Where to play minigolf
Wed Jun 1 2011
Don your best plaid shorts and perfect your putting at these NYC courses.
Brooklyn Golf Center
Head way down Flatbush Avenue to this driving range and club shop, which opened a fun, no-frills 18-hole minicourse last summer. (There aren't any insane chip shots la Happy Gilmore, if that's what you're craving.) If you're unsatisfied with your play, feel free to go for another round at a discounted rate ($4). And if you're ready to fine-tune your short game even more, consider trekking out to the affiliated Riis Park Pitch & Putt (Beach 169th St at Rockaway Point Blvd, Rockaway, Queens; 718-474-1623, brooklyngolfcenter.com; daily 7am--8pm; Mon--Fri $13; Sat, Sun and holidays $16; rentals $2 per club), which pairs its links with some sweet ocean views. 3200 Flatbush Ave at Shore Pkwy, Marine Park, Brooklyn (718-253-6816, brooklyngolfcenter.com). Fri 3--11pm; Sat, Sun 10am--11pm. $8, children under 12 $5.
After taking a free ferry to Governors Island, grab a club to play 14 holes of (also free!) minigolf courtesy of the folks behind the participatory-art initiative Figment. For each hole, artists have created an insect-themed (and often metaphor-heavy) putting obstacle. Try careening your ball through hole No. 11, a rendering of an ant-covered Manhattan, or into a giant flyswatter on hole No. 5. Governors Island (figmentproject.org/minigolf). Fri 10am--4pm; Sat, Sun 10am--6pm. Through Sept 25. Free.
Flushing Meadows Golf Center
Looking for a little "night putting," to quote Chevy Chase's character in Caddyshack? This Queens locale lights up its course each evening and allows the last group of night owls to tee up at 11pm. During the day—and especially on weekends—it's packed with kiddies who try to keep their balls out of the streams and waterfalls that line many holes. Northwest corner of Flushing Meadows--Corona Park at Perimeter and New York Ave, Flushing, Queens (718-271-8182, golfnyc.com). Daily 8am--1am; $8, seniors over 62 and children under 12 $6.50.
Mini Golf on Pier 25
Near the foot of Hudson River Park, the long-under-construction Pier 25 unveiled its new amenities last year, including this fine 13,000-square-foot course. Youngsters should get a kick out of putting among the waterfalls and footbridges, while you'll likely enjoy the Hudson River view. Pier 25, Hudson River at North Moore Sts (hudsonriverpark.org). Mon--Fri 3--10pm; Sat, Sun 10am--8pm. $5, children under 14 $4.
Randall's Island Golf Center of New York
Surrounded by beautiful trees, this spot in Randalls Island Park boasts a whopping 36 holes' worth of minigolf play, in which you must shoot your ball through rocky caves and other obstacles. After your 18-hole round, consider checking out one of the other courses for $4 (kids $3)—or taking over a table in the beer garden to sip a pint of Blue Moon ($5) or split a pitcher of Stella ($17). 1 Randalls Island (212-427-5689, randallsislandgolfcenter.com). Mon 10am--10pm, Tue--Sun 7am--10pm; $7, children under 12 $5 (for 18 holes).
Rocket Park Mini Golf
Take those curious young'uns (or your super-nerdy grown-up friends) to the New York Hall of Science in Queens. Its course offers nine educational holes that follow a NASA spacecraft's flight. You'll start with the Launch Window, where your ball passes rotating planets, and end with the Splash Down, landing your ball safely on Earth. 47-01 111th St at 47th Ave, Flushing Meadows--Corona Park, Queens (718-699-0005, nysci.org). Mon--Thu 9:30am--2pm; Fri 9:30am--5pm; Sat, Sun 10am--6pm. $6, seniors and children $5; museum admission required ($11; seniors, students and children $8).
Staten Island GoKarts
Remember those go-kart parks out in the boonies that you'd go to in junior high? The ones where you'd get in trouble for bashing your friends' vehicles on the track or smoking cigs near the batting cages? This Staten Island establishment, which claims to be the only go-kart spot in NYC, feels just like that. Play a round of putt-putt among the bridges, shrubs, pools and sand traps—then give cruising (single cart $6, double cart $9) a whirl. 215 Schmidts Ln between La Guardia Ave and Manor Rd, Staten Island (718-982-5576, sigokarts.com). Mon--Fri noon--11pm, Sat 11am--midnight, Sun 11am--10pm; $6.