10 Craziest Mini Golf Courses on Earth

Posted by ChrisInghamBrooke on Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

Rescue Falls
Image: Mayday Golf

Mini golfers have been negotiating obstacles around dinosaurs, pirates and glow-in-the-dark skeletons since golf’s favorite little son was created in Scotland in 1867. Here we explore some of most captivating courses this planet has to offer. Our criteria range from originality of ideas to the quality of artwork and set designs. Special consideration was given to mechanical obstacles and courses with true natural beauty. Golf, in its condensed form, is one of our favorite pastimes, and this list brings together some of the most awe-inspiring places where you can play the game.

10. Around The World In 18 Holes, Lake George, NY

Around the World in 18 holes
Image: Matt O’Hara

Players can travel the world without having to board a plane at Around The World Golf’s two themed courses in Lake George. Around The World and Around The USA feature holes designed to represent countries throughout the world and some states in America. The 40-year-old course includes European and Oriental themed holes, giving golfers something of a cultural and educational experience. Highlights include a giant Native American statue and a colossal axe-wielding lumberjack. The creators of this globe-trotting course will be proud to take their place in the top ten for a fun, novel idea, allowing mini golfers to travel the world without having to break the bank.

9. Dino Park, Thailand

Dino Park, Thailand
Image: Sergey

Dino Park in Phucket, Thailand is a Jurassic experience with breathtaking scale replicas of prehistoric creatures. Putting takes place in a lava cave next to a primeval swamp, right next to a moving, roaring T. Rex.

Dino Park, Thailand
Image: Roberto Verzo

The course is covered in jungle flora and includes a 40-foot waterfall, Flintstones-style caddy car and an erupting volcano. This unique 18-hole course was conceived in 2007, and takes mini golfers to a land before time with special lighting and sound effects. It is one of the few courses outside the USA worthy of the top ten.

8. Lexington Ice Center, Kentucky

Lexington Ice Center
Image: Lexington Ice Center

The Lexington Ice Center has a mini-golf course God himself would be proud of. This landscaped Garden of Eden in Kentucky is home to three 18-hole biblically themed courses.

Lexington Ice Center
Image: Lexington Ice Center

Players can choose between the Old Testament, New Testament or the ominously named Miracles course. Each hole represents a verse in the bible. Highlights include Jonah and the Whale, Mount Sinai and the River of Blood hole.

Lexington Ice Center
Image: Lexington Ice Center

The courses were created in 1988, presumably in six days by a supreme being who had a final day of rest. This unique course is, perhaps unsurprisingly, our only religious entry, and we consider it kooky and memorable enough to make the top ten.

7. Pirate Island Golf, New Jersey

Pirate Island Golf
Image: Pirate Island Golf

Pirate Island Golf
Image: Pirate Island Golf

Pirate Island Golf’s adventure courses are found at three locations on the Jersey shore. The courses hold a string of awards and include a spectacular replica wooden pirate ship, waterfalls and animated pirates. Its swashbuckling credentials are enhanced by neatly designed suspension bridges and large caves.

Pirate Island Golf
Image: Pirate Island Golf

Pirate Island Golf
Image: Pirate Island Golf

The courses also feature a multitude of crevices, humps and water hazards. Pirate Island Golf was founded by partners Pat Croce and Mark Benevento. Croce also owns other pirate themed entertainment ventures, and established the first Pirate Island course in Avalon, New Jersey in 1994.

6. Glowing Greens, Portland, Oregon

Glowing Greens
Image: Glowing Greens

Glowing Greens, in downtown Portland, offers indoor 3D black light pirate mini-golf including some captivating decor. Its 18-hole island adventure themed course is packed with animated ultraviolet artwork and littered with creepy 3D skeletons, abandoned wrecks and underwater creatures.

Glowing Greens
Image: Glowing Greens

You may feel a little overwhelmed at first, but you can’t help but be awed by the surreal and imaginative design, an experience that can be enhanced should you choose to purchase the optional 3D glasses.

Glowing Greens
Image: Glowing Greens

Though the course is visually stunning, it is reported to have fewer challenging obstacles than its glow-in-the-dark competitors. Nonetheless, its creative and detailed art design earns it a place on our list.

5. Lumberjack Pass Miniature Golf, Lake George, NY

Lumberjack Mini Golf
Image: Lumberjack Pass Miniature Golf

It may lack the elaborate mechanical obstacles of other courses, but the simple natural splendor of Lumberjack Pass in Lake George sets it apart from other courses on our list. This landscaped 18-holer describes itself as the closest thing to being on a full-scale golf course.

