Miniature golf is what you make it

Game offers fun in the outdoors — or indoors

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Whether it’s quality time with the family, date night or visiting with friends, miniature golf is flexible enough to fit any framework.

Players described how miniature golf can be as casual or as competitive as they want. They can play it outside or inside, depending on the course. Miniature golf is affordable and low-stress, while also serving as a good test of control and problem-solving, they explained.

“The short game matters,” said Corey Whitlock, assistant manager at Adventure Golf & Raceway in Westminster. “It seems simple, but each hole is a different challenge. ... There’s nothing better than getting a hole in one.”

Plus, it only takes about 45 minutes to an hour to play a course, which is the perfect amount of time for young children, as it’s not too long or too short, said Centennial resident Liz Kirkpatrick.

Kirkpatrick and her three children were visiting Colorado Journey Miniature Golf at Cornerstone Park in Englewood, which they visit it multiple times a year. They appreciate its creative designs, with 9-year-old Jameson saying that he likes how most of the holes are easy.

Keagan Patrick, who works at Spooky Mini Golf inside Colorado Mills mall in Lakewood, said he grew up playing with his family, and now plays rounds with friends.

Like Whitlock, he appreciates how the basic concept is simple, but the holes are ultimately trickier than they look.

Sometimes, the course is literally filled with surprises.

Littleton residents James and Melesse Sanders, 12 and 14, described how they enjoyed the fire effects and water effects while playing at Adventure Golf for the first time with their grandma.

It was a good mix of exciting and relaxing, said the children and their grandmother, Connie “Nana” Porter of Littleton.

Most importantly, though, it’s a good way to spend time together as a family, Littleton resident Jessica Berg said while playing with her loved ones at Colorado Journey.

Playing the course

Local miniature golf courses also have creative themes and obstacles, golfers said, whether they’re based in history, horror, fantasy or adventure.

Berg commented how she appreciates the Colorado history theme at Colorado Journey.

The two 18-hole courses feature Colorado landmarks at each hole, such as a standing structure of the Cripple Creek Mine that golfers can hit their balls through to potentially get a hole in one.

Spooky Mini Golf, which is across the street from the movie theater at Colorado Mills, has a very different vibe.

The indoor course features glow-in-the-dark golf balls and a variety of scary decorations and animatronics, which Patrick said might be a little much for very young children.

However, brave golfers will enjoy putting around ghosts, ghouls, dragons, giant spiders and other frights.

“We have had a lot of people come in just to get pictures with it,” Patrick said of the decorations.

He said Spooky Mini Golf’s ownership is opening a second location in FlatIron Crossing mall in Broomfield, which will be much larger and be galaxy-themed.

Along with go-karts and a maze, Adventure Golf has three 18-hole courses — Lost Continent, Buccaneer Bay and Adventure Cove.

According to Whitlock, Lost Continent is the fan favorite, thanks in part to its island-themed fire and water effects. Meanwhile, Buccaneer Bay is probably the most challenging course of the three, he said, with a pirate theme to the décor and obstacles. Then, Adventure Cove is storybook-themed and has something for all ages, he said.

Plus, there are about five other courses in Denver and the surrounding area that have unique themes and obstacles to explore as well, such as the pendulums and windmill at Putter’s Pride near Lakewood and Centennial’s scary Monster Mini Golf.

Adjusting to the obstacles

Last summer, when Colorado’s initial COVID-19 restrictions were rolling back, miniature golf was among the few night-out activities that were open. Considering that many courses are outdoors and groups could social-distance between holes, many took advantage.

Jeremy Kopischke, special facilities coordinator for South Suburban Parks and Recreation, which operates Colorado Journey, said the miniature golf course experienced an increase in non-resident use last year.

Whitlock said Adventure Golf had a different dynamic last year, simply because of the capacity restrictions. However, it also saw the range of customers it could have and now is starting to see with the capacity restrictions lifted.

“People drove 30 or 40 minutes to get out of the house and play as a family,” Whitlock said of last summer.

Now, Colorado Journey has been busier than ever this summer, with a steady stream of guests and bookings for large groups and birthday parties, Kopischke said.

Whitlock said he and his colleagues at Adventure Golf are likewise thankful to be getting back to the norm, adding that it was very rewarding to see that the demand for miniature golf would always be there.

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