What’s fore tee? You don’t have to be crazy about golf to enjoy these cute courses, writes Catriona Thomson
It’s a shame, having grown up near Carnoustie, one of Scotland’s best courses, that I detest anything to do with golf. Perhaps it was Payne Stewart’s plus fours, Colin Montgomerie’s slacks or Ian Woosnam’s jumpers that put me off, but I’ve never had fun on the fairway.
So I’m dreading an outing to Adventure Golf Island, a “Florida-style” golf attraction at Fife Leisure Park, Dunfermline. Ok, it’s not “proper” golf, but “crazy” is as close as I’m willing to let myself go. My girls’ school finishes early every Friday, however, as six-year-old Hope, my younger daughter, has somewhere more interesting to be, this outing provides an ideal oppor-
tunity for a bit of mother/daughter bonding with Eve, nine.
We arrive and choose our coloured golf balls and clubs and tee off on the Treasure Island course. This features a life-sized Captain Jack Sparrow, a rope bridge, pirate galleon, plus mini-rivers and a fountain to negotiate.
When golf natural Eve nails a hole in one from the first tee, I try hard not to feel insecure. Instead I’m trying desperately to keep all competitive tendencies under control and focus on golf’s underlying principles of honesty, integrity and courtesy: “Play the ball as it lies, play the course as you find it, and if you cannot do either, do what is fair.”
However, all that goes out the window when the comedy totem poles start speaking to us, prior to squirting water jets and breaking into transatlantic song. It does, though, reduce us both to laughter and before too long there is a complete breakdown of Royal & Ancient rules, with creative accounting of score sheets. Hole number 17 was our favourite. If you manage to chip your ball into the stream your odds of achieving another hole in one are much improved. Inspired.
We had so much fun that despite the fact that it was freezing, we had to try the other course straight away. On the Pirates’ Cove course we witnessed the dynamics of another family – a thwarted dad shrieking, “Oh you’ve got to be kidding,” while holding his club above his head and dancing around like Rumpelstiltskin when he missed his shot. Children do love to beat the grown-ups.
The perfect end to our round came when Eve chipped her ball into the 18th hole. Seemingly only around one in 40 golfers achieves this feat, and you are immediately rewarded for your skill with a cacophany of sirens and alarm bells, as well as a voucher for a free round.
I’m pretty sure we will be back, so maybe golf’s our bag after all.
• Adventure Golf Island, Fife Leisure Park Dunfermline, 01383 737152, www.adventure-golf-island.com Play either the Treasure Island or Pirates’ Cove courses. A round is £6 for adults, £5 for children 14 and under and £3.50 for children four and under. A family ticket (2 adults and 2 children) costs £20. Play both courses for an extra £4 per adult, £3 per child or £12 per family.