It's summer and that means day trips, swimming, water parks, random adventures with the small people, and yes, putt-putt. Apparently New Jersey is the land of windmills and teeny-weeny pencils, because our fair state has at least 53, that’s right, fifty-three courses. We're highlighting nearly half of these courses, so get out that little pencil, and make your way around the state. See websites for prices and hours.
First, we recently discovered (almost by accident) that New Jersey is home to the United States Golf Association Museum. Located in Far Hills, NJ, the USGA Museum boasts 15,000-square-feet of golf’s greatest moments and memorabilia. The Hall of Champions is a must see exhibit and they have a collection of over 2,000 golf artifacts. This place is definitely on our next “rainy adventures list.” If we can’t play mini-golf, at least we can learn more about the wonderful world of golf. The museum hours are Tuesday to Sunday 10am to 5pm.
The Clubhouse Golf Center – Randolph
Located right on Route 10, The Clubhouse has recently renovated their 18 hole mini-golf course. They also have 55 stall range/training center and offer programs for junior golfers. Check their website for details. 973-584-1504
Dynamite Falls Adventure Golf – Fairfield
Miniature golf at Dynamite Falls is packed with 18 holes of great fun. With a Western theme, you can putt into an ore car or hit your ball over fountain explosions. Yee haw! Call 973-808-0300 for more info.
Putt around the animals at Essex County Mini Golf Safari. Photo courtesy of The Putting Penguin.
Essex County Mini Golf Safari – West Orange
Located on the corner of Cherry Lane and Northfield Avenue in West Orange, the Essex County Mini Golf Safari is an award winning 19 hole course. Experience a taste of Africa as you putt around a life size gorilla, hippo and many other African creatures. The course is conveniently located right next to the Turtle Back Zoo. Visit the website for hours and directions or call 973-731-5800.
Farmview Golf Center – Hackettstown
Farmview is our local go-to mini-golf and driving range. You really can see beautiful Warren County farms from the mini-golf course. It is very clean and well maintained. It never gets too busy and the friendly owners even know our ball color preferences. The driving range is also great for beginning golfers and little learners. The best part is the prized plastic trophies the winner can take home- I am definitely not the champion as evidenced by the collection on our kitchen window sill. For more information call 908-852-8322. Open 7 days a week.
The Golf Zone – Flanders
Make a day of it at the Golf Zone. Besides a driving range and 36 of the best landscaped mini-golf holes in Morris County, they also offer paintball and batting cages. Their driving range has 65 stalls, 20 of which are heated. Plus, it is ½ mile from our favorite weekend lunch spot, The After. The After is a retro, kid friendly char-broil grill and ice cream favorite of many local families. Check the Golf Zone’s website for pricing on their driving range, junior summer golf camps, and other activities. 973-252-1266
Mount Freedom Golf – Randolph
Mount Freedom Golf is another great golf zone for beginners, with safari themed mini-golf and two waterfalls. Every Friday night they offer Laser Mini-Golf (weather permitting.) Besides miniature golf, a par 3 course, and a driving range, Mt. Freedom also offers a 9-hole Frisbee Disc Golf course. Check their website for information about summer camps and lessons. While you are there, stop by Antimo's Pizzeria and Restaurant on site for lunch. 973-895-9898
Paramus Mini Golf – Paramus
Paramus Mini golf is a golfing and social studies course in one. Its holes are New Jersey-themed with such holes as “Statue of Liberty”, “Parkway” and “Boardwalk.” Birthday parties are also available. Call 201-447-6079 for more information.
The Funplex course has some shady areas.
The Funplex – Mount Laurel
The Funplex has two courses, the family-friendly Adventure Cave and the more challenging Lost Lagoon, and their big selling point: SHADE. Both courses are covered in a lush shaded landscape so you can golf and not bake in the sun. Also, if you make it up the ramp on the final hole, you win a FREE game. Nice. For operating hours and current pricing, call 856-273-9061.
Tara Greens Golf Center – Somerset
Tara Greens is the perfect place for beginner golfers and families on a budget. Located on over 100 acres in Somerset County, Tara Greens offers a 9-Hole Regulation course, a 9-Hole Pitch and Putt, Mini Golf, and a driving range. Mini Golf is open until 9pm daily and you can play under the lights. For driving range and course prices see their website for more information. 732-247-8284
Tee-rrific Golf Center – Branchburg
The Tee-rrific Golf Center offers two great miniature golf courses. The blue course offers more of a challenge with twists and turns as well as multi levels. The red course is shorter, with more water features and more straight forward holes, making it perfect for small children. Whichever course you choose, you are sure to have a blast! The property also offers a driving range and a pro shop. For hours and directions visit the website or call 908-253-9300.
