You know you will have to do this at some point during your trip,. The kids have already spotted at least one of these courses on the way to your Gatlinburg, Tennessee cabin. There is certainly an abundance of courses. Here are a few descriptions to narrow your mini-golfing choices.
1. Ripley’s Old MacDonald’s Farm Mini-Golf, 1639 Parkway, Sevierville-Located adjacent to Tanger Five Oaks Outlet Mall, this course is the most sophisticated and the largest in the area. It features three 18-hole courses with barnyard animal themes (choose your pigs, cows, or chickens). Motion-activated, humorous animation is sprinkled through the courses as additional entertainment to the sometimes challenging course layouts.
Tip: Beware the arcade, through which you must exit, that will snag a few extra dollars if your kids can extract them from you.
2. Ripley’s Davy Crockett Mini-Golf, 188 Parkway in Gatlinburg. This sister course location has a smaller footprint with two 18-hole courses, similar interactive animation, and a woodland animals theme.
3. Firehouse Golf, 2528 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, is the centerpiece of the Walden’s Landing complex, with two 18-hole courses from which to choose. It sports a cute firefighting theme with moving water and several falls throughout the courses. Its location allows Dad to play with the kids while Mom shops. The family could also play together while waiting on restaurant seating or prior to catching a movie at the Forge Cinema, the county’s only movie theater.
4. Professor Hacker’s Lost Treasure Golf, 3010 Parkway, Pigeon Forge-Think of Indiana Jones shouting, “Fore!”, and you get the theme of this course. An archeologists’s hunt for gold and diamonds leads you through a ship, a temple, caves, waterfalls and a volcano for that elusive hole-in-one. A unique feature is a “mine train” ride to the first holes of this course.
5. Gator Golf, 2575 Parkway, Pigeon Forge– This course is part of the Track Family Recreation Center, which includes multiple activities: bumper boats and cars, gokarts, kiddie rides section, and more. The landscape is filled with stationary jungle animals, and includes some waterfalls and tunnels.
Tip: Buying tickets in bulk for the attractions at the Track affords some discount over single activities purchases.
6. Adventure Golf, 2925 Parkway, Pigeon Forge-Here is the perfect retro experience of classic miniature golf on two courses. This location is one of the original putt-putts in town, and is easy to spot with its giant octopus, shark and dinosaur. Owned long-term by a local family, the course doesn’t have modern bells and whistles. Yet the creatures make for great photo opps, trees shade part of the course, and real ducks often visit.
Tip: Look for coupons that are offered regularly that make this course a bargain.
7. Hillbilly Golf, 340 Parkway, Gatlinburg- Another classic course that has stood the test of time, this one is unique because the course is atop a small ridge. An incline tram ride carries players up to the playing area itself. Two very similar courses are based on a rustic backwoods theme with simple layouts on a terraced hillside among the trees.
Tip Note there are lots of stairs on this course, and I would recommend bug spray, since it is in the trees, particularly at night when floodlights are on.
So choose your club, which brightly colored ball to call your own, and try for a free game by sinking that hole-in-one on number 18. It’s a time-tested, low-tech way to create some family moments, and a little healthy competition among those who can’t stand a laid-back game. Enjoy!