Anyone who knows me knows I am not a golf fan. (“Don’t get me wrong, it’s fine, but let’s not confuse it with something that men do,” says President Bartlett in The West Wing and I’m only half offended by the sexism.) Crazy golf is another matter but of course, you usually only get that at the seaside. So when I heard that Nottingham was getting not just crazy golf but adventure golf, I had to investigate. Luckily, armed with willing accomplices (E and my friend K), I set forth into the Lost City.
You can find the Lost City in the basement of the Cornerhouse in Nottingham, next to the casino. As you can sense from the name, it has a theme and, being fans of Indiana Jones, we may have got our imaginations going a bit too strongly for reality.
But first up, the welcome. The staff uniform is that of jungle ranger, complete with hats. And very friendly they were too, making a fuss of E and not minding when I said she wouldn’t be playing (children £3.50 entrance fee and I wouldn’t trust her with a club even if she wasn’t too small to carry one). We made our way down to the course. You have a choice, Temple Trail or Sacred Skull Pass. We went for the Temple Trail purely on the basis that no one else seemed to be playing it. (I’m not one for being hassled on a crazy golf course – it’s not a race – and I am easily put off my stroke.)
Parts of the course had quite good effects – blocks in the wall that moved in and out, and thunder and lightening – but other parts could have been a bit better. I’m not saying poisoned darts flying out the wall, boulders chasing us down a track or HUGE spiders are a necessity but at the very least the chart music in the background was naff and could have been replaced with sound effects.
As for the course itself, I’ve played harder ones. This mainly had ridges and corners to deal with, along with a few hole-in-a-hole split level tees. But we rather enjoyed it, taking some holes quite seriously, lining up shots, cursing overhitting or inaccuracies. And E loved it, much more than I imagined she would. I let her out of the pushchair and she bottom shuffled round the course, trying to grab the coloured balls we were hitting. If you ever wanted to focus your mind on a golf shot, try putting a one year old with her mind on the ball nearby. You’d think this would be a handicap (no pun intended) but I got three holes in one in those circumstances so perhaps there’s something in it.
After 17 holes, we were neck and neck in the scores. The 18th hole was the prize. Hole in one and you win Inca gold to claim a free game. K tried first, failed and was called a loser by a giant rock head over the hole. We decided it was rigged. My turn. Gold! Hole in one! A fluke, I claim modestly, while running round in circles with my arms in the air. Who am I kidding, I was delighted.
We cleared our things up and wondered how to claim when a staff member came down the stairs towards us, holding a gold coin out in front of him. “I believe this is yours?” he said. “Why thank you,” I said, claiming my prize. Well actually, E grabbed it.
The next visit we’ll try the other course and see if it’s any better.
In short, an amusing way to spend an afternoon, especially if you want to wear out a one year old with a coloured ball fixation. She was happy just putting the balls in the holes and then taking them out again. This relied quite heavily on the fact that it wasn’t very busy when we went (Monday afternoon and all that). But I think that if the Lost City management are smart, they fix a few more effects up and make better use of their staff – who look like they have the temperament and imagination to turn the course into a bit more of an adventure for us old Indie fans.