini golf, crazy golf and adventure golf centres, staff will also be working hard to maintain the safety and hygiene of players on their courses, whether indoors or out. At Putterfingers we now offer branded hand sanitiser stations to kit out your venue for the foreseeable future. Our hand sanitiser stations can include your logo and branding, and are available in a range of sizes.
A quick tip for safety: players should only handle their own ball and their own putter.
We recommend staying at least two putter lengths apart at all times. This inevitably leads to people sparring with putters while shouting things like ‘en garde!’ and ‘Avast, ye blaggard!’. It’s an added benefit that helps people to practice social distancing while pretending to be pirates. Minigolf is even more fun now!
Putterfingers Crazy Golf Equipment brochure
If you are looking to restock your course, why not take a look at our 2021 Brochure of Crazy Golf Equipment?
Minigolf tournaments can be nail-bitingly good to watch. When the leaders are separated by a single point going into the final few holes, it’s as dramatic a situation as the back nine at Augusta on the final day of The Masters. Players take the game extremely seriously, and have everything to play for in terms of the lasting glory of a tournament win. Cash prizes are far more modest than in ‘big golf’, but that’s not the point.
Top-level minigolf has its own traditions and folklore. In the USA they play at North Myrtle Beach every year for the right to wear the coveted green windbreaker – a nod to golf’s famous green jacket. And at the British Minigolf Masters, played just off the A20 Sidcup bypass, the winner gets a tweed jacket bought at a charity shop in Southend.
The minigolf world has a healthy level of self-mockery that is far more endearing than the millionaire tantrum-throwers of professional golf.
The skill levels are off the scale at the top of minigolf. Leading up to tournaments, practice regimes can be as intense as those of PGA players. The only difference is that when the tournament is over, Minigolf players generally have to go back to their day jobs.
Fancy seeing some of the top minigolf players in action, or even have a go yourself? We’ve got details of UK tournaments coming up in 2021. These are correct at the time of writing and we expect that many will go ahead, but check the BMGA website nearer the time to make sure.
We are now providing a mini golf hire ‘Business in a Box’ that constitutes a starter pack for anyone who wants to start a business in the events and entertainment industry, and includes all the equipment needed to start hiring out mini golf for fun and profit.
A great working environment
As well as being highly profitable, mini golf hire is a great business to be in. Customers are excited because they are planning an event. Everybody is enjoying themselves. We get a lot of satisfaction out of providing a fun activity for families, companies, charities, weddings, marketing events, conferences and exhibitions, pubs and hotels, and corporate events.
People will always need entertainment, which is what makes mini golf hire a profitable business. We have been doing it for over ten years and we’ve watched our customer base and profits soar. All we have done is run the business sensibly, put together effective packages by doing more of what works best, and been nice to people. There’s nothing stopping other entrepreneurs from doing the same. In fact, we want you to.
Low startup costs
Starting a permanent, fixed-in-one-place mini golf course is only for those with deep pockets. The costs for a land lease, landscaping, buildings, insurance, point of sale systems, signage and facilities can run into hundreds of thousands of pounds – before even paying for the actual mini golf equipment and course layouts.
To avoid these high startup costs, mini golf hire is the way to go. Our equipment can be laid out virtually anywhere, indoors and outdoors. It’s modular, so you fit it together to suit each particular venue. It can be anything from one single hole to 18 holes. And it is easily transportable. A complete kit from us fits into an average family car. What you get with our Business in a Box is a package of equipment that can be taken anywhere and set up in under half an hour, with very low overhead costs.
What’s in it for us (Putterfingers)?
Good question. Why would we want to help others succeed? Won’t that take business away from us?
The truth is, we’re already working flat out. Others can reach events in their local areas that we can’t get to. We are also a trade supplier of mini golf equipment. You buy the equipment from us, and we can supply you with consumables like balls, putters and scorecards over the long term, as well as sell you more equipment as your business grows. We can also provide services like website design and marketing advice to help you get noticed. So we get to make sales.
In case you’re wondering, this is not a franchise. Any equipment packages bought from us are yours to keep and there are no ongoing fees or profit-sharing of any kind. You get to keep one hundred percent of the proceeds from your mini golf hires – we just provide you with our tried and tested equipment bundles. You can trade under your own name and you don’t need to use our name or branding at all. In fact, we’ll add your name and branding to the equipment we sell you, on the tee-off mats, putting cups, scorecards, foam edge bumpers and elsewhere.
The equipment bundles in our Business in a Box are composed of the same equipment you can see for hire and sale on our website. As part of the package, we invite you to our premises in Norfolk for a day or two to show you the equipment and give you guidance on event types, how to run them and how to get your business known in your area. We can also help you with a website and marketing if you don’t have your own.
Interested? The packages start at £4,000. We want you to succeed, so we’ll be available to talk to throughout the lifetime of your business. Give us a call on 01842 337 100 or use our contact form.
This National Miniature Golf Day we have had the pleasure of catching up with Puttstars, Golf Operations Manager, Andy Johnson.
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?
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?
“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.
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.
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 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.
“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 down 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.
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.
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.