Image: Dan Woodger

There's a big difference between golf and mini golf, at least most of the time—one has luscious greens, the other moving windmills. But Seattle's local courses have gotten creative with virtual tees and par-three versions, and our putt-putt golf isn't just for kids. Which means there are many ways to swing a club, indoors and out.

Golf

Interbay Golf Center

Surprisingly scenic for its industrial locale, the par-three, nine-hole course is perhaps overshadowed by the novelty of a heated driving range. A mini-golf course and virtual Toptracer experience round out the property.

West Seattle Golf Course

Fairways at the City of Seattle–owned links open to views of both Rainier and downtown, the cranes of the industrial waterfront poking above the trees. A pandemic program allows for twosomes only on early weekday mornings, speeding up play.  

Jefferson Park Golf Course

Beacon Hill’s 18-hole series is as standard as they come, but the par-three next door serves as a pitch-and-putt style experience as well as a ground for two odd adaptations: Footgolf replaces the usual Titleist with a soccer ball, and Flingolf mixes lacrosse-style tosses with a specialized stick.

Jefferson Park Golf Course.

Greenlake Golf Course

Wedged between Woodland Park and Green Lake, the urban pitch-and-putt course scores major points for affordability—$10 a round ($9 if you BYO ball), clubs $0.50 each to rent.

Mini Golf

High Trek Adventures 

Everett

Above, people dangle off zip lines and a ropes course, and good-natured shouts waft over from ax-throwing and laser tag stations. But here the mini-golf course is 18 holes of serious business—hardly any bends and twists, water hazards, or kitschy windmills to navigate. Nearly every hole is straightforward; the target hole a few yards directly ahead, but each presents an arrangement of thin, Lincoln Log–like obstacles to navigate. The course is a geometry lesson as much as anything else.

Forum Social House

Bellevue

A swift clue that a mini-golf course has been constructed with Instagram in mind more than ball trajectory: It takes a dozen swings to land anywhere useful on the hole shaped like a dart board, or the one with red Solo cups in beer pong formation. That’s not to say that the Bellevue bar–adjacent course fails to entertain—points for the Sonics basketball hoop—but it clearly prioritizes the drinking class over mindful putters or manic children, despite all-ages access before 10pm. The Game of Thrones-y final hole invites players to pose upon the chair made of putters, triumphant or not. 

Forum Social House in Bellevue puts the magic, and a little mayhem, back in golf.

Kent Valley Ice Centre 

Kent 

Here, between an ice center and batting cages, greens are soft and the holes are wide. There are opportunities for holes-in-one, but this course is no cakewalk. If you’re not careful on the very first hole, featuring a sharp right turn off the tee, you could end up in the parking lot. Water obstacles in mini golf? Sure. Hole 15 even features a jump over the creek that flows from the 10-foot waterfall in the center of the course. Ask for an extra ball or two, just in case.

Flatstick Pub

South Lake Union 

There is no better way to enjoy a short nine holes of putt-putt than with a beer in hand and Top 40 blasting in the background. This indoor mini-golf course sports beer kegs adorned with stickers from local breweries like Stoup; they double as obstacles on the green. Concrete shapes—or a bearded wizard with a purple cloak and pipe—can ricochet a rainbow ball from its desired path into a tight corner. Here a pink owl, there a giant Sasquatch. A beer-pong table anchors the center of the front nine. Flatstick has a menu of pizzas, garlic fries, and wings, plus a Duffleboard course—a game the bar chain made up that combines shuffleboard and golf. 

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