Crazy golf is usually imprinted on humans through arduous family contests battled out in overcast seaside towns. But if you want to bring your putting skills back to the razzle-dazzle of the big city, there are plenty of miniature meadows perfectly primed for you to unleash your inner protractor. Here’s our guide to which courses you should try.
If anywhere were to stock the miscellaneous knick-knacks that make up a good crazy golf course’s motley approach to decoration, you would expect a junkyard to be it. This Shoreditch bunker isn’t actually a refuse depot, but from its pick-and-mix assortment of cult and grunge items, it could well have been a last-stop storeroom for an unreleased Tarantino film. Completing the course is a challenge – if only due to the frequency of ‘bunker’ bars smattered throughout the holes and their semi-compulsory shot stops. A late night favourite if you are looking to hop from (golf) club to club.
Birdies Crazy Golf
After Shoreditch (obviously), Peckham would probably the next best place to search in a crazy golf hunt. London’s second-most home of hipsters – or are we not allowed to say that yet? – is also home to Birdies. This neon nine-hole relocated down from the rooftops of Stratford last year and has taken with it its not-so rag-tag bunch of gourmet food-trucks. The course is currently closed, but come summer expect a particularly teasing group par-3’s. Keep an eye on their website for where their next location will be.
Crazy-bility: 8 (approximation – depending on the new course)
Expect: neon, craft beer and young professionals.
From the team that brought you Bounce ping pong and darts bar Flight Club comes Swingers, golf for players with a slightly looser approach to the rules. Obstacle number one is dodging the suits that surround this City central location (underneath the Gherkin in fact), but once you’re inside you’ll find yourself in a utopia of putting pleasure. Swingers does feel a little like the golf equivalent of Willy Wonka’s factory with lurid green turf and floral decor. The holes aren’t quite as imaginative as the chocolate maestro might make, but they still pack a testing shot or two. A social sojourn with lots of opportunities for a Budweiser pit stop.
Difficulty Rating: 7/10
Expect: Hot dogs, fierce slopes and wood blocks.
Plonk is London’s largest crazy golf outfit and the city’s most colourful. Their three indoor courses in Dalston, Brixton and Battersea are UV wonderlands that look like a holiday resort for the Tron world. Meanwhile their outside courses in Hackney and Walthamstow sit somewhere between an ancient Aztec temple and a Skittles advert. All the locations are accompanied by a bar, and in Hackney’s case a glorious beer garden. The perfect choice for a grown-up child with a short attention span.
Difficulty: 6 (approximation – score varies with location)
Expect: UV, more UV, and multi-coloured bird-houses.
To see all of Plonk’s courses, check out their website.
Jurassic Encounter Adventures
Ever thought: “Yeah, this crazy golf is fine. But wouldn’t it be better if we were surrounded by dinosaurs!!” No? Well time to set your closed mind free. Jurassic Encounters is strictly for the Put-a-saurus Rexs out there, and if you are looking to Tricera-topple this Tri-classic course you better be Stego-seriously good … yeah, that’s probably enough of that. There’s some good variation in this 18-hole circuit, and the long fairways allow you to really open up your power game. It’s a bit of a trip out to Jurassic’s West Wimbledon site, but on a sunny day it’s a great weekend trip for kids.
Expect: Allosaurus, Apatosaurus and Diplodocus
For more information about Jurassic Encounter Adventures’ opening times and prices, please see online.
Putt in the Park
Putt in the Park – the golfing jaunt that does exactly what it says on the tin. Sadly, this matter-of-fact outfit has a similarly sober approach to decoration: crazy golf’s usual hodgepodge paraphernalia has not been engaged in. For those seeking teasing greens and sandy bunkers, however, the three courses in Acton, Battersea and Walthamstow will provide a real test. It’s the honest, earnest option for golfing dads (or mums) who want to show off the rewards of all those cold Sunday mornings.