Catherine Whyte took her kids along to the newly opened Pirate Island Golf Adventure at Hoebridge Golf Centre
Pirates and golf. It’s an unlikely combination. But then again this is crazy golf we are talking about; specifically Surrey’s newest golf experience for the kids: Pirate Island Adventure Golf at Hoebridge Golf Centre, Woking.
It was a crisp, clear February morning the day we went. The kids (two five year-olds and two seven year-olds) were wildly excited – despite having never been anywhere near a golf course in their lives. What would they make of it all, I wondered. Would our scorecard be filled with bogeys? And would I fall foul of over-clubbing? (The ball, not the kids.)
Initial signs were good. The nice lady at the booking desk was super-friendly and entered into the spirit of things. ‘Now then,’ she said as she rang through our tickets, ‘that’s two pirates, four scallywags and no stowaways,’ (which translates as two adults, four kids aged 4-16, and no under threes).
She gave us some golf clubs (there are different sizes for different heights) and we chose our own coloured golf ball. She sent us on our voyage with a deadpan ‘watch out for the crocodiles’ to the kids, who looked back at her in wide-eyed wonderment. It was at that moment my companion and I wished we had bought an eye patch or two.
On we went to the course, and what a jolly roger riot we had. We found our own (adult) ineptitude utterly hilarious. We were given a scorecard, which we diligently filled out, but things soon descended into farce as the younger members of the party went into double figures on each hole (Hoebridge recommends six as a cut-off). It might say ‘suitable for three and over’ on the website but that’s stretching it a bit in my opinion.
The course has eighteen holes, each with its own challenges. Happily for total amateurs like us, there were maps for every hole, though the kids ignored them for the most part.
There were snakes, cannons, skulls, barrels to negotiate – which varied the course enough to keep the kids entertained over the hour or so it took for us to go round.
Attention spans amongst the younger members of the party did begin to wane somewhat half way through; my daughter found the shallow streams held a particular attraction – especially when she discovered that you could chuck your ball in and then fish it out again.
The course has been designed with fun in mind. For example, there are pulley-operated rafts that link a couple of the holes. A novel and unexpected feature, the kids had great fun pulling themselves across so much so that they had to be ushered along as the next family queued to get on.
The further on we went the more challenging the holes became. On one, we had to chip the ball over the stream to get to the green. Two of the holes are played in and around a large pirate ship, which the kids absolutely loved.
So the verdict? Jolly (roger) good fun and a novel way to spend a couple of hours. I’m sure that Captain Jack would have a ball.
Pirate Island Adventure Golf at Hoebridge Golf Centre
Pirates – £8
Scallywags (4-16) – £5
Stowaway (3 and under) – FREE
Crew of Four (2 adults and 2 children or one adult and three children) – £20
Crew of Five (2 adults and 3 children or one adult and four children) – £24
Suitable for kids over the age of three
No pre-booking required.