The Mini Golf Enthusiast

A Mini Blog About a Mini Sport

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Drinking and Golfing for a Good Cause

The Barstool Open, a series of national charity events, combines two favorite leisure time activities into one stumblingly entertaining fundraising extravaganza. Think pub crawl with putters. Most of the events benefit United Cerebral Palsy, but I found one in Minnesota whose proceeds are given to the Special Olympics.

Golfers hitting the links and the drinks at the Kansas City Open.

Decatur, IL already hosted its 2007 event which had 828 participants and raised more than $30,000 for United Cerebral Palsy. The Herald and Review provides some details of the alcohol soaked fun:

The Barstool Open involves a series of miniature golf rounds played by teams who are shuttled or driven by designated drivers between 28 bars and restaurants in the Decatur area. Each business builds its own creative golf hole to test the skill of the players, who even get to vote on their favorite challenge.

You may just find yourself doing the golf club limbo after a few rounds of drink and golf.

If you would like to participate, other Barstool Opens are taking place in: Kansas City (February 24th), Lincoln, Nebraska (simultaneous events on February 24th taking place at two different sets of bars), Omaha, Nebraska (February 10th), Erie, Pennsylvania (February 24), and Minneapolis (February 10th). Those are the Opens I could find, check your local area to see if one is taking place close to where you live. All of the events with the exception of Minneapolis' benefits United Cerebral Palsy.

Image: skugs
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Saturday, February 03, 2007

What's in a Name?

In an unusual move to say the least, newly married New Zealand couple Greg Marshall and Adrienne Foley decided to wager which one of their last names they would use as a family. In a wedding dress and tux, the couple decided their fate by playing a round of miniature golf. If she won, they would be known to the world as the Foleys; if he won they would adopt Marshall as their moniker.

According to, Ms. Foley, knowing that her husband to be had more putting experience and thus an advantage in the upcoming match, used pyschological strategies before the game to try to balance the playing field. Despite her efforts, she lost, however, and will now be known as Mrs. Foley. While a married woman keeping her name is somewhat rare, it is all but impossible to find a husband who takes his wife's name. I give him credit for being so open minded, but then again, he did seem to have the edge.

Congratulations to the happy couple!

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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Traveling Golf

Karen Winkler at the Fredda Turner Durham Children's Museum, part of the Museum of the Southwest, (in Midland, TX) saw a mini golf exhibit at a museum she visited and thought it would be a good idea for the Children's Museum, but the traveling show was too cost prohibitive. Many good ideas are born out of necessity and the Museum developed a nine-hole portable mini golf course featuring holes inspired by different countries. As reported in the Midland Reporter-Telegram:
The response has been 'great,' said Winkler. 'All ages can play it. The younger ones just play for the sake of playing. The older ones actually use a score card that we've designed.

After they have played a round of golf, they have to find an answer for the fill-in-the-blank question on each hole. And we have just odd and unusual facts about each country at each hole.

For example, the India hole is named "All for Love" and shows the Taj Mahal. The fill-in-the-blank question reads: "You have to remove your _______ before entering the Taj Mahal."

The around-the-world locations featured are London, England, North America's National Parks, India, Africa, Italy, Australia, South America, Mexico and China.

A clever aspect of the "Global Golf: Just Puttin' a Round" exhibit is that the Museum can lend it out to other museums (right now you may see it at the Grace Museum in Abilene, TX) for a an affordable fee which helps the Museum of the Southwest to generate revenue while providing other museums with an interesting interactive exhibit that they can afford.

Image: Biepmiep
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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Random Acts of Golf

If you have read much of this blog, you will know that this all started to record and celebrate the "old school" courses filled with fantastical windmills, creepy clowns, and mini replicas of local landmarks. I felt starting this blog was necessary because it seems as though these courses with character are being replaced as more and more with standardized "pirate" themes, superfluous running water that comes from and goes to nowhere, and courses trying to replicate "big" golf, becoming no more than glorified putting greens for "big" golfers to practice putts. I have found other sites that similarly celebrate the inventive side of golf. The first,, shares an irreverent tour of a classic course in Tucson, AZ. has an amazing photo collection of courses often accompanied by historical notes.

