The crazy golf triangle
You may (or may not) have heard of the Rhubarb triangle. This is an area of some 9 square miles around Wakefield in West Yorkshire. A native of Siberia, Rhubarb thrives in the wet cold winters in Yorkshire. West Yorkshire once produced 90% of the world’s winter forced rhubarb.
There has been another strange confluence in the area, but this time it’s crazy golf courses that are springing up! The crazy golf triangle is only about a mile or so in area. There are six top crazy golf courses with differing themes just off junction 32 off the motorway. My friend Amanda and I decided to take the six course challenge up on one day. Hence known as Crazy Golf Saturday.
|Start at the very beginning..|
Crazy golf – ahoy there!
We started off at Mr Mulligan’s Pirate Golf, which has two 18 hole courses. One slightly easier (apparently) than the other. The courses are surprisingly to be found in the middle of the Castleford Shopping Centre.
Both courses are really well designed with lots of fun obstacles and inventive elements. Enough to keep both adults and children well entertained. I loved the giant squid and the little raft you have to pull yourself across the river on.
|Are you looking at me?|
Putt your ball down the mouth of a giant snake and run the gamut of a few plastic crocodiles on the way. We did start off scoring properly, but full on crazy golf is actually quite hard.
Crazy golf – cheating not beating
I confess that I cheated. Using a helpful guiding foot and promptly retaking particularly hopeless shots, soon became the norm rather than the exception. Happily for us we had arrived dressed in pirate hats and this meant that we both got to try both courses for the bargain price of £5.
Plus we got a free pirate tattoo and a slushy at half time! The staff at Mr Mulligan’s pirate golf were extremely helpful and friendly. I can recommend a session at this jolly outdoor course without hesitation.
They were particularly looking forward to national talk like a pirate day (‘Avast me hearties’ etc) which is on 14th September. You can go to the next door American Diner for cocktails and hotdogs or shop for ‘designer’ brands later if you so desire.
|Pirates pounce and put you off|
Crazy Golf – dinosaur excitement
The next courses were indoors inside the huge Xscape entertainment complex nearby. Indoor courses are helpful for us UK residents.
The first two we encountered here had a jungle theme and featured a large animatronic T Rex (the T Rex trail) on one. An active volcano was featured on the other. The T Rex waves its tail and head and roars and gnashes its jaws menacingly from time to time. The volcano lights up and puffs out smoke through multi coloured lights. All very good fun indeed.
The final two courses were different again. One was a 4D glow in the dark course. The curse of the Mummy’s Tomb – you had to wear 3 D glasses.
The other was called Atlantis and was a kind of glow in the dark neon undersea world experience. The clubs glow, the balls glow and the holes glow. You negotiate the glowing fish and the octopus and the treasure chests and the sharks. All part of every submariner’s usual adventures.
We were suffering a little bit from Crazy Golf fatigue by this time, so we didn’t go in the 4D one as the glasses made us feel a bit dizzy and the undersea world was just too dark for me to see what I was doing with any degree of accuracy.
The history of crazy golf
Crazy golf (sometimes known as mini golf) has quite a long and illustrious history. In the summer of 1930, four million Americans were swept up by the craze and played it every night.
Incredibly, the cinema box office suffered as people forsook the movie house for ‘minigolf.’ Motion picture theatres were converted to courses, and dance halls and pool halls also suffered a loss of custom.
|Cool 4D golf guy|
Crazy golf, for the first time and possibly the only time, was glamorous, chic and sexy. Tycoons such as the Vanderbildts had their own elaborate courses.
Crazy golf – cool putting
The most imaginative hole though was probably in Los Angeles where the player had to putt through a live bear cage. The owners had trained the bear to dab its paw at balls rolling past him. They smeared the balls with honey and fish to train the bear. They haven’t got this one at Xscape yet, but it can only be a matter of time..
|Watch out for the mummy’s curse!|
The oldest mini golf course in existence can actually be found in Scotland: The Ladies’ Putting Club of St. Andrews was formed in 1867 as a members-only green for women golfers. The club was a result of the conventions of the day that decreed it improper for a lady to “take the club back past their shoulder.”
There may not have been any windmills on this course, but the green was and remains one of the most prestigious miniature courses around. Maybe it is time for Crazy Golf to take centre stage again. If you feel you would like to contribute to the revival of its fortunes, why not try turning of the M62 just at junction 32, enter the Crazy Golf triangle and try the six course challenge!
|Child labour can sometimes be handy|