In the spotlight: Putterfingers catch-up with Puttstars

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

Puttstars-mini golf
Copyright: Puttstars

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“NO!”

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

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

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

Puttstars_mini golf
Copyright: Puttstars

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

What is your best score playing Puttstars Mini Golf?

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

What is your favourite mini golf hole at the venues?

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

What do Christmas parties at Puttstars look like this year?

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

What does the future hold for Puttstars?

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

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

About Putterfingers

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

 

Crazy golf is ideal for smaller wedding receptions

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

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

 

Why crazy golf for smaller weddings?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wedding entertainment packages

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

Wedding games

Get in touch

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

Tel: 01284 848330

email: office@connectedshopping.com

Celebrity Antiques Road Trip features minigolf!

‘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!

Minigolf hire in the UK: Putterfingers.co.uk 

Putterfingers phone: 08450 570321

Email Putterfingers for minigolf hire information

Putt-Putt turns 64 and is still popular

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.

Putt-Putt course 1954

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.

Talk to us about minigolf for your wedding, party or event

Give us a tinkle to discuss your minigolf needs: 08450 570321

Send us an email for a minigolf-based natter

Come and meet us at the Newmarket Wedding Show

It’s wedding show season!

Putterfingers crazy golf hire wedding show
We look forward to meeting new customers at the Newmarket Wedding Show 2018

We love meeting brides and helping them select unique wedding entertainment. One of our favourite annual fixtures is our stand at the Newmarket Wedding Show. It’s always fun to meet brides and their families, wedding planners and other wedding suppliers. We always come away bristling with business cards and new customers. This post gives details about the 2018 Newmarket Wedding Show as well as two other wedding shows we are exhibiting at in the coming weeks.

Look for the Fun4Guests stand. Our sister company Fun4Guests provide fun packages including Putterfingers minigolf, and Putterfingers staff will be there, so our stand covers both brands. We have 10 years of experience in hiring our event equipment under our portable crazy golf banner of Putterfingers, but as Fun4Guests we have brought wedding crazy golf and other games together at the request of bridal parties.

Newmarket Wedding Show

Newmarket Wedding Show crazy golf hire Putterfingers

The show takes place on Sunday 21st of January at the Millennium Grandstand, Rowley Mile Racecourse from 11am to 4pm. Come along and meet us on stand G20 to talk about wedding entertainment including crazy golf, giant wooden garden games, kissing booths, photo walls and much more.

Hockwold Hall Wedding Fayre

crazy golf hire hockwold hall wedding fayre

Hockwold Hall is a beautiful wedding and events venue on the borders of Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire. We have exhibited at the Wedding Fayre there for several years and we never miss the opportunity to meet people there and show them our wedding hire packages. If you go to the show, come and say hello to us in the marquee.

EDP Bride: The Wedding Show

Wedding show crazy golf hire

This great wedding show takes place at the Norfolk Showground on the 17th and 18th of February. It’s a regular fixture in our calendar. We look forward to seeing you there!

In the meantime, check out our minigolf wedding hire packages or call us for friendly hire advice and a quote on 0845 0570321.

Crazy Snooker chalks up another year

Loopy version of snooker drives players potty

Crazy Snooker, crazy golf, Neil Robertson, Mark Selby, Snooker
It’s crazy golf, on a table

Crazy Snooker was dreamed up by Betway, sponsors of the UK Snooker Championship, as a way of making snooker more appealing to those who find the regular game a bit boring to watch. Maybe the players needed a break from the monotony of potting and snookering for a living as well. Crazy Snooker is a blend of crazy golf and snooker, played on a standard 12-foot table covered in helter skelters, windmills, jumps, ramps, and other minigolf obstacles.

The 2016 Betway Crazy Snooker series of matches was played by snooker’s top stars, including Neil Robertson, Mark Selby, Dennis Taylor and John Parrott. It is something of a leveller among the top players, even though plenty of skill is involved. As Betway say in one of their YouTube videos, ‘Mark Selby and Neil Robertson may have won all there is to win in the sport, but they’ve never faced a challenge like this.’ The 6-hole course is brutal, and can send even the most seasoned snooker player’s ball slithering back towards him off a ramp and failing to get anywhere near its target.

