Bay Area mini golf rankings

Short reviews from a two-time (under-12 🙃) mini golf tournament winner 😁

Context:

  • I tend to prefer what Washington Post describes as "resort style" golf courses: courses that "have an emphasis on landscaping and challenging green designs that mimic more serious, full-size ranges"
  • Things that contribute to the experience that aren't strictly golf-experience-related (Urban Putt and Stagecoach Greens have access to drinks; Golfland USA has an arcade) aren't included in the reviews
  • I haven't yet tried Subpar in SF, but I'd like to!

1. Urban Putt (SF)

+

  • Incredibly creative nontraditional hole designsgreat uses of technology
  • Fun aesthetic
  • Minimal jankiness to holes despite the intricacy of construction
  • Indoors, so good winter/rain spot

-

  • A bit short (only 14 holes)
  • Low-ish replayabilitymuch of the draw to the place is experiencing the theming, not the putting
  • Not a very "golf"y feel

2. Golfland USA (Sunnyvale)

Golfland USA has 2 courses -- this review is for the eastern course. The western course is more straightforward and blander-feeling.

+

  • Decent hole variety
  • Skill is rewarded fairly well, though not always
  • Some holes that let you swing pretty hard
  • Concrete walls give a fairly consistent bounce

-

  • Theming is sparse and inconsistent
  • Kinda ugly putting surface
  • Final putts are generally uninterestingthere's not a lot of (intentional) sloping near the hole

3. Stagecoach Greens (SF)

+

  • Consistent San Francisco theme with interesting facts about the city

-

  • Taking the more difficult/interesting path leads to worse score and fun outcomes on almost every hole where a high-risk path is offered
    • The entries to the high-risk path are often finicky, and even once on the path, there's little to no benefit in closeness to the hole vs. avoiding the high-risk path
  • Seemingly always windy and cold (but I guess that's on-theme 🤔?)