Spelling it out in Charnwood
Charnwood Golf Complex in Leicestershire had reason to celebrate on Saturday 5 April at the opening of its new miniature golf course. Despite grey skies for most of the day there was an excellent turn out from the public. Not only was it a chance to play on the brand new course for free, but there was also a bouncy castle, BBQ and a trickshot display by Tricky Robb and his jaunty golfing trousers.
Having the Great Britain Minigolf Team there as well meant the course was really put through its paces. The players all seemed to like the course and the challenge that each hole presented; whether it was the rock guard feature around the cup on Hole 9, the cleverly positioned cup on Hole 7 or the triple rebound on Hole 3. Michael Smith, commented that he thought the course was well designed, “If you hit the ball right, you get rewarded, but if not, then you’ll get punished!”. As Britain’s highest ranked player, he should know!!
As ever the course was made to the high standards that UrbanCrazy pride themselves on. Through clever layouts, shapes and placement of obstacles each of the holes, in some form, contributed to spelling out the word ‘CHARNWOOD’, much like the initial letter in each paragraph of this article. Look carefully! Natural features made of wood, rock and aggregate as well as UrbanCrazy’s exclusive, purpose-made kerbing and felt came together to create the stunning, landscaped course.
Really impressive is the transformation considering that, until recently, the area was a disused patch of land; quite out of place next to the other fantastic facilities on site. Since starting in January, the UrbanCrazy team had quite a task on their hands to turn it from derelict to dynamic, but they worked their magic, and even managed to complete ahead of schedule!
Now that the new course is open, Vicky Jervis, European Golf’s Area Manager, is thrilled with it and told me how it “will really encourage families and children to come and try it out as well as having a go on their 22 bay driving range”. She also was excited that it will “add a unique facility to the venue which is often used for weddings and parties”.
With what must have been a first for broadcasting, Julie Mayer, BBC Radio Leicester’s roving reporter went head to head with the GB team captain Sean Homer, and even scored a hole in one live on the radio. In her interview with Sean, Michael and GB’s leading junior, Will Donnelly, Julie tackled all things minigolf and learned how it is just as much a science as a sport. Listen to the full report here.
Other exciting events included a competition between the Loughborough Golf Academy Juniors and the GB team. The juniors managed to achieve an impressive score against the professionals, losing out by just 11 points. The lowest scorers amongst the juniors, 8 yr old Bradley Seddon and 12 yr old Harry Conn, each went home with a prize. Sean was really impressed by their efforts, “The standard of play by the juniors today was great to see, and it was clear, judging by the cheers and high fives going on across the course, that everyone present really enjoyed the experience… who knows, perhaps in a few years’ time, we may see some representing Great Britain alongside the current squad.”
Over the course of the day the facility was packed throughout and the complex staff could not hand putters and balls out quick enough. Many of the visitors who had played told me how they could not wait to come back and play again, determined to try and better their scores on some of the trickier holes.
Deputy Mayor, Paul Day and his wife were also in attendance to join in the fun. Having only previously played when at the seaside they quickly got back into the swing – so to speak – and after a quick tutorial and game told me how they were keen to come back and play again. “I am looking forward to bringing my grandchildren to play here” Cllr Day commented. “It is a wonderful facility that is accessible to everyone”. But don’t take his word for it, grab your family and friends, and pop over and see for yourself!