This blog has been a bit slow on the uptake with Crazy Snooker, since it has been around for quite a while now. Encyclopaedic minigolf enthusiast Richard Gottfried played an outdoor table-top version of crazy golf called Pit-Pat in Littlehampton back in 2012. Here’ s a video of him trying it out with his wife Emily.

So perhaps Betway didn’t actually invent the sport, but being entrepreneurial folks, decided to create their own version and popularise it. Anyway, its 2016 season was a success and now it’s back in 2017 for another bout of physics-based action from the greatest players in snooker. Here’s a video of them having an infuriating but good-natured match.

Could snooker go the same way as ‘pyjama cricket’, with variations on the original game gaining popularity due to the audience enjoying it more? Maybe. Look what happpened with golf and crazy golf!

Putterfingers.co.uk 

 

Steph & Dom off of Gogglebox play crazy golf!

 

Steph & Dom play minigolf

Gogglebox stars Steph & Dom, the ‘posh ones’, are known for cracking up viewers with their hilarious banter. The B&B owners enjoy a tipple in front of the camera and have a knack for surreal and funny comments.

They found their way onto Gogglebox after appearing on Channel 4’s Four In A Bed in 2013, which they thought would help to promote their B&B The Salutation in Sandwich, Kent. They played up and enjoyed it so much that they were asked to be on Gogglebox, and the rest is comedy gold.

Post-Gogglebox they are now on a show called Steph & Dom’s One Star To Five Star, in which they visit hotels and B&Bs around the country and offer advice to the owners on how to sprinkle a little magic around the place. It isn’t always the best advice, but Steph & Dom’s offhandness about it all is quite funny in itself.

In Episode 30, aired this week, the funny posh duo had a go at minigolf and were charmingly bad at it, as you’d expect. The minigolf was part of their last day ‘helping’ at Beldon House not far from Scunthorpe. They appear to have visited Oddballs Crazy Golf at Cleethorpes, a course played and reviewed by the ubiquitous Richard Gottfried, who commented on its exceptionally large windmill. We just happened on the episode and managed to grab the minigolf bit on a smartphone camera.

So yeah, they are not exactly world championship material, but they don’t care, do they? And it’s a bit ironic that they are criticised for not providing ‘enough banter’. We think Steph should be called the Archbishop of Banterbury (Are women bishops allowed now?)

One way for hotels and B&Bs to liven up the place a bit for their guests is to have a Putterfingers crazy golf course! Visit our Pubs & Hotels crazy golf page!

Minigolf at the Belfry featured on Sky Sports!

Sky Sports airs gripping adventure golf champs played at the Belfry

sky sports minigolf
A screen grab from Tuesday evening’s coverage of the American Golf Finals on Sky Sports

Our regular readers might recognise the face in the photo above. Yes, it’s our friend Richard Gottfried, putting supremo and the man behind the long-lived crazy golf blog The Ham and Egger Files. He has putted his way round over 700 minigolf courses in the British Isles and documented every one in his Crazy World of Minigolf Tour. He is no stranger to the media, but what is unusual in image above is that it is minigolf on the TELLY! Sky Sports, to be exact. Our favourite sports has hit prime time subscription TV!

Golf equipment supplier American Golf sponsors a series of golf tournaments in the UK which have grown in popularity. This year they have managed to secure slots on prime time Sky Sports TV for their competitions. Alongside the ‘big’ golf’ events like the Junior Championship and the 9 Hole Pairs, this year saw the inaugural Adventure Golf Pairs Championship aired on Sky Sports. Richard Gottfried, pictured above and below, chose Peter Jones as his teammate for this event. The grand final of the tournament was held on the Ryder Legends Mini Golf Course at The Belfry – not to shabby a venue! Each hole represents a famous hole from big golf, and includes some very long holes with a high difficulty level.

adventure golf, minigolf championships

We are thrilled that our favourite sport has had this airing on a leading sports channel, alongside big golf and on an equal footing with it. We’ve always known that minigolf is just as challenging and exciting as big golf, but now the sports-viewing public has had a front row view of top minigolf players in action, and seen how seriously they take it.

