crazy_golf_holeThe 21st century has brought us lots of new high-tech gadgets, adventure opportunities and hobbies. Unfortunately, we have also lost some of the skills we had from the last. How many people do you know who can successfully hit a golf ball through the mouth of a crocodile, have it pop out of its bottom, navigate around a plastic tree and finish with a hole in one?

Crazy golf has a new name – Adventure Golf, and more advanced venues are cropping up all over the place. We love it and have found some great places with everything from pirates to dinosaurs. Ok, so it can get a little fraught with younger kids. We have had a couple of major meltdowns during tournaments, mainly over who is winning. I have a highly competitive wife and a couple of kids who hate to come last. There is a solution, don’t score the round and let anyone 9 or under restart the hole as many times as they wish after they blast the ball out of the park. Play for the sheer pleasure of seeing the ball disappear down one hole by the tyrannosaurus leg and pop out at the bottom of the volcano.

Cool courses we have played

Pirate Adventure Mini Golf, Weymouth Sea Life Adventure Park, Dorset DT4 7SX

This is one of our all time 18 hole outdoor favourites. Great pirate theme with loads of props, life-size plastic one legged pirates, treasure chests, cannons and great landscaped grounds. The course is reasonably challenging but not enough to put the kids off. Alongside the golf is the Sea Life Centre. We use our Merlin passes for free entry to Sea Life and a discounts on the golf tickets. When I say ‘free entry’, I really do mean free. We collect Nectar points through our Nectar Credit Card and our Nectar club card. Each year we easily have enough points to get four Merlin annual passes, giving us free access to all manner of attractions. More details on the golf on their website here.

Volcano Falls Adventure Golf, Xscape Leisure Centre, Castleford, Yorkshire WF10 4TA

This is an indoor course within the Xscape centre, so you don’t have to worry about the weather. We found it almost by accident when looking for something to do on a very wet Yorkshire afternoon. There are two 18 hole courses, both with dinosaurs, a mini volcano you can walk through, impressive plastic foliage and great lighting effects. The Xscape centre also has loads of shops, restaurants, ten-pin bowling, cinema and indoor ski slope. It’s a great place to kill some time on wet days. More details here.

Pirate Island Adventure Golf, Woking, Berkshire GU22 8JH

Our latest find is another pirate themed 18 hole outdoor course. This one is not quite as grand as the Weymouth extravaganza but has an awesome twist. The first nine holes meander around an artificial stream. Yes, the balls finish up taking a dip on several occasions, but are easily rescued with the supplied retrieval poles. Josh had a whale of a time and grinned from ear to ear fishing his ball out of the water, only to putt it straight back into the drink. If this isn’t enough, there are a couple floating rafts to negotiate over the stream, powered by rope pulleys and some pulling. Make sure the raft is fully docked unless you want your kids leaping over the watery gap like something out of an action movie. The only hazard is wet feet and damp trouser legs. The landscaping is good with a couple of tricky obstacles. There is even a galleon with one hole hidden inside the hull and the next where you tee off from the deck above. It is located next to clubhouse of Hoebridge Golf Club, handy for something to eat and the toilets. The course is floodlit and open well into the winter evenings. Check it out here.

Pirate Adventure Mini Golf, Sea Life Centre, Blackpool, Lancashire FY1 5AA

Another good 12 hole indoor course following the pirate theme, located underneath the Blackpool Sea Life Centre. This atmospheric venue is well set out on two levels and although not as large as it’s Weymouth brother, it is worth a visit if you find yourself in Blackpool. Incorporate it with a run around the Sea Life Centre, a trip up Blackpool Tower and a walk on the sea front for a busy fun day. These attractions are part of the Merlin group so a Merlin Annual Pass will keep the costs down. Don’t mix this one up with another course located on Blackpool Pleasure Beach, which we have not visited. A word of warning about Blackpool. It has become a magnet for wild partying youths on stag or hen nights. Even during the day there is evidence of alcohol excess and novelty inflatables that may cause a few awkward questions from the kids. I don’t think we will make a special effort to visit Blackpool again, but if you are nearby and stuck for something to do it may be worth a visit. More info here.

Windsor Adventure Golf, Alexandra Gardens, Windsor, Berkshire SL4 5HZ

Outdoor 18 hole course with a castle theme located in the scenic Alexandra Park alongside the Thames river. We like this course. It’s well maintained with real foliage and trees, water features and child-friendly holes. It’s a relaxing place to spend some time with the family. Windsor town centre is a few minutes walk away so you have easy access to Windsor Castle, shops, restaurants and coffee shops. We have spent a lot of time here. Emma and Josh have a real passion for a round of golf, lunch at Yo Sushi and a cake at Costa in the old Railway Station. Take a look at their website for more details.

Cheap and cheerful basic courses

If you are in Berkshire and want a some real basic old-school, no thrills crazy golf here are a couple.

Crazy Golf, Riverside Gardens Park, Maidenhead SL6 8NP

It’s not that well maintained, has puddles on the course when it rains, no plastic dinosaurs or pirates, but we still have a great time. Add a run around in the kids playground and breakfast at Jenner’s Cafe for some good family fun. Check out my other post for more details.

Crazy Golf, Jocks Lane, Bracknell, Berkshire RG12 2BH

Rough and ready council run course with dodgy obstacles. As well as the golf the park has an outdoor paddling pool, kids playground and some pay-and-play tennis courts. All enough to keep us occupied for a few hours.