I recently put my lack of hand/eye coordination to the test at Swingers Crazy Golf Club. And despite my usual dislike of any activity that puts my (quite frankly, crap) sporting abilities in the spotlight, I actually had a really good time.
Swingers is an over-18s venue with two nine-hole crazy golf courses, a couple of bars, street food, and nightly DJs…all hidden away in the shadows of The Gherkin. Swingers is based on a 1920’s golf-club set in the English countryside…but the bonus is that everything is inside so you’re not reliant on our unpredictable weather.
What happens when you’re there?
Swingers is a popular place so you may well see the queue before you see the doors to get in. When you make it to the entrance, be prepared to have your bags searched – handbags, rucksacks (or weekend suitcases if you have them like we did!) will all need to be opened and inspected before entry. And if you’ve got alcohol on you, this will be removed by the management and returned when you leave. Once in, you can leave coats and bags in the cloakroom before getting shown to your table / the bar / the golf course – depending on what kind of booking you’ve made.
When you buy your ticket, you pick a 90 minute time slot and then your actual tee off time (the time you start your game of golf) will be allocated when you arrive at Swingers. Don’t assume you’ll be in and out of the place within the hour and a half; your tee off time may not be until near the end of your 90 minute time slot. Make sure you’re waiting at your allocated golf course at your tee off time or you’ll miss your slot…and when it’s time for your game, you’ll be given a golf club, a ball, and a scoring card. At peak times it will take about 30 to 40 minutes to play 9 holes. You may have to wait for the next hole to become available if the group in front of you are taking their time but if it’s quieter and you’re a crazy golf pro then you’ll be round quicker.
If you’re more interested in the food and drink than the golf, that’s fine, you can just go to indulge. The menu features a selection of pizza, burgers, and Mexican food. On the drink front, you’ll find a good selection of cocktails and spirits. There’s a choice of 10 white wines and 10 red wines, plus a handful of rose and sparkling varieties (but no Prosecco).
We ate lunch and had a few drinks before our tee-off time and then the bar-staff were on hand around the golf course to take drink orders so we never went short of a beverage. As we had a group package booking, we all wore wrist bands and each time we ordered a drink it was added to our tab so we didn’t need to be counting out the pennies each time.
How do I get tickets and how much does it cost?
To guarantee there’s availability on the day you want to go, you can buy your tickets online in advance. Or you can try your luck on the door – daytime walk-up tickets are available from midday onwards and evening walk-up tickets from 6pm. Tickets are sold on a first come, first served basis so at peak times people tend to start queueing ahead of the ticket release time.
If you just want to eat and drink but skip the golf then entry is free. If you want to play golf then the cost is £13 per round. It’s the same cost whether you buy in advance or walk-up on the day – but if you’re buying on the day you can only have 6 tickets so if your group is bigger it’s best to buy online beforehand. You can get it cheaper for £10 per round if you book online for an off-peak slot which is Monday to Wednesday, before 5pm. Tickets are released online 3 months in advance.
Swingers has a capacity of 500 people and there are different areas you can book for groups or private events. There are also a variety of group packages that combine food, drink and golf. We paid £50 per person; this included a round of golf, £25 worth of drinks per person, £12 worth of food, and a reserved table for an hour and a half prior to tee off time. It didn’t save us any money to be honest, in fact with a few non-drinkers we actually struggled to spend our drink allowance and you cannot get any form of refund. But it did make it easier to have paid upfront and not need to worry about money on the day or splitting the bill.
I went with a group of girls, and I’d say most people were there in a group. It would be great for birthday celebrations, a Christmas work party or a night out with friends. I’d also check it out if you’re looking for a fun date night alternative. It’s not the place for romantic deep and meaningfuls though…or for your hard-of-hearing parents, as its 16,000 square foot of noise and activity. They don’t like hen and stag frivolities…so you’ll need to leave your penis balloons and fancy dress at home (unless its golf attire which is acceptable, encouraged even!)
When’s it open?
Swingers is open 7 days a week. Wednesday to Saturday it’s open from 12pm – 1am, the other days until 11pm.
Where is it?
The home of Swingers is 8 Brown’s Buildings, Between Bury Street and St Mary Axe, London, EC3A 8AL. Blink and you could miss it – head for The Gherkin and you’ll find an unassuming entrance hidden among office buildings.
It’s loud, it’s lively, it’s fun…give it a go. For more information visit the Swingers website.