Zany Golf

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Zany Golf Coverart.png
Cover art
Developer(s)Sandcastle Productions
Publisher(s)Electronic Arts
Designer(s)Will Harvey, Ian Gooding, Jim Nitchals, Douglas Fulton
Platform(s)Apple IIGS (original)
Amiga, Atari ST, Genesis, MS-DOS
Genre(s)Sports (miniature golf)
Mode(s)1-4 players alternating

Zany Golf, also known as Will Harvey's Zany Golf, is a 1988 video game with a fantasy take on miniature golf, developed by Sandcastle Productions and published by Electronic Arts. The game was originally written for the Apple IIGS, and subsequently ported to the Amiga, Atari ST and MS-DOS machines. In 1990 it was ported the Sega Genesis.

The game is played in a 3D isometric viewpoint and allows up to 4 players.

The game was developed by Will Harvey, Ian Gooding, Jim Nitchals, and Douglas Fulton. Harvey was pursuing his advanced degrees at Stanford University at the time.[citation needed]

Zany Golf is a version of mini golf with some features that are impossible in real, physical mini golf. Zany Golf only consists of half a golf course—9 holes—plus a bonus hole.


At the beginning of the first hole, all players are given five strokes. On completing each hole, the remaining players are given more strokes equal to the par of the next hole. If a player runs out of strokes, he or she is eliminated and the other players are allowed to continue. The game ends when all players are eliminated or when the last hole is completed, and the scorecard is displayed.

Zany Golf scorecard

On all versions except the Genesis version, the mouse is used to shoot the ball by clicking on it, pulling back in the reverse direction of the eventual shot, and releasing. On occasion, fairies are placed on the course; hitting them awards anywhere from 1 to 5 bonus strokes. Also, a timer bonus may be possible. If the hole is finished quickly, the player may earn up to four bonus strokes. If a fairy is present or a timer bonus is available, it will be announced prior to the first shot.

Up to four players can play the game by taking turns, with player 1 having a red ball, player 2 a blue ball, player 3 a black ball, and player 4 a white ball. Once a player's turn is complete, it disappears from the course and is replaced by an X mark of that player's color, which cannot be disrupted by other players' balls. Multiple players can work together to hit the necessary targets on the Pinball and Energy holes. Once the drop targets or computer buttons have been hit, they need not be hit by any other player.


  1. Windmill Hole (Par 2): The ball has to be shot into a windmill, or into the slide down the ramp below, to enter the second area. Shooting directly into the windmill awards a 1 stroke bonus.
  2. Hamburger Hole (Par 3): The hole is covered by a bouncing hamburger, reached by bouncing the ball off a ketchup bottle that squirts. The hamburger bounces up and down when the mouse button is clicked, with more clicks resulting in higher bounces.
  3. Walls (Par 2): Four walls continuously rise from the ground and fall back down. Hitting them leads down to the bottom part of the course with the hole. The third wall must be hit to get to area with the hole; if missed, the player must shoot up and around into the third area.
  4. Pinball (Par 3): The level begins as a game of pinball, where the player can hit the ball with the flippers after shooting it. Two drop targets must be hit before the top left corner escape chute is activated. Although enough failures to hit the drop targets will release the ball to the bottom part of the course with the hole, hitting the targets and escape chute leads directly to the hole and activates a 1 stroke bonus.
  5. Fans (Par 3): Fans positioned along the level allow blowing the ball in a different direction. The fans are activated by moving the mouse left and right rapidly.
  6. Magic Carpet (Par 2): A special "magic" surface covering most of the level allows direct mouse control over the ball.
  7. Castle (Par 3): The ball has to be shot up a hill, to enter into a castle or tunnels outside it, to enter the second area with the hole. Entering the castle gate, which is intermittently guarded with a portcullis, awards an additional stroke.
  8. Ant Hill (Par 3): The course resembles a giant ant hill, with eight slopes facing the eight main compass directions, and holding areas behind each, with the players starting on the south holding area. At the end of all areas except the south there is a bumper which can be activated with the mouse to hit the ball back to the top of the hill. However, the hole on the hill moves at will while a ball is in play.
  9. Energy (Par 5): A two-part hole which consists of a giant computer on the lower level and a field of false holes surrounding the real hole on the top level. To complete the level, the player must hit two buttons on the giant computer, then shoot into a suction tube that leads to the top level. Alternatively, there is a mouse hole on the bottom level which is either empty, shows white eyes, or very rarely shows red eyes if both buttons have been hit. If a ball is shot into the mouse hole while the red eyes are displayed, that player completes the level automatically and the secret level is activated (see next hole below). At any other time, the ball is pushed out of the hole and the shot may be re-attempted. In a multiplayer game, only one player needs to successfully enter the mouse hole. Any other surviving players that use the regular hole are also allowed to proceed to the Mystery hole.
  10. Mystery (Par 4): This bonus hole is accessed by either completing the rest of the course under par (26), or by putting into a secret hole on the Energy level with exact timing. This level consists of a Breakout-style scenario where the player must destroy targets while given control of a paddle with the mouse. After all targets are destroyed, corner escape holes are activated which lead to a checkerboard-like putting green (if the hole is hit before the targets are destroyed, the ball will shoot back out and all previously hit targets will reappear). Certain squares on the green flash, which if rolled over at any time (not just while flashing) will teleport the ball back to the start of the green.

Version changes[edit]

Due to the lack of a mouse or similar pointing device, the Sega Genesis edition of the game omitted the 'Magic Carpet' hole. Instead, the 'Mystery' bonus hole from the computer game appears after 'Ant Hill', although it was renamed 'Knockout Nightmare'.

The DOS version also included a code wheel as a form of copy protection. Before the Hamburger hole, the game gives a prompt which requires the player to rotate the wheel into a certain position. Giving the correct result allows the player to continue the game.

The musical score in the original version was designed to exploit the unique 15-voice Ensoniq music synthesizer in the Apple IIGS computer. For this reason other ports, while most were able to mimic the game graphically, had to be considerably scaled down in terms of the music quality. For example, the music in the DOS version is limited to the PC speaker and the Amiga version had to omit musical instruments as well as cut out notes because of its 4-voice limit (which was further limited due to the use of in game sound effects requiring further voices).


The game was reviewed in 1989 in Dragon #144 by Hartley, Patricia, and Kirk Lesser in "The Role of Computers" column. The reviewers gave the game 5 out of 5 stars.[1] Compute! described Zany Golf as "a moderately challenging game with topnotch graphics and sound".[2]


  1. ^ Lesser, Hartley; Lesser, Patricia; Lesser, Kirk (April 1989). "The Role of Computers". Dragon (144): 60–68.
  2. ^ English, David (July 1989). "Zany Golf". Compute!. p. 71. Retrieved 11 November 2013.

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