Anti Golf Outrage At Proposed Mini Golf Course In York

Plans for a 12-hole mini golf course in the centre of the historic city provoke a backlash

A hole at a mini golf course
(Image credit: Getty Images)

A proposed mini golf course in the historic city of York has raised over 60 objections. Planning documents reveal a scheme to build the course in the city centre with 12 holes, “each with its own historic reference and focus.” The plan, submitted to the council by York Mini Golf Ltd, would see the course stand close to York Explore Library, the Roman wall and Multangular Tower for seven years to attract tourists to a historic part of the city. It would also see a section of the ruins of St Leonard’s Hospital, thought to have been the largest medieval hospital in northern England, used as a ticket office.

However, not everyone thinks it’s a good idea. One objector, Gavin Baddeley, said: “Dropping a novelty golf course on this feels little short of vandalism. The stag and hen parties that plague York at weekends will be drawn to this kind of silly activity like magnets.” Elsewhere, tour guide John Willets said in a statement to the council: “People travel to York for a history fix, not to play crazy golf.” The backlash continued with York Civic Trust, who called the idea “inappropriate” due to its “sensitive historic location and value as a secluded green space in the centre of York”. Meanwhile, another objector, Holly Robinson, expressed concerns about having a mini golf course so close to the library windows. She wrote: “Yes, crazy golf is a horizontal version of golf, but I think we can all agree that not everyone will keep the ball on the ground. How about a tennis court in the Minster instead?”

York attracts tourists worldwide thanks to its many areas of historical significance. These include its ancient streets, impressive Minster and famous chocolate factories. However, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, the themed holes would reflect these elements, including “Roman York”, “Viking York” and “Chocolate York”. Meanwhile, each hole would have an information board detailing periods of York’s history. As a result, the proposal has some support, too, with English Heritage saying it offers a “chance to interpret York’s history to a different audience”.

There are broader benefits of mini golf, too, including its family friendly nature and ability to offer a route into the sport for many who otherwise may never take up the game. Meanwhile, York Mini Golf Ltd outlined the specific benefits of its proposed course in its application. The company cited wheelchair accessibility and greater footfall to the library and café as advantages of the scheme. The firm added: “It represents a low-key and low-impact use, which will bring people into a richly historic part of York which is often ignored and unappreciated by visitors to the city.”

However, with the controversy set to rumble on, Guildhall ward councillor Janet Looker has asked for a planning committee to scrutinise the application.

Mike Hall

Mike has over 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on a range of sports throughout that time, such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance staff writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the game's most newsworthy stories. 

He has written hundreds of articles on the game, from features offering insights into how members of the public can play some of the world's most revered courses, to breaking news stories affecting everything from the PGA Tour and LIV Golf to developmental Tours and the amateur game. 

Mike grew up in East Yorkshire and began his career in journalism in 1997. He then moved to London in 2003 as his career flourished, and nowadays resides in New Brunswick, Canada, where he and his wife raise their young family less than a mile from his local course. 

Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.