The Mini Golf Enthusiast

A Mini Blog About a Mini Sport

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Par 1

I LOVE mini golf. I am not exactly sure how or when it started, but a few memories float to the surface.

While more adventure-seeking members of the family sought out the rollercoaster and other adrenaline pumping rides at Whalom Park (Lunenburg, MA), I fondly remember wanting to ride the bumper cars and walk through the fun house. But I would leave the highlight of the park until last – the 18 hole miniature golf course. I also have vague memories of “working the links” at Salisbury Beach (also in MA).

What stands out in my mind most of all, however, was a mini golf birthday party I attended when I was at the cusp of teenagerhood. I hadn’t golfed for several years; I either was too “cool” or too distracted growing up to think that mini golf was an activity worth pursuing.

That all changed at that fateful party. Surrounded by friends, laughing hysterically at how poorly most of us played, I somehow became permanently hooked on hitting a brightly colored ball through ridiculously sized animals, mini replicas of local and national icons, moving objects, and mysterious tunnels. I am not exactly sure why it is so alluring and addictive. I suspect that similar to “big” golf players, I love the endless possibilities of new challenges and creativity. A new course and its unique challenges always exist somewhere. The best courses also allow you to see what symbols are important to the local community –the replicas of favorite buildings, landmarks, and natural features, sometimes executed in beautifully rich detail (sometimes not), memorialize place and are artistic achievements in their own right.

This blog is dedicated to all things mini golf but was initially motivated by the mission to record mini golf culture. A couple of years ago, when my local mini golf course, located in Chicago’s Lincoln Park, a perfectly interesting and challenging course that had retro charm including a very memorable suspension bridge hole, became “gentrified” into a boring, just like a big golf greens course, I mourned the loss of yet another “old school” course.

I don’t want mini golf to replicate big golf or be a practice green for big golf players! Give me windmills, clowns heads, and dinosaurs to maneuver around and through. The creativity of such holes is what makes the sport fun. From that moment on, I pledged to take pictures of my favorite golf holes wherever I traveled to preserve them, because it seems as though the mini golf building trend seems to favor artificially bright blue water cascading over fake cliffs that more or less replicate big golf greens.

I got spurred into action to create this blog, however, when I learned that a classic, famous mini golf course in Mount Prospect, IL just closed its doors forever. Somehow I missed playing that course! So this blog’s goal is to present reviews of courses, share pictures or descriptions of favorite holes, share quirky or interesting mini golf stories/news to provide information for fellow golfers as a celebration of the sport. Thank you for reading and I hope that you will share your favorites so that your fellow golfers will know where they should fulfill their next golfing fix. Happy golfing!!

(image: hole at now-defunct Par King course, Morton Grove, Illinois; copyright MGE)
tags: | | |