Lumberjack Mini Golf
Image: Lumberjack Pass Miniature Golf

It is set against a mountainous Adirondack backdrop amid flowing streams, waterfalls and real sand traps. Hand-carved wooden lumberjacks complement plush green plants and flowers, and water hazards can be found on every hole. At an acre in size, it is one of the bigger mini-golf courses to feature in our top ten.

4. Adventure Golf, New Zealand

Adventure Golf, New Zealand
Image: Pirate’s Island Adventure Golf

Pirates are a popular theme in the mini-golf design world and Adventure Golf in New Zealand is no exception. The Original Adventure Golf Company, established in 1997, runs three pirate themed courses in Christchurch, Auckland and Wellington.

Adventure Golf, New Zealand
Image: The Original Adventure Golf

The sheer scale of some of its design features is a sight to behold, and includes life-sized pirate ships, large cascading waterfalls, walk in caves and beautiful landscaping. It is the second set of courses outside the USA to feature on our list, though credit for its distinct style goes to its designer, who was in fact an American.

3. Par King Skill Golf, Lincolnshire, IL

Par King, Golf Course
Image: Par-King Skill Golf

Affectionately known as the Taj Mahal of miniature golf, Par King in Lincolnshire, Illinois takes up a rightful place in the top five. Two 18-hole courses bring together an array of colorful mechanical obstacles featuring clowns, turtles, armored knights, hand-carved carousel horses and mini versions of Mount Rushmore and the Statue of Liberty. Each original hole is custom made and hand painted.

Par King, Golf Course
Image: Vxla

Course favorites include a 9ft-tall roller coaster hole and a scaled down Sears Tower, where the ball takes a ride up the elevator. One final hole even features a roulette wheel, where players can win a free game. A true original with inspired design work.

2. Putting Edge Fun Centers, across North America

Putting Edge
Image: Marko Kudjerski

Putting Edge centers offer a unique glow-in-the-dark mini-golf experience across 18 holes in 18 locations throughout Canada and the US. Mini-golfers can escape reality, putting against psychedelic black light backdrops with original artwork. The first center opened in 1995 in Brampton, Ontario, Canada, and themes include an Aztec and an Under The Sea hole.

Putting Edge
Image: Marko Kudjerski

This modern concept is enhanced by a plethora of challenging props and obstacles, which are tackled to the tune of high-tempo music. The estimated start-up cost of a Putting Edge Fun Center is said to be approximately $350,000 to $450,000.

1. Mayday Golf, South Carolina

Mayday Golf
Image: Mayday Golf

Scenario golfing at its best. Mayday Golf, built in 1997, features two 18-hole golf courses set on a tropical island. You are traveling on a plane with friends for a golfing vacation when your plane crashes on a tropical island and the only things to survive are the people and the golf equipment. Two partners at founders Roberts Family Partnership of South Carolina hold pilot’s licenses, which inspired the aviation themed courses.

Mayday Golf
Image: Mayday Golf

On the Mayday Mountain course, a Big Yellow Airplane, a Lockheed PV-2 Harpoon to be precise, looms overhead, emitting steam as mini-golfers make their way uphill and through a cave past exotic flora. Rescue Falls, the second course, features a waterfall, flowing river and rescue helicopter. The courses combine adventure, stunning design and natural beauty, which helped it to bag The Travel Channel’s acclaim as the best survival course in mini golf – and our top spot.

Mayday Golf
Image: Mayday Golf

6 Responses to “10 Craziest Mini Golf Courses on Earth”

  1. Greg Hansen says:

    Traveling the world to play miniature golf, that would make for a cool TV show! This was a way cool article!

  2. Juliette says:

    I think these courses are really cool, but the problem is that they are to busy. I would recommend a bigger space.

  3. Liam Payne says:

    Where are the courses in the U.K.? Forget it, I’m too busy touring around the world.

  4. Brian says:

    What’s really unique about Lumberjack Pass is that it’s constructed on a hill. The first 10 holes are downhill and the last 8 are uphill. It’s like two completely different courses.

  5. Luanlac says:

    If these are the craziest mini golf courses “on earth”, then mine will beat them all hands-down. People have no imagination! Where are the curves, slants, slopes, branching loops, rolls, funnels, hills, levels, etc. ??

  6. Check out Space Golf in a Chicago suburb. Indoor black light with 12-foot-tall robots, holograms, a talking human head and all kinds of other special effects. Chewbacca, Darth Vader, E.T. and more characters are in the lobby!

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