In any other year, mini golf would definitely rank pretty low on the list of fright-fueled Halloween activities. But 2020 isn’t a normal year. In the absence of costume parties, movie theater horror marathons, and trick or treating, Stagecoach Greens in San Francisco has stepped up and put together a surprisingly perfect way to celebrate the season at a safe social distance.
The 18-hole, outdoor attraction in Mission Bay has combined mini golf with Bay Area history ever since it opened in 2018. Ordinarily, the course takes you on a journey from stagecoach to gold rush graveyard, then on through quaking Victorian houses up to modern city landmarks. (Including, brilliantly, the Transamerica Pyramid playing Rock ’Em Sock ’Em with the Salesforce Tower.)
Now, inspired by the season, not only has the mini golf course been decked out in Halloween finery (think: witches, ghouls, gravestones and skeletons), it’s sharing real-life horror stories from Bay Area history. Each tale corresponds with a specific hole on the course—and the attention to detail is magnificent.
For example, at the Barbary Coast Saloon (Hole 2), there’s the tale of Miss Piggott. Legend has it, the gold rush saloon owner would drug young men, hit them over the head, send them through a trap door and then out to sea. At the Sutro Tower (Hole 12), you can read about the suicides that haunted the Sutro Forest early in the 1900s. At the Ocean Beach Bonfire (Hole 15), learn about the ghostly figures seen within the remains of the Sutro Baths.
Since reopening after shelter-in-place restrictions, Stagecoach Greens has been operating at limited capacity and by reservation only, in order to ensure safe, socially distant play. This means booking in advance if you want to partake in the ghostly golf. Handily, this also gives you plenty of time to come up with a costume that corresponds with the course. Think: ghostly gold miners, tricky tavern keepers, or perhaps the White Lady of Stow Lake, currently residing at Hole 13—the Golden Gate Park windmill.
Stagecoach Greens resumes normal (non-haunted) activity on Nov. 2. Details here.