The Metroplex provides many options for those looking for an interesting way to practice their putting — and still include the entire family if you want. Here are some of the best miniature golf courses.
Tucked behind one of the main roads in Burleson, Buffalo Nickels could be one of the nicest courses in the Metroplex. Every green is immaculate with no rips or scuff marks. The course has an organic Southwestern feel with faux rock obstacles and thick, plush-carpet “sand traps.” The course will provide several challenges for any putter. The windmill hole, for example, features a narrow path up a steep hill. Miss the path and the ball will end up on the sides of the windmill, making for a tough second shot. Hole 17 is also memorable with golfers putting through a mineshaft built under a waterfall.
Admission: General admission for Buffalo Nickels — which is also a nickel arcade — is $3. To play mini-golf, add $3 per player. Children under 5 admitted free, and can golf for free.
Hours: 3-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 3-11 p.m. Friday, noon-11 p.m. Saturday and 1-9 p.m. Sunday
Hidden Valley takes miniature golf to another level — literally. Several multilevel holes highlight this course just outside Fort Worth in Lakeside. These holes will reward putters with proper aim and punish all others. The iconic windmill and lighthouse holes are taken to new heights with a red-and-white-striped lighthouse towering over the course and an elaborate stone windmill, unlike the typical rickety versions at most courses. Hidden Valley’s roomy layout and well-kept landscaping allow guests to relax and enjoy a quiet round no matter how many people are playing there.
Admission: $7 adults, $3 children under 4 feet tall
Hours: 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Saturday, noon-10 p.m. Sunday
Ellen’s Amusement Center
Ellen’s has been around since 1988 in Cedar Hill and will take you back to your childhood. A rotating Big Tex on No. 1 gives visitors a taste of the animated holes that make the course second to none. One of the best holes on the course is the No. 11 “Roller Coaster” where the ball goes on a short thrill ride before reaching the hole. One word of warning about Ellen’s: If anyone in the group has a fear of clowns, you may want to steer clear of No. 12. The “Jack O’Lantern” features a mechanical clown’s head creepy enough to haunt your dreams. The course is a little worn, but Ellen’s is more about fun than challenge, so the occasional tattered carpet doesn’t take away anything from the round.
Admission: $6 adults, children 6 and under free, with a paid admission
Hours: 4-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 4-midnight Friday, 10 a.m.-midnight Saturday and noon-9 p.m. Sunday
Sandy Lake Amusement Park
The course at Sandy Lake Amusement Park in Carrollton is the stereotypical nerdy character in most romantic comedies. At first glance, it’s unappealing and you think twice about even approaching. It sits on a large concrete hill, has carpets showing much wear and uneven concrete block bumpers with chipping paint. After a few holes, Sandy Lake — much like the movie character — shows its inner beauty. Its entertaining layout will not disappoint. Many of the holes are more than 35 yards long, weaving up and down the hill and, in some cases, intersecting other holes. Steep elevation changes and blind tee shots add to the charm of this “ugly duckling.”
Admission: $2 general admission, plus $3 for miniature golf (the park also features amusement rides, paddle boats and a swimming pool, all for various additional prices).
Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, Sunday and Memorial Day (Monday); closed on non-holiday Mondays and weekdays until June 3, when hours are 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Putt-Putt Fun Centers
Putt-Putt Fun Centers, with locations in Fort Worth, Arlington and Hurst, are the good ol’ standby when it comes to miniature golf. A sea of orange metal bumpers complement the bright green carpets. Many of the fun centers feature several courses of varying difficulties. Gone are the windmills, loops and water hazards — replaced by tricky elevation changes, angular obstacles and hole placements. While many of the holes seem straight and relatively harmless, a hole placed on the side of an incline will leave many as red as their ball. Putt-Putt can be for anyone: a family out for fun or the competitor who is serious about the game.
Details: This chain has three Tarrant locations, including Fort Worth (7001 Calmont Ave.), Hurst (609 N.E. Loop 820) and Arlington (2004 W. Pleasant Ridge Road). Visit www.puttputt.com for details.
Admission: For Putt-Putt golf, $7.99 adults, $5.99 children 6-12; $2.99 for 5 and under. (Price does not include admission to other attractions such as the arcade, amusement rides, go-karts, etc.)
Hours: 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-midnight Friday, 9 a.m.-midnight Saturday and 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday