Miniature golf is an excellent way to spend a couple of hours with the family. It’s one of those rare games where people of all ages and fitness levels can compete on a relatively equal basis. Plus, most of the courses are outdoors, helping to keep things safe during the time of coronavirus. Here, we round up some of the best in London.
Mini-golf, Crazy-golf, Adventure Golf… What’s The Difference?
Not a lot, really. All are like miniature golf courses with a series of obstacles to overcome. Crazy golf is an older term, and conjures images of knocking balls through windmills at the seaside. Mini-golf appears to be the more popular term these days -- more respectable and less, well, crazy. You’ll also find the sport badged up as ‘Adventure golf’. This is basically mini-golf with bonus dinosaurs or pirates -- or some other family-friendly theme.
How has Covid-19 affected play?
Mini-golf courses were forced to close in March, along with just about everything else. They recently reopened, with strict safety measures in place. All equipment will be disinfected between rounds. Visitors must stay apart from other household groups, and wear masks in enclosed spaces. You’ll also need to prebook (always a good idea anyway).
Where are the best dinosaur golf courses?
Like chess-boxing or pubs with Thai kitchens, the coupling of dinosaurs and mini-golf shouldn’t work, but it does. The London area contains a number of reptile-enhanced courses, including those below:
Borehamwood: Dinosaur Safari Adventure Golf
New Maldon: Jurassic Adventure Dinosaur Golf
Northolt: Dinosaur Escape Adventure Golf
Sidcup: Mr Mulligans Dino Golf
Walthamstow: Jurassic Falls Adventure Golf
What about other adventure golf courses?
Not all adventure golf is prehistoric. Take a swing at these themed courses around town.
Croydon: Dragon Quest Golf is effectively another dinosaur golf course, but with fictional reptiles instead of extinct ones.
Dagenham: The UK’s largest adventure golf course is over in east London, at Golf Kingdom. The Moby course is suitably nautical, featuring a pirate ship, large lagoon, and a frankly terrifying model of Moby Dick.
Edgware: Lost Jungle Golf, just north of the town centre, offers three themed courses to try out. Brave the cascading waterfalls and ancient ziggurats on the Amazon course; watch out for giant snakes and gorillas on the Congo course; or leave the clubs in the shack and try a round of foot golf.
Greenwich Peninsula: The mini-golf course near the O2 relies less on fibreglass animals and instead looks like an actual golf course in miniature. Indeed, its 18 tiny, tiny holes are said to be inspired by those on famous golf courses around the world.
Oakwood: Opposite this extreme-north-London tube station can be found Jungle Falls. This is another tropically-themed course, with “life-sized hungry creatures prowling lush jungle marshes”. Perhaps an exaggeration, but the course is still fun and very-well equipped for families.
Plonk courses: Expect courses full of wacky interventions at Plonk. Loop-the-loops, perilous leaps, UV lights and smoke effects are almost literally par for the course. At the time of writing, the group has courses in Camden Market, the Horniman Museum and London Fields, though new places come and go.
Putt in the Park: A series of more traditional miniature golf courses all ran by the same organisation, and located in Wandsworth Park, Battersea Park and Acton Park (plus Colchester).
And what are the options for indoor golf?
Before coronavirus, miniature golf course were popping up in every quarter -- in old shops, on car park roofs, hidden down in basements… Not all have reopened, but there’s still plenty of putting pleasure to be had around town. Most indoor venues are geared up to an adult audience, with licensed bars and pumping music. Puttshack, at Lakeside and White City, also caters for kids. Its courses are neon-lit and tech-heavy, giving a different twist to the game. Junkyard Golf in Hoxton also allows accompanied children Sunday to Wednesday before 7pm.
How can I get really good at mini-golf and beat the rest of my family?
Well, since you ask, here’s our complete guide to becoming a mini-golf master.
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