I remember as a kid I was whacking balls at the Kingsland Pitch and Putt when some lad introduced himself as a reporter for Golf Monthly Magazine and asked if he could take photos of me for the next month’s magazine. It was one of the most exciting days of my life. I was telling everyone, showing off to all my P3 classmates, and checking each day at the local newsagents waiting for it to hit the shelves. After around half a year and 6 editions, I couldn’t understand why I hadn’t yet featured alongside Nick Faldo, Greg Norman, and the PGA Tour. I was probably in the next edition…
Anyway, Bangor has some of the best golf courses in Northern Ireland, at the same time, they’re out of reach for those who are rubbish at golf. At least I wouldn’t just turn up to one as a beginner and just start whacking balls. But there are a number of casual, family, and newb-friendly options nearby where you can just go and whack some balls around, and the Kingsland Pitch and Putt in Bangor is perfect for this.
The Kingsland Pitch and Putt Course (Seacliff Road)
So this is where the Kingsland Pitch and Putt course in Bangor comes in handy, a 9-hole pitch and putt course found along the Seacliff Road towards Ballyholme along with lots of free parking directly opposite. Just look for the tennis courts and the pitch and putt course is found just next to it (map here). You will also find 18-hole putting greens for those less fussed for the pitching side of the game and an enclosed dog walking area… etc.
Seasonal Summer Openings
The pitch and putt course is seasonal through the summer months and it may be weather permitting meaning it is best to check if it’s open in advance. We did not, and ended up rescheduling after finding the facility closed in mid-July. We did consider playing anyway but you kind of need the tees to be marked and flags visible to actually play the game. Neither were and the kiosk was locked with a phone number for Queens Leisure Complex (02890 421234), in Hollywood, and, what? Other signs said to phone Bangor Sportsplex (02891 275622).
Pitch and Putt for Beginners
When we finally played it was in early August (2023) following a fairly rainy few days and the wettest July on the books. Fanfan and my nephew Dylan, who have never swung an iron in their entire lives, join me. And I’ve not played in a good 15-20 years. So expectations on the day were fairly low. Fortunately, despite being a nice enough morning, we are the only players on the course. Otherwise we’d likely be giving way to other groups playing from behind (we didn’t start well).
Free Club and Ball Rental
I kind of expected an extra charge to rent clubs and balls from the kiosk, and so brought a bunch of my own in a rather massive-looking golf bag. Turns out there is no extra charge for the balls and clubs, as we each offered a wedge and putter, and I end up looking a right tit with this unnecessarily large bag for pitch and putt. So I eventually dumped the bag back into the car and we all go with the clubs provided.
Playing Pitch and Putt at Kingsland
At the kiosk we are given a map and scorecard and are directed to the nearby tee for the first hole. I think we found it. We were never quite sure where to tee from most of the time so ended up just whacking them from anywhere. As clueless beginners, we started fairly terribly scoring 5+ on the 1st hole (although I’m near sure someone threw my ball when I dumped the golf bag in the car), and we gave up on the scorecard fairly quickly.
The 2nd hole wasn’t much better, then I managed to whack the building wall on the 3rd, and Fanfan and Dylan spent more time hoking for their balls in the rough. It wasn’t until the 4th hole, a dogleg of a hole, that we finally got to grips with the game. A near hole-in-one from me. Less than a foot from the cup. (Is it weird to boast about pitch and putt). Then the back 5 holes were a lot better. So we do learn the ropes fairly quickly. I got 3 birdies.
The 9-Hole Pitch and Putt Course
As expected the greens and fairways are not as well maintained as they are on proper golf courses. We struggled at times to find the tees and it can be hard to differentiate between the fairways and greens. It’s all a bit like grass from the garden lawn. At least a relatively recently mowed garden lawn. Although there’s the occasional divot and daisies even on the greens. When you expect a bit of roll or run on the balls they instead just kind of plop. So it’s like a whole new ball game.
I would suggest bringing a tee or two as Fanfan and Dylan would use them for pretty much every shot before the green. This is partly to keep the ball visible above the grass but it also stops them from taking huge clumps of mud out on every shot. This does make it much easier for beginners. I also suggest bringing a couple as we managed to break two of them through the 9-hole course (although they were cheap wooden tees).
Comparison to Actual Golf?
There is a mix of distances between tees and holes at Kingsland ranging from 37-70 meters. The 4th, where I nearly hit that magnificent hole-in-one, comes in at 45 meters. In comparison, the Par 3 holes at Carnalea range from 112-174 meters so they’re around 3 times the length and my near hole-in-one was not really much of an accomplishment 🙁 So these pitch and putt courses are more for practising the short game, although you don’t get the same run on the grass. I guess they’re more for fun. If you really want to whack balls then you’d be better off at a driving range.
General Information for Kingsland Pitch and Putt?
It may be best to confirm details either at the Kingsland kiosk or by phoning Bangor Sportsplex (028 9127 5622).
Opening Times for Kingsland Pitch and Putt?
Kingsland Pitch and Putt is open for casual use 7 days a week through July and August (summer).
- Monday to Friday 10:00 – 18:00
- Saturday 10:00 – 17:00
- Sunday 13:00 – 17:00
How much is pitch and putt at Kingsland Bangor?
These are 2023 prices and are paid with cash. No luck in paying with cards.
- Adult £4.90
- Concession £3.70
Where is the Kingsland Pitch and Putt?
The Kingsland pitch and putt course is found along the Seacliff Road towards Ballyholme. Just look for the tennis courts and the pitch and putt course is found just next to it (map here). Free parking is found directly outside as well as free car parks opposite.
Can I rent clubs at the Kingsland Pitch and Putt?
No, but you can borrow them from the kiosk at no additional cost. They are included in the payment fee.