If there's one thing Londoners go crrrazy for, it's crazy golf. At least that's what the sheer number of courses popping up all over the capital would lead us to believe. With all the crazy golf London has to offer, punters can now get a hole-in-one (or five, or eight…) at mini golf courses on a rooftop, in a pool hall and in a former war bunker. But which is the best? Luckily for you, keen putter, we've caddied all the finest spots together for your perusal. Check them out below and then tee up for more great London events this summer.
Crazy golf: London courses and pop-ups
Nominally themed to Herman Melville’s 1851 literary opus, ‘Moby Dick’ – albeit with more geezers yelling ‘Oi Oi!’ – this 18-hole course in Dagenham is supposedly inspired by whale bones that sat at the toll-booth on nearby Whalebone Lane for most of the eighteenth century. There’s a 60-metre lagoon dyed the colour of blue Toilet Duck, an eight-metre waterfall and a hole that involves putting through the 9ft mouth of a replica sperm whale. It’s a lot of fun. And definitely inspired by the area: it’s totally Barking.
Where is it? Cranfield Golf Centre, Romford
How much for a round? 'Captains' aged 12+ for £9
If Michael Crichton had written about DNA cloning’s miraculous potential to create putting hazards, this is what 'Jurassic Park' would’ve been like. Right down to the theme tune they blare from the speakers every 20 minutes or so. The holes mightn’t be the most challenging, but the course’s fringing is awesome: velociraptors loom from lakes of blood and giant diplodoci stand stark against the skyline as animatronic dinos bark at golfers.
Where is it? World of Golf, New Malden
How much for a round? £9–£10. Second go is half-price
Expect high-pitched company at this 18-hole Croydon course – it’s so child-friendly that club hire takes place at a gift shop full of plastic swords, axes and daggers-slash-bubble wands. Pathways are stamped with luminous green dragon footprints, one hole’s set in a massive castle turret, there’s a dragon’s tail jutting from the top of a replica waterfall and there’s a giant trebuchet in the midst of the course (obvs). Be warned: one hole involves you sinking a ball while a speaker pipes a deafening squeal of serpent rage into your ear. Even St George would struggle with that one.
Where is it? World of Golf Croydon, 175 Long Lane
How much for a round? 'Dragons' aged 12+ for £8
This quirky, tiki-themed course first took over part of the Turkish pool hall cum late-night bar/club that is Efes back in April 2015 (and has since been joined by two others across the city). But in recent weeks this nine-hole course has had a UV refit featuring glowing volcanos with neon orange magma, spinning disco lights and a euro-house soundtrack that creates an effect possibly best described as: ‘Nu Rave Polynesian Luau.’ There are some nice holes that fire your ball onto tricksy little mechanisms, a loop the loop and a lot of impossibly steep ramps. Plenty fun.
Where is it? Efes Bar, 17B Stoke Newington Road
How much for a round? £7.50 per person
It’s the return of the whack! The once pop-up, putting-course-cum-bar, street-food emporium that kick-started the crazy golf trend has been reincarnated as the capital’s only permanent venue dedicated to dancefloor-free clubbing (in a former war bunker, no less). There are two nine-hole courses, food stalls from Le Bab, Patty & Bun and Pizza Pilgrims. The courses are less madcap than most of the city’s offerings, tending towards a slicker night-out experience, but nonetheless, there’s still a loop-the-loop. And an automatically rotating lighthouse. And a windmill with spinning blades. And a tree that’s filled with lights that flash when you putt into the final hole.
Where is it? 8 Brown’s Buildings (between St Mary Axe and Bury Street)
How much for a round? £9-13 per person per nine-hole round
The vibe of this slightly faded 36-hole attraction? ‘Everything but the kitchen sink’. The two separate 18-hole courses feature a wrecked aircraft, inexplicable dinosaurs and a menagerie of plastic animals, all dominated by a gorilla whose jutting bottom lip suggests he’s just remembered that he left the gas on. It's odd, kinda charming and also pretty damned tricky: expect to find yourself chipping balls onto a small shelf, squeezing through a tiny hole in a cement pillar and other challenges that are a total pain in the putt.
Where is it? World of Golf Sidcup, A20, Sidcup Bypass
How much for a round? 'Adult Explorers' for £8
There’s no real theme to this Battersea Park-based course, unless you count “AstroTurf”, “rockery” or “crap, I lost my ball in that water feature!” Nonetheless it’s so popular that even on a midweek daytime, people were waiting for torrential rain to finish so they could hit the course (although possibly this is due to the trendy bar cum cafe cum wood-fired pizzeria it’s attached to. Expect mini bridges, weird divots and rogue streamlets to avoid on a course that’s fairly no-frills, but still plenty fun. They also have very similar courses in Wandsworth and Acton.
Where is it? Battersea Park, Albert Bridge Road
How much for a round? £9-£8 adults, £7-£6 kids