Congo River Adventure Golf
20060 US 19 North
Clearwater, FL 33764
Adults $10.45, Children under 10 & seniors $9.45. One child under 5 free with each paid admission.
(coupons available on website)
Congo River Adventure Golf is a Florida chain, and there is no shortage of these beautifully landscaped oases throughout central Florida. For an unknowable reason, the CRG in Tampa closed years ago, despite its prime location just across from Busch Gardens. We visited the CRG in Clearwater this weekend.
The theme, obviously and loosely, is the nineteenth-century Congo River expedition of Stanley and Livingstone (or perhaps the 1939 movie of the same name?). Players encounter water obstacles, a crashed airplane, and a hole played on the Congo Queen as they trek through the multi-leveled terrain of the course. The course itself is very well kept, the carpets on the greens are all in great shape. For the most part, the obstacles on the course are environmental – avoiding a water trap or making good use of the numerous hills, slopes, and banks.
There are several truly tricksy holes – hole 3 has a boulder right in the middle with a false-friend path around the outside; hole 6 has a small water trap to avoid, though the hills want to dump the ball straight in; hole 13 is downright sinister with the hole right in front of a running stream that is simply impossible to avoid.
If 18 holes of golf aren’t enough, there’s a mini-game as well – a scavenger hunt. Find the six objects hidden throughout the course and you’ll get a scratch-off ticket that might save you some money on your next game. We like this part simply because it keeps the player aware of her surroundings, looking closely at each tree, tomb, and waterfall.
The downside is that with all of the cooling waterfalls and tropical plants comes mosquitoes. Bring your bug spray because the pools of water are havens for mosquitos, and I’m scratching my several bites just thinking about it. The soundtrack is also rather bizarre. We’re not sure what the muzak choices consist of for establishing an African theme, but we’re pretty sure that reggae, UB40, and an “otherized” version of “Kokomo” don’t exactly contribute to an immersive “African” experience.
We found CRG Clearwater to be a challenging course, enjoyable for the golf pro and novice alike. The scavenger hunt game keeps everyone on their toes, and is a nice way to pass the time while waiting for others to finish their turn. Oh, not to mention the pile of safely enclosed alligators out front.