When our friend Dan recently checked into our guest room for the weekend, as always, my husband Jude and I overzealously jumped into our assumed (and probably unwanted) role of tour guides.
Despite Dan having visited Melbourne many times in the past, I think we were secretly trying to show him such a G-damn AMAZING time that he’d have no choice but to promptly pack up his life in Adelaide and move here permanently.
Saturday morning, Dan and Jude wanted to go to Docklands’ F1 motion simulator, Motionators, and pretend (poorly I might add) they were Lewis Hamilton. Afterwards we decided to head next door to Harbour Town to test run the glow-in-the-dark mini golf course we’d heard about, which was surely going to impress. Right? It glows in the fricken dark. So there we were pinning all our hopes of Dan moving to Melbourne on GlowGolf…
Glow-in-the-dark mini golf sounds pretty awesome in theory. Kind of like how skiing in Mount Hotham sounds good, until I remember I hate the cold, snow and being propelled down a mountain where I have a 99 per cent chance of breaking my leg.
I first realised that perhaps glow-in-the dark mini golf wasn’t a great idea when, upon walking through the doors, we discovered a lot more dark than glow. How are you supposed to hit a par 1 on the first hole when you’re struggling to see the tee, hole and course? In fact, we nearly didn’t even see the first hole, initially walking straight past it.
The lighting got better and we were soon able to see plenty of possible hole-in-one opportunities. Although I think my three hole-in-ones were more fluke than skill, with one of my seriously whacked balls bouncing over a polystyrene rock into the hole, which prompted a fist pump.
Walking from room to room through deli door PVC slats, six holes in I realised that we were mini golfing our way around an Australiana-themed course (not a glow-in-the-dark planet as I had initially thought). Props included a hard-to-see crocodile-infested lake, Kingswood ute and taking your shot through the legs of a guy sitting on an Outback dunny, who clearly had a bad case of diarrhoea judging by the emanating noises.
One of the most amusing parts of the whole experience was listening to the ruckus laughter of the teenage boys ahead of us who clearly thought the dunny farts were funnier than Chris Lilley.
I feel like if you were to build a mini golf course in your backyard shed, GlowGolf is what it would be like. There was just something a little hobby farm about it, especially with its crackling stereo system playing Cats in the Cradle, which was more annoying than ambient.
The constructed theatrics would have been impressive if they worked, but tunnels and ramps that trap balls only reinforce that it’s a course built in a backyard shed. Jude was so frustrated by one ball-trapping-ramp that he spent five minutes insisting on re-playing the hole determined to work out the trick. I don’t think there is a trick.
The prize piece is supposedly Ned Kelly’s helmet at hole 18, with Ned ultimately announcing your score. However, perhaps the day we visited Ned had had a few too many beers at the Glenrowan Hotel because upon hitting a hole in one, I was told to write down a five.
When we left, I think Dan summed up what we were all thinking, announcing, “Well that was just a bit shit.”
If struggling to see in the dark wasn’t enough of a challenge, there are also some annoying spinning wheels placed before each hole that you’re to spin and incorporate the resulting impediment into your mini golf game. Seriously, who wants to hit the ball with their eyes shut? Or use your hand as a replacement putter?
If you’re after some serious mini golfing, cut your losses and drive the hour to Grantville for some pirate shenanigans at Pirate Pete’s Mini Golf (I’ve previously detailed that mini golf course here). It’s so much better than GlowGolf it would be like comparing the musical talents of Lorde to Lindsay Lohan, and for only $1 more.
However, if you need to kill some time at the lacklustre Harbour Town, GlowGolf wouldn’t be so bad, just leave any expectations above average at the door. Certainly don’t plan on using it as a ‘live in Melbourne’ promotional tool, as I’m pretty sure GlowGolf convinced Dan to never visit Melbourne again and for us to lose all tour guide credibility.
Glow Golf | Level 1, Shop 35, Harbour Town Shopping Centre, Docklands Drive, Docklands, Victoria
Phone: (03) 9642 5442
Price: adult, $14; child, $9; family (two adults and two children), $40.