Here's to the old ones!

Image: Brent and Marilynn

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Sunday, January 21, 2007

Pros Caught on Tape!

Want to know what it's like to live life as a mini golf pro? Think you have what it takes? CBS 2 Chicago recently caught up with some players at the U.S. Masters of Mini Golf tournament revealing their dedication, some amazing putts, and a few tips along the way.

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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Mini Golf Game of the Month - Nabiscoworld

Who knew that the most challenging, free, online 36 holes of miniature golf would come from Nabisco? At they created two 18-hole courses (course 1, course 2) that are not for the weak of heart or those who get easily frustrated. While not very visible, you may notice in the graphic below that my score by hole twelve on course 2 is 106. (Scores definitely improve with practice.) These courses are tough, but very creative if you can get past all of the product placement.

It is hard to miss that Hole 12 draws its inspiration from Chips Ahoy.

May I also suggest playing the game on a full stomach as Nabisco products figure prominently as obstacles and "decoration." Even if you do not eat their creations, after staring at cookies, crackers, and other treats for a half an hour you are bound to work up an appetite.

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Sunday, January 14, 2007

Finding Indoor (and Outdoor) Courses

Just because winter seems to have finally arrived doesn't mean your mini golfing activities should go into hibernation. It can be difficult to find listings of indoor mini golf courses. In fact, I didn't find any that specifically listed only indoor golf, but I found several websites that compile master-lists of mini golf courses which you can use as a base to find the indoor golf course of your dreams:

Excite - List of U.S. and international courses
Miniature Golf Courses - Alphabetical list of US courses by state
Quicknetguide - Random list of courses - Alphabetical by name of course - mostly U.S. some international
Professional Miniature Golf Association - List of courses by state - An excellent source of courses that you search by zip code

Visual cacophony surrounds you when you play glow golf.

Another strategy to find an indoor golfing venue is to use your favorite search engine to enter the terms "glow golf." All the rage right now, a new glow in the dark course seems to be built every week. Using black lights and dizzyingly painted scenery and obstacles, mini golf has learned what bowling did many years ago, that by adding darkness and neon glowing paint you can transform an ordinarily fun experience into an extreme sport of sensory overload.

An additional way to find courses, as unlikely as it may seem, is to go to, the photography site, and enter the terms "glow golf" or "indoor mini golf." Not only will you see great photographs of courses, but usually, the photographs have search tags indicating where the photographer took the picture. A couple companies I know of, The Putting Edge, and Monster Golf are building glow golf empires. The Putting Edge has several locations including: Chicago (suburbs), Denver, Detriot, Memphis, and St. Louis. The website lists all of the locations.

Monster Golf has a bit more subdude color scheme but is more interactive. You can read an extensive review of the course here. They have several New England locations and others in New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Georgia, and Pennsylvania.

I played at the Putting Zone's Lincolnshire, IL course a couple of years ago, and I have to say the course was not challenging, but it felt as though I entered a fantastical landscape and it certainly beats going months without playing golf.

Image: Amarnath

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Saturday, January 13, 2007

Saving T-Rex

Most dinosaur conservation efforts involve archeologists piecing together the remains of an historical past. In Jacksonville, Florida, dinosaur conservation takes its more art historical meaning as students from the University of North Florida will work to restore a local landmark, a towering mini-golf staple, to its former glory. In April, the T-Rex will undergo sandblasting, pressure washing, and needed repairs to be covered by a fresh coat of paint. The restoration itself is not particularly unusual, although I do celebrate its preservation, what makes this conservation effort particularly noteworthy, is that the mini golf course no longer exists. Once an icon luring people to its fake grass interior, over time, it became a notable landmark of its own worthy of keeping. The developer of the site will work with the University of North Florida Building and Construction Management Program to restore the dinosaur, which I find to be particularly a remarkable partnership. Developers do not have reputations for expressing nostalgic attachments to existing structures.

