Millions of people come to Prague each year to admire sights like Charles Bridge and get lost in Old Town. Yet Prague is also known for being a creative city, featuring quirky artists like David Černý, edgy public art installations, and visually stimulating black light theaters. A new attraction blends all of the above – Prague Glow Golf.
While there are a handful of courses around town, and a few new ones have popped up recently, Czech mini-golf courses often lack the flair and excitement of most American mini-golf courses. The holes are usually drab and boring, with nary a windmill or loop-de-loop in sight.
Florida native Chris Roberts of Prague Glow Golf wanted to introduce American-style mini-golf to the Czech Republic, while relating it to the country’s culture and history. After many years of working in the cruise industry, he and his Czech wife Julie relocated to Prague in 2014, with their two young boys in tow, to make it happen.
Flashy, modern mini-golf courses are quite common in the touristy areas of Orlando, and Roberts wondered if they would be equally popular in tourist-heavy Prague. But he also wanted his project to stand out from the rest.
Each hole has a different Czech-inspired theme with depictions of famous events and people from Czech history. Players shoot through a hockey goalies’ legs, under a pink, David Černý-inspired tank, across the Charles Bridge, and between armies locked in combat at the Battle of Lipany.
The building in which Prague Glow Golf is located has an interesting history as well. The original space on Opatovická Street (built in 1885) was one of the largest publishing houses in the Czech Republic; destroyed by fire in 1899 it was rebuilt in the functionalist style in 1928 as a print shop and warehouse.
Needless to say, there’s plenty of room for an 18-hole mini-golf course. The historic building also houses off-the-radar club and performance space, GRID.
Along with a Czech friend, I recently had a chance to try out the course. As we looked over the wall art, she was quite disappointed that I couldn’t identify the picture of Rudolf II. I guess I need to brush up on my Czech history as well!
The round took a bit less than an hour, and each of us sunk one hole-in-one, of course followed by a little obligatory gloating.
While some of the individual holes were challenging, both of us agreed that the course wasn’t so difficult and provides a nice atmosphere for couples on a date, family fun, or anyone who wants to warm-up for a night out (beer is served).
Personally, I think the concept will appeal to tourists, who can learn a lot about Czech history just from the paintings, obstacles, and accompanying information sheets. But how does Roberts plan to get locals and expats interested?
“Once they see it, they’ll be drawn in,” he says. “Our biggest challenge is getting them through the door.”
American mini-golf buffs will certainly feel at home – if Prague Glow Golf seems reminiscent of an American course, perhaps that’s because each hole was custom-made in the States before being shipped across the Atlantic. The wall murals were created by Czech graffiti artists, Spectacularart.
With its many dark nooks and crannies, Roberts plans to transform part of the course into an escape room. He encourages school groups to visit and will offer special deals that’ll appeal to locals, including an upcoming Valentine’s Day event.
“It’s edu-tainment,” says Roberts who admits that his sons’ passion for the sport was the driving force behind the project.
Prague Glow Golf is currently open for business for anyone wanting to show off their putting prowess.
Prague Glow Golf
Tel: 733 461 444 (English); 723 658 293 (Czech)
Entry: 200 CZK for adults, discounts for students, seniors, kids, and large groups