Crazy golf / mini golf / putting whatever you call the bizarre game of hitting a ball around a course it’s not new. In fact I remember playing it on holiday as kid whether we were in Brighton, Tenerife or some other not so exotic destination. Laura and I have also played at various locations around the world since we have been together. It’s simple fun that we both enjoy.
What is a newer trend is the development of courses that are ‘next level’. In Birmingham this is taken literally – with the two storey Adventure Mini Golf at Star City that includes two 18 holed themed courses. But also design wise – with the pop-up Ghetto Golf an 18-hole twisted course based on Birmingham landmarks and retro themes that allows you to drink as you golf.
And Birmingham isn’t alone, Liverpool has it’s own Ghetto Golf and London ‘Swingers‘ has two courses in the city that include 2 x 9 hole courses at each venue, each with a different theme. Again you can drink as you golf, should you wish.
Our trip to Birmingham’s Ghetto Golf was a great one. We had very little idea of what to expect and from the moment we walked in it was sensory overload.
|Spot the door!|
Set in a converted warehouse in the Digbeth area of the city the space immediately makes for a cool setting. You book a time slot and on arrival ‘check in’. By checking in you are given a buzzer so they can call you when your game time starts. Conveniently they give you enough time to choose one of their delicious cocktails (or soft drink in my case) before you start.
The start is a basketball court complete with bins, trash and graffiti – the ‘grunge’ design sets the tone for the whole course. However the rough and ready design has clearly been thought about. From incorporating objects into the course to picking items that remind of other times and places this course has it all.
After the basketball court you head through a bus. That’s right an actual bus, with bus seats and stained carpet. From there the course takes you via excessively large dildos, an old Blockbuster, The Crown Pub (a local landmark in the city), a skateboard ramp, a pot growing shed and a whole host of other creatively designed holes.
Split over two levels and with well spaced starting times the space allows you to focus on having fun with the group you are with. We went at 7pm on a Thursday and while it was busy it didn’t feel crammed and the only delay to our game was when half the group in front of us needed a toilet break.
After the brief pause the game continued. You continue through an old style flat and complete a hole by getting it in the toilet dish, sadly you also have to get it out again!
And you finish in a neon themed part of the building. The holes are all impressively designed and vary in difficulty, but one thing to watch out for is the hole with a twist at the end – that’s right your hard earned lead, in my case, can be lost by the evil board when your ball lands in the +5 danger part. Sad times!
Before that though you have to navigate a combination of skittles and the dreaded gutter well known to anyone whose ever been bowling. Just like in a bowling alley the gutter here is bad news, unlike bowling though you get the ball back to try again…..and again…..and again.
The average time to complete the course is 1 hour and if you are a group of more than 10 you need to split the group and book consecutive slots. And you have to pay in advance – and there is a cancellation charge. It is also essential to book in advance, like further in advance than you think.
We highly recommend paying Ghetto Golf a visit. The experience is unique and we plan to head back to see any bits we missed (and maybe win this time). It’s way more entertaining than sitting in a pub and the element of competition makes for a fun night, even if you have never played mini golf before.