All I have to say is, "Bravo!"

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Sunday, January 07, 2007

Indoor Mini Golf Tournament Extravaganza

Book your calendars, Blackberries, or your memory, and get to Des Moines, Iowa on February 3rd for the 22nd annual Skywalk Open Golf Tournament. Billed as the largest indoor mini golf event of its kind, the city's downtown skyways become a 57-hole temporary golf course.

Golf above ground in the skyways of Des Moines, Iowa

The event hosts three separate 19-hole courses. Everyone gets a bit of help, after playing 19 holes in a course, the best scores from 18 of the holes count in the final score. The event is expected to draw about 2,000 players. Refreshements and entertainment add to the golfing festivities.

A pirate-themed hole from Skywalk Golf 2006

If you register on or before January 25th the fee is $20.00 per golfer. The fee rises to $25.00 after that date. You may find specific details at the Downtown Des Moines Skywalk Golf website. Based on website images, product placement and sponsorship appear to strongly influence hole-design and themes, but it nonetheless looks like a lot of winter-time golfing fun.

Images: electricbluesound, Downtown Des Moines Skywalk Golf

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Saturday, January 06, 2007

Give Golf a Chance

Sometimes things just don't work out. In Şanlıurfa, Turkey Adil Müslüm Özkan opened a nine-hole minature golf course to introduce residents to the sport which has gained popularity in Instanbul. In a move quicker than Fox network cancelling a new television program, he was so dissapointed in the opening-day turnout, that he decided to close the course the very same day. As reported in the Turkish Daily News, the owner stated:
I wanted to introduce the locals to alternative types of sports. Golf is both a sport and allows social interaction. People in Istanbul play it all the time, and I thought people in the East deserved it, too. However, I was humiliated when no one came. I will gather everything up and return to Istanbul.
Personally, I would advocate a little time to give mini golf a chance, but that certainly demonstrates my Western capitalistic sensibilites, and I certainly don't blame him for being upset. It is very unfortunate, however, as the course looks like a fun diversion to me. Now if residents decide to play, it seems as though they will have to commute to Istanbul.

Image: Turkish Daily News

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Sunday, December 31, 2006

Table Top Mini Golf

Challenged by the cost of developong a full-scale indoor mini golf course, Scott and Andrea Davis who run Bubba's Family Fun Center in Richmond, MI (north-northeast of Detroit) decided to create a more cost-effective alternative, table top mini golf. The Macomb Daily reports that:

Tabletop golf at Bubba's is played on modular tables about three feet above the ground, covered in artificial turf. You hit the balls with one of three swing-arm pendulum "clubs:" the driver (red), fairway (white) and putter (blue). The driver, the heaviest of the three, remains stationary at the beginning of each hole, but the other two can be moved.

There are also a few obstacles to increase the difficulty of each hole, such as a bump in the green or a board with a hole in it across the fairway. Davis intends to add more, including water hazards.

For those who want a novel challenge or who have back injuries or strain this offers an interesting alternative to traditional mini golf. If you live in or find yourself in the Detroit area, you may just want to test your skills.

Image: miscpix

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Monday, December 18, 2006

Holiday Break Mini Golf Crafts

Winter break is just about upon us and for those who have children, it means finding worthwhile entertainment and distractions. Why not combine the thrill of mini golf with a skills-building creativity outlet by making your own course? It need not be the elaborate 18-hole basement golf course built as a Christmas present I wrote about in October. Most of the course ideas I found use basic items found around the home or in some cases, outside the home. You do not need to worry about having golf clubs either, several of the sites included below offer their own suggestions for club replacements.

Snow golf from

Just because it is winter, that shouldn't stop those of us who live in the cold climes from enjoying a little outdoor golfing fun. We are hearty right? presents an intriguing idea - making your own winter wonderland course outdoors in the snow by packing it down to simulate putting greens. I am not too keen on the use of food dye to color snow, but the idea certainly sounds fun. Use a broom or a hocky stick as a putter and tap your imagination to create snow-based or object-based obstacles. Of course, this idea requires snow. But fret not, the folks at, also have course ideas for those living in warmer environments who don't mind destroying their yards with holes. They suggest digging holes in the ground with trowels and then placing small flower pots in them to create golf holes.

