Like drive-in movie theaters and dial-up internet, there’s just something nostalgic about miniature golf. Of course, many of today’s destinations offer way more than a little putt-putt (think laser mazes, bumper boats and black lights). Whether you’re looking for a setting that’s old-school or something more modern, here are seven places for you and the kids to get your miniature golf game on.
Arroyo Seco Golf Club
This is miniature golf like you remember it, with the requisite windmill, castle and tunnels making up its 9-hole course. Sure, it's fairly no-frills, but it's convenient, not too crowded and only a little challenging—making it ideal for the youngest of putt-putters. Post golf, head to the outdoor patio for a bite from the on-site cafe. Five-star dining this is not, but the menu has more options than your typical snack shack (plus grown-up drinks!), with great service to boot.
Tips From the Pros: At $6 per player, you might think you actually are a kid again. So, enjoy a round with your little golfers who can re-play on their own for $3 per person while you kick back with your beverage of choice.
1055 Lohman Ln.
Sherman Oaks Castle Park
For a more elaborate set-up, check out LA's only centrally located miniature golf course, Castle Park—yep, as in that castle you can sometimes spot at the 405/101 interchange. While not as up-to-date as some other venues, the city-owned spot boasts three 18-hole mini-golf courses, plus batting cages and an arcade featuring classics like Skee-Ball, air hockey and PacMan.
Tips From the Pros: At $6.50 for adults and $5.50 for kids 5-12 (kids under 4 are free with paid adult), the price is less than what you'd pay at other comparable spots. Plus, if you arrive before 10:30 a.m. on weekends, all players pay $3 (plus, you beat the birthday-party crowds).
4989 Sepulveda Blvd.
Mulligan Family Fun Center
This course offers the classics (a windmill, castle and bridge), along with a waterfall, haunted house, mining cave and more. After you finish the two 18-hole set-ups, keep the fun going with paddle boats, a rock climbing wall, batting cages, bumper cars and go-karts. There's also an arcade and 2,200-square foot laser tag arena. After an action-packed afternoon here, be prepared for your tired tots to tee up an early bedtime (win/win)!
Tips From the Pros: Play golf for $13 each. Other park attractions have their own admission prices, but you can buy "Fun Cards" and save up to $50. Check the website for more detail on the discounts.
1351 West Sepulveda Blvd.
Golf N’ Stuff
Remember when Daniel and Ali had their highly anticipated first date in Karate Kid? Turns out that place actually exists and, more than 30 years later, it's still going strong with four 18-hole golf courses to choose from, each with its own theme. Swing your way through a haunted mansion, a Moroccan castle, a candy house, and even Big Ben—and that’s just for starters. When you’ve exhausted the links, check out the Lit’l Indy Raceway, the Disk’O Thrill ride, bumper boats and then top it off with the kiddie train and a trip to the arcade.
Tips From the Pros: Mini-golf admission is $11.50 per person (kids 3 and under are free with a paid round). Other attractions require separate admission, but for $34 (and sometimes as little as $23), you can purchase a wristband that gives you two hours fun.
10555 E. Firestone Blvd.
For a more sci-fi, all-indoor mini golf experience, check out the 18-hole course at Glowzone, where black light and bold neon colors lend a futuristic feel. The course may be small but it's not easy—a couple upside-down loops and spinning cyclones will challenge even seasoned putters. After a rousing game of glow golf, your little clubbers can also take advantage of the laser maze, skyscraper ropes course, bumper cars and more. Kids 7 and under can also check out Soft City's ball pit, mini carousel and climbing structure.
Tips From the Pros: Play a round of glow golf for $6 per person (all ages). The course takes about 25 minutes to complete. For more fun, splurge on the online-only Unlimited Attraction Pass for $35 and get 2 hours of unlimited access to all Glowzone attractions, including $5 in arcade game credits.
6051 DeSoto Ave.
If you don’t mind a drive to OC and you want to see what a giant course has to offer, this Anaheim spot is the largest mini-golf spot in the country (yep, biggest from sea to shining sea!) with four award-winning mini golf courses that feature castles of the world, water cannons, sea creatures and jungle golf. With all this magic, we can barely remember the name of that other castle in Anaheim.
Tips from the Pros: Little pros can putt for $9.79. Adults are $10.79. Other attractions require additional admission costs. Take advantage of the Sat. morning mania deal, where for $13 you can play 1 round of mini-golf, laser tag and games at the arcade from 9 a.m.-noon.
3200 E Carpenter Ave.
Pelly’s Mini Golf at the Del Mar Golf Center
If you don't mind a little road trip, put Pelly's on your to-putt list. Tucked away between the I-5 freeway and the Del Mar Fairgrounds, this spot has two different themed 18-hole mini golf courses. Kiddos will love maneuvering their ball around an octopus, through dolphins and under an ocean pier; you’ll love the crowd-free scene and proximity to the Pacific just a few miles away. Ready to retire the clubs for the day? Don’t jump back on the freeway just yet. You’re right around the corner from some of Southern California’s most beautiful parks and beaches, not to mention the renowned Del Mar Race Track.
Tips From the Pros: You can golf among the sea creatures for $9.50 for adults and $7.50 for kids, and the second round is just $4.50 and $3.50, respectively.
15555 Jimmy Durante Blvd.
—Jenifer Scott & Andie Huber
featured photo: Pixabay