Glowing monkeys scamper toward a neon waterfall, and a knight bearing a radiant yellow lance rides past a bright orange octopus emerging from the ocean. What appears to be a time-traveling session gone awry is really the evolving environment within Putting Edge’s indoor black-lit mini-golf course, which whisks players to deep seas, Aztec jungles, and medieval times. Since opening its original location in Canada, Putting Edge has now expanded to 16 North American locations, all of which invite guests onto its challenging 18-hole courses to seek victory over opponents and the forces that keep their teeth from not glowing as brightly as they could. Elsewhere, the facility houses private party rooms, concessions, and an arcade filled with gamer favorites such as air hockey.
Mulligan Family Fun Center's three locations surround parents and kids with sprawling smorgasbords of kinetic entertainment. Outside, each park's sunny grounds encourage healthy activity with putt-testing miniature-golf courses and the hairpin turns of go-kart tracks. In the batting cages, aspiring sluggers test their swing while recognized major-league sluggers test their disguise against the park's do-not-admit posters. Back inside, climbers scale the rock wall?s vertical challenges and friends battle friends in laser tag?s intense light-based combat.
Each location also has its own signature activities. The Torrance location's rookie go-karts, for example, enable younger drivers to take a turn down the track, whereas the Palmdale location boasts a longer, 1,500-foot track for children and adults alike.
The sight of a medieval castle surrounded by tall cacti may seem anachronistic at first, but it's hard to question the image when one is trying to putt a mini golf ball into a grassy hole off the circulating paddles of a windmill. It's whimsical moments like this that make Golf N? Stuff's name feel understated. Beyond the two lush 18-hole mini golf courses that draw year-round visitors, the entertainment center boasts go-karts, bumper boats, and more than 100 arcade games. Batting cages let both kids and adults perfect their swings. Visitors can refuel on hot dogs, Dippin' Dots ice cream, and soda at the snack bar.
Whether navigating Pebble Beach’s oceanside links or exploring the birthplace of golf at St. Andrews in Scotland, golfers know that a little rain can turn a trip of a lifetime into a water-logged disappointment. Players Club Golf removes sogginess from the equation; the center’s three full-screen golf simulators unlock instant access to more than 60 global courses without the hassles of commuting, fickle weather, and long round times. The facility smoothes the oft-difficult road toward better scores with practice configurations that allow players to immediately see a wealth of shot parameters on each swing, including launch angle, ball speed, and carry. The virtual driving range facilitates improvement through repetition and target practice, which also helps when trying to ring the doorbell of a neighbor across the street without getting off the couch.
When improvement reaches a plateau, players can enlist the expert instruction of teaching professional Brent Mann. Members also enjoy access to a facility gym stocked with $40,000 worth of equipment. Here, golfers improve their endurance on elliptical machines and strengthen postround handshake grips on a full complement of weight machines.
John Wells Golf Center's lighted driving range offers 60 spacious, canopy-covered hitting stalls that look out onto a range that stretches 260 yards into the distance. Yardage markers populate the field, letting players gauge the distance of each shot, and synthetic mats provide a smooth hitting surface so guests can leave their Persian rugs at home. The center offers lessons and clinics taught by a staff of five instructors anchored by Don Shauger, who trained two-time National Long Driving Champion John Marshall with methods he learned from Mike Austin, the golf renegade famous for hitting the game's longest drive ever—a 515-yard missile—at the age of 64. On select dates, the center offers free golf clinics for junior and adult beginners who purchase a bucket of range balls. Those looking to upgrade their golf gear or replace a wedge caught fraternizing with enemy irons can check into the discount pro shop, which offers name-brand apparel and equipment at as high as 50% off retail price.