A Cwmbran family have turned their love of minigolf into a business. The Kukielka family from Llanyrafon have played competitive minigolf on the British Minigolf Tour since 2006 and compete all over the UK.
Seve Kukielka and his younger brother Leo have both won national titles. Seve has won the British Minigolf Junior Championship and Leo has won the British Junior Matchplay Championship.
Seve was looking at business opportunities and after chatting to fellow enthusiast Richard Gottfried decided to buy a minigolf course that could fit in the back of a van.
Portaputt, their nine hole course can be used indoors or outdoors at any kind of event.
Now Seve, helped out by his dad Jas, mum Cindy and younger brother Leo take the course to local festivals, fetes and fun days. This may even lead to the first minigolf club being set up in Wales.
Cindy said ” We were talking to Richard from the Ham and Egger Files blog and he told us about a really good quality portable course that he had played. We contacted the company straight away and ended up buying the course. There are no mini or crazy golf courses in this area that provide the opportunity for competition standard play and we thought it would be good to offer local people the chance to improve their putting skills or just have fun.
“We have just gone for it. We have been so busy. I scour the papers for events to attend. The Cwmbran Big Event was extremley succesful. There were a lot of people playing and someone booked us for a birthday party that day. We have done a few food festivals including Cowbridge and we were at the Pontypridd Christmas lights being turned on.
“In November we attended the St David’s Foundation Annual Ball at The Celtic Manor Resort where we held a tournament for the guests. They loved it. The winner got a trophy and prize. We met a lot of other companies there that evening who were very interested in hiring the course for their own corporate events and team building days.
“We would like to start a minigolf club in Cwmbran and we have been in contact with the manager of Fairwater Leisure Centre to see we can run the club there to start early next year. We would hope to meet weekly or fortnightly and give participants the opportunity to have fun and develop their putting skills. We intend to offer coaching and hold a tournaments and a minigolf league. It would be great if we are able to encourage more people to play mini golf and crazy golf competitively.
“Minigolf has many benefits for young people – they learn the basics of putting and sporting behaviour in general and it provides a great introduction to golf. There are also educational benefits: developing physical skills, hand/ eye co-ordination, numeracy skills and learning strategies to try and get the ball in the hole in as few shots as possible. Children from about the age of eight get most benefit from it and adults really enjoy it too.
“We also hope to expand the party and wedding hire side of the business. It’s great fun at weddings. There is often a lot of hanging around (whilst photos are taken, for example) where the course provides a fun activity for guests of all ages. It’s also a very popular activity for birthday parties. We had extremely positive feedback from the birthday party we attended at Fairwater Leisure Centre.
“We held a tournament for the children with certificates, which they really loved. At the moment we are doing a special offer for parties where there is a 20% discount for all parties booked before 31 January 2013 so a two hour party booking would be £60 instead of £75.
“This includes weddings so the cost would be £200 instead of £250. For this we run the course for the duration of the wedding reception and do not take it away until after the last guest has left.
“The course is made from rubber backed interlocking one metre square astro turf squares so it is safe to use on any type of floor without damage. We use low bounce balls so there is no risk of them flying off the course. It really is a safe, fun and challenging activity for all ages. We even provide ball retrievers so there is no need to bend down to collect the ball from the hole if mobility is an issue and the course can also be played by wheelchair users.
“We design the holes to challenge even the most skillful putter . They are all aceable (meaning it is possible to get a hole in one) but some are definitely more difficult to ace than others! We are constantly adapting the course by incorporating extra tunnels and rebounding borders so the course set up changes for every event.
“We have had such positive feedback from every event that we have attended so far and have some very nice testimonials on our website.”
For more information about the course and the hire options available see www.portaputt.co.uk