A swinging time was had by all when I took my little tigers to Urban Golf in Kensington recently. We’d been invited* to check out the ultra sleek venue (one of several dotted around town) and have a few rounds on their golf simulators.
Golf? I hear you cry in disbelief! But Urban Golf dispels the myth that to enjoy golf as a leisure activity you have to be a middle-aged white man, wear silly trousers and spend afternoons trekking up and down hills in pursuit of balls.
This is golf reinvented for a younger, cooler crowd. There are several lounge areas with deep sofas and plasma screens where you can relax with drinks and snacks from the bar and watch the latest action from the Ryder cup (or other major sports tournaments).
Of course the main attraction is the virtual golf. Their golf simulators boast more than 60 courses to play on and feature eye-popping 3D graphics. Each course can be adjusted according to your level of skill.
My 3-year-old felt like a don when he stepped onto the green and hit his first ball. The boys had only ever played golf on the Wii so this was an entirely different level of gamesmanship. You should have seen their little faces as their balls went flying across virtual landscapes.
Our instructor Nick was great at explaining the basics, helping to adjust each boy’s swing and had a natural rapport with the kids. When Jed ‘scored a hole’ (as he put it), Nick lifted him in the air and my boy was gleaming like a trophy.
Golf is not a sport that I’ve ever had much time for, but after a session of learning how to turn my body to angle the ball and how to hit with force, I can definitely see its appeal.
For any mum, giving those teeny balls a good thwack with a club is a great way to thrash out some of your inner gremlins!
Urban Golf turned out to be a brilliant family activity — equally fun for kids and adults and a chic place to hang. I’d recommend it as an indoor fun spot to escape with kids during the school holidays, especially if you don’t want to lose your mind at a soft play centre!
Birthday Party Hire
They do birthday parties where you can hire sections or the entire venue and the amazing part is that the virtual screens can be used for anything you like. So you could hire the space and have golf on one screen, while perhaps showing a movie, video game, karaoke or other entertainment on another.
They also offer regular promotions including their Lunchtime Tee Time where you can pop in for a round of golf and some lunch at just £10 a head.
With golf set to make its debut at the Olympics in Rio 2016, I predict more and more London families are about to get seriously teed off.
Urban Golf has venues in Kensington, Soho, Smithfields. Opening hours vary by venue. Check out www.urbangolf.co.uk for full details of pricing and menus, expert lessons and party hire. Tell: +44 207 248 8600
*We were provided with free lesson and use of simulator for the purposes of review
Top image Gary Salter for Urban Golf