If your idea of golf involves windmills and candy-colored balls, you’ll love the creative miniature golf courses popping up around the West. More Rube Goldberg than Lee Trevino, the latest iterations of the retro pastime feature clever, fantastically designed holes such as gargantuan guitars from rock icons Kiss and a boxing match between San Francisco’s tallest skyscrapers. Plus, today’s courses bring country club perks to the greens with craft beers and food truck-style fare to be enjoyed as you putt. With less golf claps and more spirited fun, these hip links will get you rolling.
You’ll feel like Godzilla putting your way through San Francisco at the new Subpar Miniature Golf in Ghirardelli Square where city landmarks comprise an 18-hole course housed within the 1864 Woolen Mill Building, a manufacturing site for Union soldier uniforms during the Civil War. Scoot your golf ball down twisty Lombard Street, try to avoid getting stuck in Bay Bridge traffic, and enjoy an Alcatraz hole with views of the real thing outside the historic building’s windows. An outdoor patio features those same dazzling waterfront vistas plus lawn games and a picnic area for post-game eats and drinks.
At the recently opened Stagecoach Greens in San Francisco’s Mission Bay, you’ll sip spiked Arnold Palmers while navigating a 18-hole outdoor course with immersive, set design-worthy holes. The front nine take players back to the Old West where they can step inside a rollicking saloon and putt through a pioneer graveyard. The remaining holes reflect modern day San Francisco in a Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots-style duke out between the Transamerica Building and newly built Salesforce Tower. And true to techy city life, you can reserve your tee time via a Stagecoach Greens app. The course is just one feature of Parklab Gardens, a new four-acre, open-air space that welcomes the public with food trucks, games, and a cabana-lined beer garden.