Edinburgh crazy golf venue Fore Play announces it will close in March

Venue to close after Edinburgh council refused move to new premises

An Edinburgh crazy golf venue has announced it will be closing early in the new year.

Fore Play crazy golf said they would be leaving their city-centre premises after failing to find a new permanent home. Billed on its website as “a locally-inspired, social experience for grown-ups”, Fore Play offers “bespoke” crazy golf where players can drink “signature cocktails” while they putt.

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In a post on Facebook, Fore Play said they were sad to be closing the Picardy Place venue which opened in 2020, but added: “Fear not: We'll be here until March and look forward to seeing you all for one last swing at Picardy Place.”

Fore Play wanted to move to two floors of a building in the Grassmarket, but planners rejected their application.

The popular entertainment attraction employs 16 staff. But a bid to switch operations to the Grassmarket was turned down by the council in March.

They applied for change of use of the premises at 1 Grassmarket, previously occupied by Red Dog Music, and permission to build a mini golf course, bar, kitchen, eating area and toilets. Fore Play said the property had been lying empty for three years. But planners deemed the proposals “unacceptable”, saying they would “fail to respect the architectural integrity and character of the building” and could end up causing noisy disturbances to Grassmarket residents. Councillors refused the application. And although Fore Play appealed to the Scottish Government, that was unsuccessful.

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A government reporter said that while he believed the proposed use would provide a new purpose for a vacant building and be “highly enjoyable” for customers, the two-floor golf venue, which would be open until 11 pm, would have “significant adverse impacts” on the area, including exacerbating an “existing concentration of uses that are collectively detrimental to the living conditions of local residents, and diluting the area’s speciality shopping function”.

In their farewell announcement, Fore Play said: “As we enter the festive season, it’s time for the final few months of our popup venue at Picardy Place. Our 9-hole popup course has welcomed more than 65,000 of you since we opened our doors in October 2020, with iconic cocktails and local street food, but with the building being earmarked for a new hotel development, we’ll be upping sticks (or clubs) early next year. Any existing bookings won’t be affected.

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“It’s no secret that we were unsuccessful in our bid to move to our new permanent home in the Grassmarket, which should have been completed by the end of this year. We were disappointed that our proposal and subsequent appeal was rejected, but unfortunately the time has come where we must depart our current venue. What’s next, you ask? Watch this space.”