I have to admit I’m not much of a golf fan. If I’m honest, it bores me. Cardiff Daddy, however, loves it. Pre-children he would regularly head off on golf all-dayers and stay up all night watching the Masters, but now we have three small children, he doesn’t get much of a chance. I sometimes catch him in the garden giving our two eldest, Little Miss E, 5.5, and Little Man O, 3¾ , lessons in how to swing and putt with their little plastic golf clubs. So when Treetop Adventure Golf in Cardiff invited us along to try out their rainforest-themed indoor adventure golf, I thought it would be a great way to combine his passion for golf with a fun family afternoon out.
We arrive mid-afternoon on a rainy Saturday. Unsurprisingly, the centre, which is situated on the third floor of St David’s 2 shopping centre, is busy. It only opened in April 2015, but it’s already proving popular. Luckily, the queue moves quickly and there’s a lively atmosphere from the rainforest sounds and people already playing.
We’re each given a ball from a choice of bright colours, our own club, with smaller ones for the children, and a score card.
There are two 18-hole courses to choose from, Tropical Trail and Ancient Explorer. We opt for the Tropical Trail, as it looks less busy. My children are off and putting straight away, or in Little Man’s case, pushing the ball around with his club and picking it up and moving it when it doesn’t go where he wants it to. We started off scoring the game, based on how many putts it takes to get the ball into the hole, but we soon abandoned that idea and just focused on having fun and enjoying it.
Some of the holes were harder than others, with sloping floors and obstacles in the way definitely challenging us.
We end up waiting at some points for the people ahead of us to clear the hole so we can take out turn, but the fun and interactive features – such as a 60-foot mystic river, singing frogs, vines, trees and plants, and drop holes where the ball will disappear from site, only to reappear elsewhere – are enough of a distraction for it not to be an issue.
The centre is buggy (and wheelchair) friendly, so Baby Boy I, now 15 months, sits contently in his pushchair for most of our session. It’s not the best place for mobile babies and adventurous toddlers, but there’s plenty going on around him to keep him occupied, including his very own golf club to hold.
One slight downside for us was exiting the golf course when my children needed the loo. Once you’re in the course, you’re in it; there are no pathways out and it wasn’t great having to traipse through the different holes to get to the loos and back.
I’d been a bit nervous about playing in the company of Cardiff Daddy with all his golfing experience. The centre’s manager, Gavin Lewis, told me before we started not to worry. “Often, the proper golfers – and I count myself among them – take it too seriously,” he said. “You need to relax and enjoy it.”
Fair play, I was rubbish to start with – but then, on the 18th hole, I got a hole in one! Even Cardiff Daddy congratulated me on a great shot and gave me a big high five.
My children didn’t notice their mummy’s golfing excellence, though. They had already headed off to the 19th bonus hole – Bob Monkey-House. Here, if you hit the ball into the centre of his mouth, you’ll win a free game. It seemed impossible but apparently between 50 and 100 people every day do manage this feat. We didn’t though, instead being subjected to some of Bob’s cheeky banter.
With prices starting at £7.50 per person for one 18-hole round, £3.50 for 5s and unders, or £25 for a family of 4, this isn’t the cheapest day out. But it is a fun and exciting trip that makes a great wet-weather alternative to 10-pin bowling or the cinema, or a great birthday party idea. Despite not being much of a golf fan, I really enjoyed it. The centre is fully-licensed with a range of cocktails created by the nearby Cosy Club, and snacks and hot and cold drinks also served.
They cater for stag and hen dos, corporate events and school trips, as well as children’s birthday parties. For everyone else, though, there’s no need to book – you can just turn up and tee off. We definitely recommend getting there early before it gets too busy.
Check out the Treetop Adventure Golf website for more information, or call 029 2022 6590.
*Disclaimer – we were given a free family game at Treetop Adventure Golf in exchange for an honest review.
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