Golfing Greens for Kids and FamiliesBy Jessica Myers
Even if your kids (or you) have never picked up a club, you
can tee it up for an evening in outer space or a tropical
safari — at two of Dallas’ mini golf courses, that is. And
for kids, junior golf classes teach more than the secret to
shooting under par. It’s a game of patience, strategy and etiquette that teaches them to be stand-up players both on and off the green. Challenge your kids to a putting duel or sign your PGA prodigy up for lessons and let the good times roll, literally.
JUST FOR FUN
Beat the heat under the shade of tropical palm trees, stone caves and waterfalls at the three safari-themed mini golf courses at Adventure Landing. Giant animal statues beckon for family selfies along the 18-hole adventure. Course 2 usually proves most difficult with bricks and blocks guarding the holes and putting your kid’s putt-putt skills to the test. But if he does sink a hole-in-one with the ball of the hour (winning ball colors rotate throughout the day), he wins a coupon for a free popcorn or ice cream.
Cost: $7.99 ages 6 and older; $5.49 ages 3–5; free for age 2 and younger
When: Monday–Thursday 9am– midnight, Friday–Saturday 9am–1am, Sunday 10am–midnight
Where: 17717 Coit Road, Dallas, 972/639-5781
Step out of the heat and into space at Lunar Mini Golf’s alien themed indoor course. The black lit holes light up with rocket ships and UFOs — just some of the distractions to challenge your child’s concentration. There are also ramps, loop-de loops, bridges and blockades standing guard against holes in-one. Admission includes two rounds on the 18-hole course and usually takes families 1–2 hours.
Cost: $9 adults; $8 ages 6–12; $6 ages 3–5; free for age 2 and younger
When: Monday–Thursday 3–9pm, Friday 3–10pm, Saturday 10am– 10pm, Sunday noon–6pm
Where: Firewheel Town Center, 245 Cedar Sage Drive, Garland, 214/232- 9129
TRAINING FOR LITTLE MASTERS
You don’t have to be a member of Brookhaven Country Club — where Jordan Spieth learned to play — to enroll in the year-round junior program at Brookhaven Golf Academy. Ages 6 and older are matched with other kids in their age and skill level for lessons in putting, chipping, full swing and even bunker play. As players sharpen their skills, they can test into higher levels. Even littles can get in on the fun: The Starting New at Golf (SNAG) program introduces kids 3–5 to the sport through games (like tic-tac-toe on the putting green) during hourlong Saturday sessions. On the new Pinseekers Tour, hosted at the country club, junior golfers age 5 and up put their swing to the test in monthly tournaments designed for new and developing players. Tees start at 50 yards for newbies, and kids collect hat pins every time they beat their personal best score. Parents are invited to caddie.
Cost: Junior Academy from $145 per month for nonmembers plus $150 annual enrollment fee. Weekend SNAG classes: $25 for nonmembers per session. Pinseekers tournaments: $30 per player.
When: Junior Academy practice times vary; weekend SNAG classes Saturday 10:30– 11:30am and 3–4pm; Pinseekers tournaments one Sunday per month (see website for upcoming dates)
Where: 3333 Golfing Green Drive, Farmers Branch, 254/733-1663
If your kid is serious about golf (and old enough to wield a club), sign her up for a lesson and practice package at the brand-new GolfTec facility in Addison and Dallas. Beginners are welcome, but your child will need to bring her own clubs. First, coaches use state-of-the-art video to analyze your child’s swing in slow motion, making it easy for her to follow along with the coach’s pointers. Then you can set up a schedule of hourlong lessons and practice sessions in the indoor, climate controlled hitting bays. Download the app to chat with your child’s coach and view recorded lesson videos, notes and recommended drills.
Cost: $95 swing analysis; lessons from $66.50 per session or $294 for a five-pack
When: By appointment
Where: 5290 Belt Line Road, Suite 122, Addison, 972/239-4700; 5400 E. Mockingbird, Suite 222, Dallas, 469/334- 0500
A LITTLE PLAY + LESSONS
The mini golf course at the Golf Center at The Highlands may not have windmills or pirate ships guarding the holes, but it does have winding greens, inconvenient rocks and subtle breaks to keep the game exciting. If the kiddos are ready to take their swing from the mini golf course to the real course, join the weekly Sunday clinic for kids of all ages and levels (no registration required) or sign up for the year-round Contenders program for ages 5–12. During 1-hour weekly sessions, young players learn hand-eye coordination and practice the fundamentals on the driving range and green. Once players know the basics, they can attend the Junior Academy’s weekly short game clinics for more advanced instruction and even see their swing analyzed on video. Look for details about junior camps in the summer.
Cost: Mini golf: $8 adults; $6 ages 11–14; $3.50 age 10 and younger. Sunday clinic: $20. Contenders program and Junior Academy: $119 per month.
When: Open daily 8am–10pm (hours vary by season); Sunday clinic 2–3pm; junior practice times vary
Where: 2538 Golden Bear Drive, Carrollton, 972/733-4111
Yes, it’s well-known that Topgolf is the place to go for relaxed family entertainment: You sit under the fans and misters of your hitting bay, order food, whack micro-chipped golf balls toward the targets and watch the points pile up on the digital scoreboard — even if you have no golf skills. Or you can take your game to the green on three mini golf courses that pass through caves and cross hilly terrain. (Dallas is the only North Texas location with mini golf, by the way.) But did you know Topgolf also offers lessons? During hour-long group or private lessons, kids improve their swing with the help of high-tech video. A professional instructor records their swing and plays it back in slow motion to show the player where to make adjustments to their arms, knees, hips and posture.
Cost: $5 one-time membership fee per player; bays from $25 per hour. Lessons from $29 for a single session or $125 for a package of five. Mini golf: $9 adults; $6.50 ages 7–12; free for age 6 and younger.
When: Monday–Wednesday 9am–midnight, Thursday 9am–1am, Friday 9am–2am, Saturday 8am– 2am, Sunday 9am–midnight
Where: 8787 Park Lane, Dallas, 214/341-9600
There are no frills or gimmicks — just affordable golf — at the Marsh Lane Golf Center in Carrollton. At the front desk, outfit your lot with clubs for ages 5 and older (free to borrow) and balls starting at $7 a bucket. Then hit the 300-yard driving range or take a swing on the putting and pitching greens. Call ahead to reserve private time with a golf instructor from $60 per hour.
Cost: $7 for 50 balls, $12 for 100, $17 for 150
When: Daily 8am–10pm
Where: 2308 Marsh Lane, Carrollton, 972/418-7545
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