As a surfing widow I’m often dragged along on my husband Jude’s surfing pilgrimages (read can more about those here). If I’m honest with the situation, it’s mostly to provide in-car entertainment and to feign as a surfing sports photographer, of which I think I’ve taken a total of 10 photos in our five-year dating history (thank you GoPro for being a better wife than I am).
On these many, MANY drives out to Jude’s Victorian surfing destination of choice – Phillip Island – we always pass Grantville’s pirate-themed mini golf course, Pirate Pete’s Mini Golf, with its life-size Great White shark and pirate figurines menacing you from the side of the road.
Each time we always say, “That pirate mini golf looks teenagerly fun. We should really stop there one day.”
But given there’s a 0.002 per cent chance that I’d be able to convince Jude to stop the car pre-surf, and post-surf he’s most likely to be found comatose, snoring in the passenger seat, the odds haven’t exactly been in our favour.
However, last weekend, the stars finally aligned and we pulled off the Bass Highway, paid our $15 each and prepared for some mini golf pillaging and piracy. Oh yes, prepare for some pirate puns.
Pirate Pete’s Mini Golf: the good…
Working your way through the course’s three sub-themed sections: the beach, the bush and the outback, Pirate Pete’s Mini Golf is a lot of fun, putting your way around obstacles that include the likes of logs and pirate boots, and navigating rises, bunkers and tunnels. All while listening to blaring sea shanties that compulsively make you want to do a pirate jig.
The designer has clearly gone a little Captain Sparrow on us, adorning the course with treasure chests, pirate skeletons, tombstones, a croc pit, and the flagship Caribbean Princess marooned between holes one and 13, of which I fully expected Johnny Depp to appear from the bow.
My favourite round was hole 14 (a par 3), also known as Pirate Pete’s Cave – a disused gold mine, found underneath a five-metre thundering waterfall. I was lucky to make it out alive given a few pirates before me clearly hadn’t, and all while only adding a two to the scorecard.
Pirate Pete’s Mini Golf: the bad…
Hole number six, you are a bad, bad scurvy dog! Putting a golf ball through a narrow tunnel for it to pop out on the other side of the palm tree has always been my mini golf weakness. So despite having a full-time (unwelcome) coach and maxing out at the eight-stroke cap, it took me 11 attempts to hit my golf ball into the Jolly Roger-flagged hole on this wretched round.
The ultimate hole 18 was also a little annoying as it was a par 6 and you were lucky to get it without maxing out your allowed shots, given the length, rolls and boulders of the hole. I was going to concede defeat early, write an eight on my scorecard and head to the Pirate Tavern for a schooner of rum, but managed to slot the ball within the par six shots. Winner, aye!
Pirate Pete’s Mini Golf: the best…
Hiding out in the bush, you’ll find the very impressive hole 9, where hitting a crack shot into the dunny will project the ball over your head, along the gutter of an old house, down the pipe and onto the green on the other side of the path. Leaving you muttering a series of pirate expletives at the architects of the hole.
Then get ready for another bout of mini golf theatrics at hole 17. After hitting the ball into the animal bones (again, another near impossible on first-attempt tunnel), it’s shot up a windmill, travelling over the West End-branded Pirate Tavern, through the water tank and onto the separate green. This one’s just a measly par 4.
Pirate Pete’s Mini Golf: the verdict…
I like to think that I’m a mini golf pro, but the truth is my game is about as variable as Channel 10’s programming. I most definitely didn’t ‘beats Pirate Pete’s par 67 on dis challenging course’, with a total score of 80! Making *cough* Jude the day’s winner.
Given that I’m yet to putt putt my way around Victoria, I can’t legitimately say that Pirate Pete’s is the state’s best mini golf course but, as a mini golf aficionado, I’d say it’s hard to beat.
A 90-minute journey from Melbourne, Grantville’s pirate mini golf is a commitment but it does make for a fun day outing if combined with some Phillip Island exploration.
Alternatively, if you’re into howling dingoes and sheep shearing you can also purchase an all-day pass and access the neighbouring Maru Koala and Animal park. It’s also a great way to break up the surfing road trip from Phillip Island if you have a willing participant. Blackbeard, we’ll no doubt be back matey.
Pirate Pete’s Mini Golf | 1650 Bass Highway, Grantville, Victoria
Phone: (03) 5678 8548
Price: adult, $15; child (4–15 years), $9; senior, $12; family (two adults and two children), $40.