'The Force' shows business leaders how to tee off in a cathedral nave

Rochester Cathedral has seen nothing like it in 1400 years!

Yet Adventure Golf in the Nave attracted thousands over the summer break, including more than 100 members and guests at Rochester Cathedral Business Guild’s re-launch.

The seaside came to the Cathedral – and The Force was with them for the whole evening on August 28.

Chairman David Ward interviews Marc “The Force” Chapman

Chairman David Ward interviews Marc “The Force” Chapman

Marc Chapman, dubbed “the Force” in crazy golf circles, is twice world champion and poster boy for the burgeoning sport. It is surging in popularity beyond the UK, especially in mainland Europe, the USA and New Zealand.

The crazy – or miniature – golf supremo from Canterbury was the Business Guild’s guest of honour. He explained his love for the sport, how he came to be world champion in 2018 and 2019 in the annual competition in Hastings, and how guests could keep their scores low.

Education via play

The 10 holes had bridges as their theme, with Rochester Bridge Trust designing and sponsoring the Adventure Golf Course. Models of Rochester bridges down the ages joined the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge spanning the Thames at Dartford, a Bailey bridge, Tower Bridge and the Menai Bridge in Wales.

For many, their round was a bridge learning experience as well as a sporting challenge. For players finding it hard to keep their ball on the green baize, the 10th and final hole almost proved a bridge too far.

“It’s all about direction, control and weight of shot,” Marc said. “You’ve got to get the timing right.”

Mini-Golf is attracting huge investment, with big money generated by courses. Kent is home to several, including Bluewater, Tonbridge and a new one in Maidstone.

Left-hander Marc won £1,000 for his 2019 world triumph after a successful defence of his 2018 title. But mini golf is not his only passion – his day job is a fencing coach. The 33-year-old, who took up mini-golf 10 years ago, has 18 major titles to his name.

There are around 100 competitive players in the UK and Marc is a regular interviewee on television and radio. A television documentary is in the pipeline, with Marc as co-producer.

Staff from Cooling Castle Wedding Barn – Medway’s leading wedding venue – served drinks and canapés. The award-winning firm had dressed tables in the Crypt, just as they would be for a wedding – and they looked beautiful.

Rebecca Collins of Cooling Castle Wedding Barn with David Ward

Rebecca Collins of Cooling Castle Wedding Barn with David Ward

David Ward, Business Guild chairman, thanked Rebecca Collins, the firm’s director, for the firm’s generous support; Marc for showing everyone the way crazy golf should be played; and Guild trustees and friends for handing out clubs and scorecards from a hut on which perched a model seagull.

He invited guests who were not Business Guild members to consider joining this go-ahead group. With no subscription fee and a series of interesting events throughout the year, the Guild offered a great deal, he said.

*More info on crazy and mini-golf at: www.marcchapmancrazygolf.com


More photos from the evening

by Trevor Sturgess