Asbury Eighteen Mini-Golf – Asbury Park
Play a round of mini-golf at one of the best courses the Jersey Shore has to offer. Relax and take in a round or two while you enjoy the sights and sounds of the acclaimed AP boardwalk and beach. When you're done playing, cool off in the adorable, safe Splash Park. Call 732-897-6538 for more information.
Blackbeard's Cave – Bayville
For an entire day of fun, check out Blackbeard's Cave in Bayville. This family entertainment center is packed with fun activities, from bumper boats and batting cages to kiddie rides and go karts. The 20 hole par 59 Miniature Golf Course is both fun and challenging. Visit the website for operating hours or call 732-286-4414.
Cape May Miniature Golf – Cape May
The only thing better than mini-golf is mini-golf plus ice cream. After playing through fun water hazards, real sand traps, and an 18 foot-tall waterfall cave, head over to Cocomoe’s for their famous tropically-themed ice cream oasis. Call 609-884-2222 for more info and current prices.
Congo Falls – Ocean City
Feel like golfing with a humongous King Kong staring down at you? Then Congo Falls is the place for you. With three courses, Congo Queen, Solomon’s Mine and the Lost City (indoors for rainy days), it’s Disney World meets mini-golf. Call 609-398-1211 for info and current prices.
Duffers – Wildwood
Kids will go crazy for this adorable 18-hole course, complete with sharks and shipwrecks. The best part about this course is that it is attached to a family owned restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Enjoy a meal and then head out for a round of golf. Before leaving, don't miss your chance to indulge in some ice cream. Best known for dessert, Duffers menu includes huge sundaes, banana splits, ice cream sodas and creamy milkshakes. For more information, call 609-729-1817.
Farmer Brown's Golf Center – Farmingdale
Since first opening in 1991, people have been coming in herds to Farmer Brown's great miniature golf course. The 19-hole course is characterized by its water hazards and sand traps. The beautiful landscaping makes this mini-golf course look like the real thing. If you get a hole-in-one on their special 19th hole, you win a free game. For hours of operation, call 732-938-6110.
Golf Land – Voorhees
Golf Land is the perfect place to take small children for a fun round of miniature golf. Beautiful trees provide lots of shade at this fun, not too challenging, course. For more information, call 856-783-8700
Hole in One Miniature Golf and Pizza – Leonardo
Family owned and operated since 2001, Hole in One prides itself on its friendly employees, a "green" and clean course (the course uses solar panels), and delicious food and drinks. The 18-hole course, featuring waterfalls and streams, is challenging enough for adults while still being very playable for children. Check the website or call 732-872-0011 for hours.
Enjoy a round of golf, matey, at Pirate Island in Ocean City.
Pirate Island Adventure Golf – Ocean City, Sea Isle City, Avalon
Spending time at the Jersey Shore this summer? Then check out one of the three Pirate Island Miniature Golf locations named “Best of the Shore” by Atlantic City Magazine. With hanging rope bridges and waterfalls, animated pirates and a nearly life-size wooden ship, Pirate Island is designed to please the whole family from toddler to Grandma. Call 609-398-9938 for more information and current prices.
Pleasant Valley Mini Golf – Voorhees
“The place for family fun” has been around since 1972 for a reason. A good, old-fashioned mini-golf course with good, old-fashioned prices. Call 856-767-2167 for more info.
Swing Time – Howell
About an hour from NYC, Swing Time is a family fun center with all kinds of activities but they take their greatest pride in their two mini-golf courses, ranked #1 on the Jersey Shore by Night and Day magazine. There is a huge waterfall in the center of one of the courses where you can climb to the top and view all 36 holes.For more information call 732-845-0093.
Quail Ridge Golf World – Wall
This 18 hole miniature golf course at Quail Ridge Golf World is one of the most affordable courses in New Jersey. The course is lighted for evening play from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Call 732-681-0918 for specific closing times.
Twin Brook Golf Center – Tinton Falls
Twin Brook is a full-fledged golf center with putting green and driving range, but their big attraction is the 18-hole championship miniature golf course, complete with caverns and waterfalls. For more info, call 732-922-1600.
Kids with a dark side will delight in Monster Mini Golf. Photo courtesy of The Putting Penguin.
Monster Mini Golf – Fairfield, Eatontown, Paramus, Edison
And now for something completely different… how about 18 holes of indoor, glow-in-the-dark, monster-themed golf? Each location is custom-designed and also includes an in-house DJ and game arcade room. Visit the website for individual location information.
Top image: Duffers. All photos by the respective venues unless otherwise noted.
This article first published in 2012 but has since been updated.