Wacky obstacles, brightly colored golf balls, a little friendly competition ... what's not to love about a round of miniature golf? Last month, we asked Newsday readers to help us find Long Island's top courses. More than 13,000 votes were cast online in support of 19 different courses. We visited the five deemed most popular:
1) Country Fair ( Photos )
Medford, 3351 Rte 112; 631-732-0579; countryfairpark.com Cost: $6.50 Skill level: Moderate
Consider it the "Pleasantville" of miniature golf courses, with its pristine greens, decadent landscaping and oh-so-perfect decorative houses, wooden bridges and waterways. Good thing, because the slopes, valleys and hills that make up each hole (the two 18-hole courses are similar) border on monotonous by the end of the round.
2) Harbor Links ( Photos )
Port Washington, 1 Fairway Dr.; 516-767-4816; harborlinks.com Cost: $8 Skill level: Moderate
Who knew mini-golf could be so chichi? If ever there was a course designed for golfers, Harbor Links is it, with its brick-paved walkways, waterfalls and meticulously groomed (faux) greens. Purists will appreciate putting through the 18-hole course's slopes and valleys on skill alone - there's nary a wooden windmill or other gimmicky obstacle in sight. Collared shirts and tailored shorts encouraged.
3) Island Green
Selden, 495 Middle Country Rd.; 631-732-4442; islandgreengolf.com Cost: $6 Skill level: Easy
Yes, the rainbow-colored greens at this 18-hole course are a bit shabby but it culls favor with its Long Island-themed holes replicated after landmarks ranging from the Stony Brook Grist Mill to the Big Duck. Kids (OK, adults, too) will get a kick out of plunking a token into a golf ball dispenser to pick their favorite color ball and courteously lifting the flags out of the pins when it's time to putt.
4) Drossos Tick Tock
Greenport, Route 25; 631-477-1339; drossosmotel.com Cost: $6 Skill level: Easy
Nostalgia reigns at this classic North Fork course and for good reason - it's been around more than 50 years. Each hole has its own kitschy obstacle - think windmill, cannon, lighthouse, church. There's also a retro-cool video arcade and snack stand serving frozen custard, burgers and fries.
5) Village Green
Lake Ronkonkoma, 974 Portion Rd.; 631-732-8681; villagegreenminigolf.com Cost: $6.50 Skill level: Easy to difficult
What a bright idea - this miniature golf center has three separate 18-hole courses designed by skill level. Little ones can easily sink a putt on the animal-themed beginner course, while the "Wizard of Oz"-themed medium course is ideal for families. Fair warning: Prepare for some ego-bruising if you take on the difficult course, which teams with water traps, steep slopes and other precise putting obstacles.
>> See all miniature golf courses on Long Island