Tee Time 

Appears in the June 2022 issue.

There are few activities that a preschooler can enjoy as much as tweens and adults, but minigolf is definitely one of them. “It really is good for all ages,” says Sabrina Hunley, supervisor of River View Miniature Golf Course, an 18-hole course along the Fox River operated by the St. Charles Park District. “We have tiny little putters, so if Mom and Dad want to bring a 2-year-old, they can still have a good time. We also have a lot of grandparents who will bring their grandchild for the day.” On Thursdays through August, a grandparent can golf there for free with each child’s paid admission. 

“Our course is a little bit retro,” Hunley says. There’s the classic windmill obstacle, where players must carefully time their putt between the rotating blades. Last summer, River View also added Spin & Play signs at eight of the holes. “You spin the spinner, and it’ll tell you what wacky task to perform while putting, like ‘Hold the putter with just your left hand’ or ‘Putt standing on one foot,’ ” Hunley says. “It just spruces the course up a little bit and makes the less exciting holes a little more fun.” Miner Mike’s Adventure Golf in Downers Grove has a similar spinner element for added interest. 

Water features and trick holes are also perennial favorites. At Glen Ellyn Park District’s Holes & Knolls, there’s one hole involving hitting the ball into the water. “It flows down a river and comes back out onto the course,” says Christine Hartnett, manager of recreation facilities and athletics. 

Despite how adorable those tiny golf pencils are, some courses have done away with paper scorecards and instead use mobile scoring apps or other technology. At Puttshack, an indoor mini-golf center that opened late last year at Oakbrook Center, your ball actually keeps score for you. “We have a very cool, high-tech computer basically in the golf ball,” says Susan Walmesley, chief marketing officer of Puttshack. “So it allows the ball to track your shots and your scores, so you no longer need a piece of paper and a pencil. And no cheating.” 

Mini-Golf Tour

  • Clocktower Mini Golf
    18 holes (10 holes ADA accessible); $4–$6; S. Naperville Rd. and E. Liberty Dr., Wheaton
  • Coyote Crossing Mini Golf
    18 holes; $4–$6, free for 2 and under; 27W650 North Ave., West Chicago
  • Green Valley Golf Range
    18 holes; $6.50–$7.50; 101 E. Lake St., Hanover Park
  • Holes & Knolls
    Two 18-hole courses (one course ADA accessible); $6–$7, free for 2 and under; 845 Pershing Ave., Glen Ellyn
  • Lost Mountain Adventure Golf
    18 holes; $8.75–$10; 1535 75th St., Woodridge
  • Miner Mike’s Adventure Golf
    18 holes; $6; 6801 Main St., Downers Grove
  • River View Miniature Golf Course
    18 holes (9 holes ADA accessible); $6–$7, free for 2 and under; 8 North Ave., St. Charles
  • Stone Creek Miniature Golf
    18 holes; $6; 101 North St., Geneva
  • Wilderness Falls
    Two 18-hole courses; $8.95–$9.95; 145 S. Clow International Pkwy., Bolingbrook
  • Congo River Adventure Golf 
    Two 18-hole courses; $8.75–$16; 1325 Barrington Rd., Hoffman Estates

For Rainy Days

  • Puttshack
    Four 9-hole indoor courses (two courses ADA accessible); $9–$14; 1828 Oakbrook Center, Oak Brook

Photo courtesy of Glen Ellyn Park District, Illustration icons courtesy of Getty Images