So big respect to American Golf for adding minigolf to their tournament series!

Simon Lee, who won the adventure golf final with partner Steve Gerrish, said, “It’s a great way to get people who don’t play golf into the sport. They can come along and have a bit of fun. It was brilliant to see everyone come out today. If there was more stuff like this around I think you’d have more young kids getting into golf.”

Of course minigolf is more than a gateway into big golf – it’s a mature and highly competitive sport in itself. But if it helps send more nippers on their way to giving Rory McIlroy a run for his money, we’re happy about that too!

www.putterfingers.co.uk

The Eiffel Tower has a minigolf course for a week!

Gallic landmark hosts sky-high putting action

eiffel tower minigolf crazy golf ryder cup 2018

It’s fairly common to see an Eiffel Tower obstacle out on a minigolf course – after all, its inviting arch makes a natural target to putt through. La Tour Eiffel pops up most often on ’round the world’ – type courses featuring famous landmarks. Made out of metal, wood or whatever came to hand, the giraffe-like structure is a pleasing addition to any minigolf course.

So what if we told you that now you can play minigolf ON the Eiffel Tower rather than through a miniature version of it? That’s right, there is now a minigolf course on the viewing platform of the actual Eiffel Tower! In Paris!

It’s all part of the build-up to the 28th of September 2018, the day the next Ryder Cup starts. The big ‘big golf’ event will be held at Le Golf National near Paris, and the organisers have only gone and bagged the city’s most famous landmark for some promotional stunts, including the two team captains hitting golf balls off the tower down the Champ de Mars (what people picnicking down there thought of this has not been reported).

And as part of these events, for the first time ever a minigolf course has been installed on the first floor of the Eiffel Tower. It’s a themed 6-hole ‘tour of Paris’ with players putting past the Louvre, the Arc de Triomphe and – guess what – an itty-bitty Eiffel Tower, on their way to the Ryder Cup itself. With the thousands of visitors to the tower each day, it’s bound to generate extra ticket sales for the Ryder Cup.

It’s only there for a week, but we think it’s a great piece of marketing from the Ryder Cup folks. If you’re in Paris this week and are OK with heights, go and have a play!

Here’s a report on this amazing attraction (with photos) from golfshake.com.

eiffel tower mini golf
The minigolf course is up there on the first floor.

Minigolf is the star in this classic Simpsons episode

Simpsons, minigolf, dead putters society
Bart feels the pressure of competitive minigolf in this classic episode

This might be ancient news to some, but we’ve only just stumbled across this episode of The Simpsons from 1990 which revolves around minigolf. So we’re excited about it and flapping our arms around like chickens. If you’ve seen it before, you can re-live the yellow putting fun with the two clips we’ve posted below. If you haven’t seen it, you’re in for a treat.

Simpsons writer Jeff Martin was an experienced miniature golfer and based much of the golf-related scenes in the script on his own experiences. This episode (Season 2 episode 6) is titled Dead Putting Society and tells the story of Homer’s plan to humiliate Ned Flanders by setting their two sons against each other in a minigolf competition. The loser’s father has to mow his front lawn dressed in his wife’s Sunday dress. But Bart and Todd turn out to be equally matched, with unexpected results for the two feuding dads.

Lisa helps to train Bart for the showdown with some mystical advice that seems to work, and Bart becomes a putting prodigy. Homer tries to help too, telling Bart that the club is to the golfer what the violin is to the ‘violin guy’.

For this episode, the animators went on a field trip to a local miniature golf course to study the mechanics of a golf club swing. Moore commented that the reason for this was that much of the humour in the series comes from making the scenery look lifelike; “The realism of the background serves as the straight man for the absurd situations.”

So, are you a father with a young son, feuding with an annoying religious neighbour who also has a young son? Then you’re reading the right blog post! Settle it once and for all with a minigolf showdown. And get your wife’s Sunday dress ready, because you’ll probably be needing it.

For all your minigolf-based neighbour feuds, hire the equipment from Putterfingers!

Watch a couple of clips from the Dead Putting Society episode below 🙂