By Micaela Blitz
For most people, a trip to the seaside usually means paddling in the sea, making sand castles or even having a picnic, but for James Palmer a visit to the coast led him to come up with the idea for a new business. As he explains: “I was looking for a career change and happened to be in Hastings with my friend Jon Angel. It was pouring with rain, but we noticed that there were a number of crazy golf courses that amazingly were still all exceptionally busy. It started us thinking about why such a popular activity that appeals to adults, children, men and woman alike can only be found at the seaside, and whether there was a way that we could bring it to even more people?”
That way was through setting up their company, UrbanCrazy. Though miniature golf courses are now very popular and commonplace in towns and cities across the UK, in 2002, at the time that UrbanCrazy was established, it was a very new concept. They are considered to be pioneers in developing this market, and they have since gone on to be market leaders in the world of minigolf.
UrbanCrazy offers the chance to hire fun, unique portable minigolf courses for any occasion from parties and corporate events to weddings, bar/bat mitzvahs or family fun days. The courses can be used at any kind of venue, both indoors or outside and is a great activity for guests. James believes that one of the reasons that minigolf works so well is that it is all-inclusive, meaning that anyone can join in. He adds: “No matter what your age, skill level or golfing ability, anyone can play minigolf. When we do events, it always gets people’s interest, and everyone is keen to have a go. It’s a great ice breaker for parties and everyone that plays has a lot of fun.” Their courses have also been hired for school events, as well as being featured on numerous television programmes, including A Question of Sport, Blue Peter and The One Show amongst others.
Each UrbanCrazy course is comprised of modular sections meaning that they can be put together to fit into practically any space, shape and size area. This also means that they can be laid out in endless configurations and can even be used to spell out names or make shapes, such as hearts which are particularly popular for weddings. The courses are also able to be customised with photographs, logos and messages and can fit in with different themes.
UrbanCrazy enjoy being able offer their clients the chance to have something special and unique, and James along with his team create bespoke obstacles to fit specific requirements. They enjoy the challenge of producing new and interesting designs and over the years have been involved in making some unusual obstacles and hazards including a wedding cake, a surfboard, and even a ten pin bowling themed hole. In 2016, as part of the celebrations for the Rio Olympics they created a range of sport-related themed holes including an athletics running track and long jump, which were sited at JW3 for the whole of the games.
Always keen to put their unique spin on other games, as well as minigolf, they have also created their own range of themed table tennis tables which are also available for hire at events under the name ‘PongCrazy’. Their designs include a giant fried egg with a yolk for a net, a golf course (complete with rough bunkers and holes) and even a mesmerising, angled mirrored table which takes the game to a whole new level, and is a challenge even for the most competent player. Their newest addition to their range of games is ‘DartsCrazy’. A giant dartboard which is laid on the ground, and can be played in a variety of ways from throwing bean bags to putting or chipping balls to score.
UrbanCrazy have also been involved in creating permanent miniature golf courses at locations around the country, even transforming the back garden of a couple in North London into a course for their grandchildren. James adds: “It was a great project to work on and their grandchildren thought it was great fun to have their own golf course. The couple really loved what we created for them, and it meant that they never had to mow their lawn again, so that was a bonus!”
For anyone looking to start their own business working in the events industry, James believes that it is important to find something that you enjoy and have a passion for, to ensure that you do it to the best of your abilities. This will then reflect in how you deal with your customers. He adds: “If you are enthusiastic and take pride in what you are offering, your clients will see this and have confidence that you will make their event really special.”
James is very much involved in the business on a personal level and deals directly with many of his clients to help and advise them about the best options for their individual needs. “We like to be able to help our customers by supplying them with creative, unique high quality products that will make their event have the wow factor. We always get great feedback from people who have hired us, and often have repeat business with the same clients hiring us for regular events.” The company are also responsible for supplying miniature golf related equipment to many of the crazy golf, adventure golf and minigolf courses and traders both in the UK and internationally, making them a true one-stop shop for all things minigolf. For James, the thing that he loves most about his role, is the variety that comes with it. He adds: “I love that every phone call that I take can lead somewhere different. I can be involved in designing a 12-hole themed course for a client in Dublin one minute, and then discussing a wedding or bar mitzvah booking the next.”
UrbanCrazy would like to offer a 5% discount on any UrbanCrazy, PongCrazy or DartsCrazy bookings made by the end of April. Please quote Jewish Weekly when making a booking. Check out their websites – www.urbancrazy.com, www.pongcrazy.com and www.dartscrazy.com or contact them on 08456 860 160 / 08456 860 360 (local rate)