The Mini Golf Enthusiast

A Mini Blog About a Mini Sport

Friday, September 22, 2006

Regrets and the Art of Golf

One of my greatest miniature golf regrets is arriving at the DeCordova Museum in Lincoln, Massachusetts, finding out there was a stupid antiques fair taking place, being too cheap to pay the exorbitant entry into the museum grounds and losing out on an opportunity of a lifetime, the chance to play mini golf on a course created by artists. That was back around 1994 and I still haven't fully recovered.

The DeCordova Museum show "Strokes of Genius" certainly isn't the only example of high art becoming grounded in the pedestrian world of mini golf. Just last week Burlington, Vermont hosted Art/Putt, an artist designed 9 hole course. And last month comic book artists designed holes at The Somerville Open in Somerville, MA. Take a look at the first link for some excellent photographs of the Open's holes.

A mural-graffiti inspired hole at the Art/Putt in Burlington

A friendly monster hole in Somerville. Don't you just want to take it home?

What's better than mixing art with golf? Not much is my answer. Although it is a shame that most of these events or installations are temporary, some lasting as little as one day. Here's an idea - a permanent artist designed miniature golf course. Any one out there listening? If someone is, and this happens (or exists) please let me know because I will make a pilgrimage to the location.

Not everyone agrees that art and mini golf make good bedfellows, however. Thinking About Art strongly disagreed with a plan to devote local exhibition space to an artist designed mini golf course:
This gallery only shows approximately 4 exhibits each year and I can't believe they aren't making better use of the gallery space during the summer months. Sure, the summer months are slow, but why not use this time to put up a sophisticated, cutting-edge exhibit?

Miniature golf? Geez...
What is this snob-a-thon thinking? First, I should say that I am, myself, an artist which is why I appreciate the accessibility and application of skills to this fun sport. And I am not the only one who disagrees. Thinking About Art generated an interesting debate with this post which you can read in the comments section. With some of the vitriol being expressed, you would think that art world might fall apart at the seams when artists dabble in golf.

If history tells us anything, art will survive, even if it occasionally gets mixed up with something as accessible and fun as mini golf.

Images: Burlington Free Press and

Addtional links to artist created mini golf courses/events ( I will add more as find them):
Q-Arts in Derby

Different Strokes at the Zeum Museum in San Francisco

Walker in the Rough - Minneapolis Sculpture Garden

Holocene Mini Golf Art Invitational, Portland, OR, October 24, 2006

Obstacle Art in Las Vegas

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At 11:59 AM, Anonymous Kristin said...

There was an indoor minigolf course called Art Golf in Chicago back in the early '90s. It was in a former industrial building repurposed into a mall of shops that pushed the envelope just ahead of mainstream, but it was doing so well, so it closed in '94 or so and became Smith and Hawken (it's right by Sam's Wines on Elston Avenue a block or two north of North Avenue).

The holes were created by different artists. They weren't terribly elaborate, but the Ozone Hole stayed in my memory: you had to hit a ball up a ramp to make it through a hole cut into a large plastic sphere right over Antarctica in a globe inside. It was the first statement about then-current events that I'd ever seen in a minigolf course.

I don't know why artists are so offended by the idea of blending art with minigolf. It's hard enough getting most people to set foot in a gallery to begin with...I see a minigolf course as a way to begin to educate people about art, take them out of their normal world, make them think a little...


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