If digging in the dirt or braving cold temperatures do not sound appealing, there are plenty of indoor golf ideas. Highlights, the children's magazine, has a suggestion for teachers that could easily translate to the home, hosting a children's mini golf party. They provide ideas for invitations, mini golf activities, and even mini golf-themed snacks!

For those of you feeling tempted by the allure of paint, shares ideas for a Safari-themed indoor course, including a clever suggestions for creating "holes" using construction paper and a juice can lid and making golf balls from aluminum foil. Additional inspiration may be found in the "Activity Library" at Creative Kids that lists some ideas for DIY indoor golf. Another source of ideas may be found at the Science Museum of Minnesota where children documented the development of their own course.

Safari golf from

Once you create your course, having coordinating golf balls is a finishing touch. shares a super easy and quick ball painting activity or if the children are old enough they can paint their own elaborate designs on the balls.

These projects prove that mini golfing isn't just for summer anymore.


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Thursday, December 14, 2006

Miss Putt Putt - Mini Golf and Beauty

Hole-in-one contests. Okay, that makes sense. Mini golf tournament. Nothing too special about that. Beauty contest, woah, wait a minute, beauty contest? Mini golf and beauty pageants, beauty pageants and mini golf, who knew these two seemingly incongruous worlds ever met?

Will the real Miss Putt Putt please stand up?

A nostalga/history column in Missssippi's Sun Herald recently feaured a flashback to Miss Putt Putt 1958. Yes, that is right, the Putt Putt family of mini golf establishments sponsored national events including a beauty contest. The winner received $500 (not too shabby) and a free trip across the U.S. What, no free mini golf or putter? I guess you could use your winnings to buy all the mini golf one could handle. I wonder what shape the tiara took. The jokes to be made here are just too easy. The article offers no specific information on the requirements of the contest. Did young women have to navigate the course in outrageously large ballgowns? Were they required to answer interview questions related to their favorite golf hole or their best score?

Unfortunately, for now, this must remain a mystery, but we certainly can have some fun speculating.

Image: mhofstrand

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Monday, December 11, 2006

Mini Golf Game of the Month - Holiday Mini Putt

Don't let the basic graphics fool you, this twelve-hole course, simply called Holiday Mini Putt, packs in the fun. Don't let the name fool you either, the holiday theme is pretty much limited to the names of the golf holes (cleverly inspired by the "Twelve Days of Christmas") and graphics between the holes updating the score, but it nonetheless is a worthwhile distraction from holiday chores and stresses. At the end of the game, you are given the option of spreading the fun to others via email.

Happy Holidays!

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Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Golf For All

Kiel Christianson at blogs shares an inspirational mini golf story. Erich Sollenberger, a high school teacher in Metairie, Louisiana who heads the school's Horitculture Club, worked with his club (itself comprised of severely autistic children) to create a mini golf course for paralyzed kids. Mr. Sollenberger remarks:
'I have had many speaking engagements...and I can tell you that the audiences are confused about kids with broken necks playing [miniature golf]. [Then] I pull out an electric putter that fits onto a wheelchair, and I get big fat smiles all around. That's when they start to get it.'

'The putter has an up and down mechanism run by a battery. The battery lifts the putter over the pavers that outline the course. [The player] lifts the putter by a toggle switch near his thumb and chest. Each person that uses the putter will be different and we will have to adjust. Once the wheelchair bound person gets to the ball he runs into the ball to propel it forward.'

He reports that the putter is one of a kind engineered by biomedical engineers at Tulane University; it will fit on any kind of wheelchair and can be operated by individuals who have paralysis from the neck down.

The course has nine holes and still is a work in progress. If you would like to donate to this project you can contact Mr. Sollenberger at 504-888-7334 at Grace King High School.

Image: jaarons

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