If you’ve ever visited any of the beachside resort towns on America’s east coast, then you are probably very familiar with the classic Americana pastime of putt-putt, or mini-golf. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, holds this particular claim to fame, owning the title of ‘Miniature Golf Capital of the World’, with over 50 courses. If you’ve ever played, you know mini-golf thrives on the weird and wonderful- putting through the feet of dinosaurs, across the hulls of pirate ships, or around the molten volcano- it’s a must-do for every vacationing family.
What’s with golf in a bar?
Well, if it was fun as a child, it will probably also be fun as an adult after a few drinks. Fast forward to 2017 in Sydney, to the opening of Holey Moley. Holey Moley is a bar/18-hole mini golf course, complete with DJ, located in Newtown, in Sydney’s inner-west. With Nintendo, Mousetrap, and Tetris-themed holes, early 2000’s rap, and drinks served in red solo cups, it is definitely designed to appeal to millennial types looking to relive their college years, spring break/Myrtle Beach style. I finally had a chance to visit recently, and it was all I hoped for and more. If you’re looking for a unique afternoon out with a group of friends, this place should be tops on your list.
Note: I, along with some friends, visited as full-paying guests, and have received no incentive to write this review. Rather, I think it’s an off-the-wall (sometimes literally, depending on your short game), and quirky place that American expats (and Aussies) would love.
You can choose from either nine holes or the full 18. We went for nine, since it seemed like enough, and the cost was reasonable at $16.50 per person. For the full 18, it’s $33.00, so a lot steeper. (The first nine are downstairs, the back nine are upstairs. We went for the first nine.) You can also book tee times before arrival, helpful if you’re planning on a weekend or Friday night.
You are given a token, which you then insert into one of the giant gumball machines holding the golf balls. Watch your ball wind down the slide, select your putter, and then you are good to go. Mine got stuck halfway down, but nothing’s perfect.
Replacing the old-fashioned score card and golf pencils is a score keeping app, so download it before you start. Competition amongst mini-golfers can be fierce, so make sure whoever you nominate as scorekeeper can be trusted!
The holes were crazy creative, each one with a different theme. We bounced balls through Kombi vans, shot through pipes into the Rube Goldberg mousetrap game of our childhood (complete with bathtub and boot), and watched the balls ricochet down a Tetris board. From a design perspective, I really enjoyed the originality. They’ve taken the traditional style mini-golf formula, but added a modern flare with an Aussie twist, based around pop culture and technology.
I only had a brief look at the upstairs nine, but an Elvis statue and a re-creation of the Simpsons living room is enough to make me want to come back.
There’s a full bar available, complete with buckets of beer, Happy Gilmore- themed cocktails, and Long Island Iced ‘Tees’- no shortage of golf puns here. Prices were what you would expect in the area, though I’m not sure if our shared pitcher of Pimms helped or hindered my game…
I didn’t sample the food, so can’t comment on the quality, but they have a limited menu of standard bowling-alley type fare. Think pizzas, burgers, hot dogs. Would make for a quick snack between holes, but for more varied food, Newtown offers infinite dining options for eating before or after your game.
Places like this tend to be a novelty, but I hope they do well. I’d love to see more theme bars that think outside the box, and bring a new perspective to a night out with friends. This place would also appeal to non-drinkers, as it’s a great way to socialize and have fun without meeting at a bar. Well, it is a bar, but they have more to offer than just drinking, which I think appeals to a wider range of audiences.
Have you been to Holey Moley? What did you think?