The Irish author Julian Gough once defined golf as “a sport in which the object is to keep poor people off a lawn”.
Crazy golf, by contrast, is much more democratic: everyone gets to walk on the grass.
While numerous activity bars have popped up in London in recent years, from darts bars and shuffleboard clubs to board game cafes and retro arcades, mini golf has remained a firm favourite for revellers looking to do more than drink.
But it’s also had a glow-up. Think less astroturf and cheesy themes, and more quirky courses and pop-up food stalls.
Here are five crazy golf spots in London where you can get your swing on.
Plonk’s mission is “to bring crazy golf to the masses,” with venues in Camden, Hackney, Shoreditch and Borough Market. Alongside crazy golf, guests can play retro arcade games, sip themed cocktails, and fuel up on loaded hot dogs.
From £9.90 off-peak, multiple locations, plonkgolf.co.uk
Founded in 2014 as a pop-up in Shoreditch, Swingers now has two permanent locations in the City of London and the West End. As well as numerous cocktail bars at each location, food options include burgers, pizza, and tacos, thanks to partnerships with Patty&Bun, Pizza Pilgrims, and Breddos.
From £11 off-peak, multiple locations, swingers.club/uk
Junkyard Golf invites guests to “take a walk on the weird side,” a slogan easy to embrace once you step onto the quirky courses. From a creepy fairground to a wild jungle, Junkyard Golf is not your typical mini golf spot. A new location has recently opened in Camden, and you can also find a venue in Shoreditch.
From £11 off-peak, multiple locations, junkyardgolfclub.co.uk
Puttshack sets itself apart from other mini golf sites with its high tech scoring system. Forget the pencils, scorecards, (and cheating), because Puttshack uses Trackball technology to do the scoring for you. There are two locations in London (at Bank and White City) plus locations in Watford and Lakeside, Essex.
From £12.50 off-peak, multiple locations, puttshack.com
Birdies is the place to go for “mind-bending, visually ridiculous crazy courses” and a great spot for birthdays and group celebrations. Take a break from golf to enjoy food from Cheeky Burger, or to enjoy a crazy cocktail from Birdies bar. With locations in Battersea and Angel, there’s an option for mini golf fans both sides of the river.
£13, multiple locations, playbirdies.com