The sport of golf always seemed a bit dignified and, well, a bit buttoned up for a city known for people dancing in the streets and wearing tutus during the weekday. But our warm climate makes us a major destination for golf – from the TCP Louisiana that hosts the Zurich Classic to the courses at Audubon and City parks. However, if you and the kiddos don’t want to brave 18 holes in the Louisiana sun, City Park’s mini course may just be the ticket for a family outing this summer.
City Putt boasts 36 holes over two different courses; one themed for sites around Louisiana and the other based on people and events of the Crescent City. Both courses were re-surfaced in spring 2017, so the quality of the greens is excellent. Each hole has a placard describing the significance of the chosen theme, which, during the lazy summer months doing a somewhat low-impact activity, gives the satisfaction of knowing we may have learned a thing or two during a family outing.
The Louisiana course mainly highlights festivals from around the state. There is, for example, a Ponchatoula hole and a Rayne hole, focusing on the former’s strawberry festival and the latter’s frog festival (with a frog sculpture that spouts water). The New Orleans course has the typical offering you would expect: a Louis Armstrong hole has a grand display and, of course, no City Park attraction is complete without Mr. Bingle.
While the themes for each course and hole are well chosen, here comes my only real complaint about City Putt: the course itself is lacking the kitsch that most of us associate with mini-golf. While Mr. Bingle appears at his hole, I was expecting to have to putt into a hole that’s guarded by a moving candy cane or snowball. The creativity and panache that one typically associates with New Orleans is lacking in the design of the individual holes.
While I may want a slightly kookier mini-golf offering, from a technical standpoint, the holes are excellent. The greens are smooth, and there are obstacles and challenges that are fun and doable for kids while still being challenging and entertaining for adults. Putting one of the courses took my family of three a little over an hour, and no one felt rushed or like we were taking forever to finish. With that in mind, City Putt becomes a great summer evening outing if you have a lot of people and kids of varying ages.
Besides nice greens with interesting obstacles, the water features and greenery at City Putt really display the excellent work by the gardeners at the park. While we didn’t find mosquitos to be a huge issue because of the plants chosen, sunscreen and bug spray during the summer months still may be a good idea. A small snack bar has good options (including beer and wine) for refreshments while you walk the course, and, because New Orleans will always stay true to her brand, there is a snowball stand outside the gates.
City Putt also hosts events and birthday parties, but I think its true appeal emerges in the midst of the summer doldrums. Entering July finds us bracing ourselves for even higher temperatures and humidity and children declaring an almost inevitable boredom. City Putt is an easy family outing that offers a relief from the malaise of summer by enjoying some low-stakes competition in the great outdoors.
Just the Facts …
33 Dreyfouss Drive
Sunday, Tuesday to Thursday: 10 a.m.-10 p.m. (last rental at 9 p.m.)
Friday and Saturday: 10 a.m. to midnight (last rental 11 p.m.)
Monday: Only open for events
Ages 13+: $9
Children (4-12): $7
Second Round in same visit: $4
Children (0-3): Free