Mini golf. Putt putt. Goofy golf. Whatever you call it, we call it fun! And it’s only around for a brief season. Take a swing at the last weeks of summer with a family-friendly competition at a miniature golf course near Washington, DC. The closest course? The one in your own backyard!
photo: Eagle’s Nest Mini Golf via Yelp
Your Own Backyard
If you want to play a round of putt-putt without leaving your property, there are a number of companies that will bring the course to you. These party companies will set up your game of miniature golf inside or out and—the best part?—you can play unlimited games for the day (or night). If you want to take a swing at unlimited games year round, you can invest in your own set. We like this adorable floral and animal obstacle course. For extra at-home fun, we like to toss a few light-up golf balls in the mix (these feature LED lights).
Cost: $10 & up
Where:Your own backyard
Mini Golf Course at East Potomac
One of the oldest continually operating mini golf courses in the country, this place is on the National Record for Historic Places. It opened in 1931, but don’t worry, it’s undergone renovations a few times since then. Situated between the Washington Channel and Potomac River, the course offers scenic views as well as a fun time. Note: Moms, dads and grandparents play for free on Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Grandparents’ Day, respectively.
Cost: $6 for ages 18 and under and 60 and older, $7 for adults 19 to 59
Where: 972 Ohio Dr. SW
Monster Mini Golf
Get glowing with this monster-themed indoor glow golf facility. The four locations in the D.C. metro area feature animated props, an in-house deejay and arcade rooms, in addition to private party rooms in case you decide to make this a group outing. Other activities include mini bowling and a laser maze.
Cost: $9.98 to $10.98 in Chantilly & $9.99 to $11.99 in Gaithersburg
Where: 14130 Sullyfield Cir. Chantilly; 7351 Assateague Dr., Jessup; 9116 Gaither Rd., Gaithersburg
photo: Linda via Flickr
Fairfax County Park Authority Mini Golf Courses
Several of this government agency’s parks have courses to challenge growing golfers. Burke Lake Park’s course ($5 to $8) has clubs to fit kiddos as young as 2. Make a day of it and rent a canoe to take out on the lake or pair mini golf with a 10-minute ride on the mini train. Jefferson Falls Mini-Golf ($6 to $8) features waterfalls, while Oak Marr Mini-Golf ($5 to $8) sits near soccer fields and a nine-hole par three real course.
Cost: $5 to $8
Where: Multiple locations
Laurel Golf Center
Take a swing at the mini golf course here and navigate obstacles and fountains as you go. If you’re looking for something more professional after your inspiring round, check out the golf range ($6 for a bucket of 52 b alls) or sign up for a Junior Golf Clinic, offered weekend mornings for ages 6 to 17.
Cost: $7/adult, $5/senior citizen, $4/kid 12 and younger for 18 holes; $9/adult, $8/senior and $7/kid for 36 holes
Where: 9801 Ft Meade Rd., Laurel, MD
Splash Park and Mini-Golf of South Germantown
Part of Montgomery County’s Parks Department, the 18-hole course with natural and manmade obstacles sits next to an awfully tempting water park that might be too good to bypass when the temperature heats up again.
Where: 18056 Central Park Circle, Boyds, MD
Miniature Golf at Bohrer Park
Handicapped- and stroller-accessible, the course has hole locations that change every day. Try to snake past a lion and pose for a selfie by the city’s only waterfall.
Cost: $6/resident, $7/nonresident, $5/resident 55 and up or $6/nonresident 55 and up
Where: 514 S. Frederick Ave., Gaithersburg, MD
Dulles Golf Center and Sports Park
Good for kiddos 3 and older, the 18-hole has 10 replicas of famous lighthouses, including those in Assateague and Cape Henry, Va. There’s also the more typical stuff like fountains, moguls and stone traps.
Cost: $9/adult, $7.50/ages 3 to 12, free for 2 and under
Where: 21593 Jesse Ct., Dulles, VA
Topgolf Miniature Golf
Come for the two mini golf courses and stay for Topgolf U Juniors, a class ($29) for beginner and intermediate budding golfers who want to up their game in a high-energy environment. Or grab a bite at the onsite restaurant. The kids menu offers mini hot dogs, chicken tenders, grilled cheese and a cheeseburger. Adults can munch on brisket grilled cheese, pulled pork sliders or wings and wash them down with beer or wine. Leave room to try the injectable donut holes: 24 cinnamon-sugar holes that you can fill with with chocolate, raspberry or Bavarian cream. Note: Topgolf has locations in Loudoun and Germantown, too.
Cost: $9/adult, $7/kid ages 12 and under
Where: 6625 S. Van Dorn St., Alexandria, VA
The Magic Putting Place
Choose from two courses here. The Magic Castle features a – wait for it – magic castle and saw mill, while the Windmill course has – wait! – a windmill and shade trees. Family-friendly music serenades you as you go.
Cost: $4 before 6 p.m. Mon.-Fri.; $4.50 before 6 p.m. Sat., Sun. and holidays, $5 after 6 p.m.
Where: 8902 Mathis Ave., Manassas, VA
NOVA Parks Mini Golf Courses
Five of the locations this organization runs – it represents Arlington, Fairfax and Loudoun counties, and the cities of Alexandria, Falls Church and Fairfax – offer mini golf. The 18-hole course at Fountainhead Regional Park ($3/player) has a wooded setting, Upton Hill ($3.50 to $6) touts itself as having “one of the area’s most interesting miniature golf layouts in Northern Virginia,” and Treasure Island Mini Golf at Pohick Bay ($3/game) has a pirate theme.
Cost: $3 to $6
Where: Check website