The world’s first adventure golf in a cave at Zip World placed as runner up within the competitive Themed Environment category…
The Blooloop Innovation Awards shine a spotlight on what the smartest minds in the visitor attractions business are creating, building and thinking right now. In so doing we get a glimpse of the attractions of the future…
This is where the most ground-breaking projects can be found in one place… and whittling them down to a selection of categories is no mean feat. With entries from the likes of Warner Brothers Studios, Convious, Vantage Technology and many more leading the way when it comes to technology and innovation, it has been amazing to see such a collection of amazing projects achieve accolades for their hard work, Zip World is of course no exception… as what they have achieved this year has been truly astounding…
Casting our minds back to the summer of 2022, Zip World Llechwedd in the slate caverns of Blaenau Ffestiniog in North Wales officially added an exciting new adventure to their ever-growing portfolio.
Introducing the brand, Zip World co-founder and CEO, Sean Taylor, had put it simply: “We do world-class experiences, both underground and on the ground.”
The underground adventure golf course is 500ft underground, inside a disused slate mine, and can only be reached by Europe’s steepest cable railway. Set over four levels, the course has 18 holes in total, and takes around one and a half hours to complete, taking guests on a journey through the cave’s history as they battle each other through a series of interactive challenges.
The attraction is the world’s first underground adventure golf course in a cave. Speaking about why Zip World decided to add such a unique offering, Taylor says: “It’s in our DNA to push the envelope.”
While it may seem an unusual addition to the venue, Taylor explains why the new installation is a perfect fit:
“Blaenau Ffestiniog is steeped in history, with the culture of slate mining. It’s literally the town that roofed the world. It’s such an iconic setting, so when we do things, they must be good enough for this site; they must have a wow factor and they must be world-class.
“Also, it’s one of the wettest places in the UK. So, the new adventure golf course provides something that is always open, no matter the time of year. It’s always dry and it’s always the same temperature. People can now come and play 18 holes of adventure golf underground, all year round, and stay dry.”
With dramatic colourful light shows, special FX and music, and mesh floor panels that allow you to see people playing below and above you… this attraction is truly unique as players weave their way through four levels of bespoke golf holes as well as rope bridges, nets, putter chutes, and even a slide at the very end of the course. The environment is, of course, encased in natural cavern walls and you can even putt past mining carts and historical props… with a detonator too!
Rod Morton, Greenspan’s CEO, said: “From the outset, we knew that Zip World were market leaders globally for innovative and one-of-a-kind projects. So, the bar was set high. To start with, we utilised our standard approach with the creative team working up the concept, getting approval for that, agreeing on a budget, then achieving project sign-off and moving into the construction phase.
“The key from here was creating a fully detailed 3D model of the project. We had the cavern surveyed and from this, we could create our 3D model that showed exactly how the attraction would look. This allowed the Zip World team to fully immerse themselves in the design and make any changes required before construction began.”
And that they did: “The fact that the course tells a story is really important, firstly for the community here,” says Taylor. “Generations of people from this area have worked underground, and people have lost their lives here too. It’s also important for me as a local lad; I was born and bred seven miles away from Blaenau Ffestiniog. There’s a huge community buy-in for it.
“Also, there’s already an existing Deep Mine tour, which goes into the history of the quarry. We’ve kept that, it was important that that wasn’t changing. In fact, we’ve enhanced that experience with this new addition.”
To find out more about the other winners and runners up for Blooloop’s Innovation Awards, please click here.
Visit Zip World’s website here to find out more and to book tickets for this award-winning attraction!