The Mini Golf Enthusiast

A Mini Blog About a Mini Sport

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Fighting Obesity One Golf Game at a Time

A nursery school in Britain set up a nine-hole "crazy golf" course, as our friends across the pond term it, to help wee-ones stay fit. The lucky children even have access to a pro golf coach to teach them how to putt. Now that is swank!

As if that weren't enough, each hole has a letter shape that spells out "crazy golf" so they can learn their letters as well. It may not burn as many calories as chasing squirrels or climbing trees, but anything that engages children and gets them moving is a good thing.

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Saturday, October 28, 2006

Favorite Featured Golf Hole #2 - Loop-the-Loop

Par-King Skill Golf, in Lincolnshire, IL consistently receives local and national attention for its unique obstacles and well-maintained courses (two of them). Unlike Novelty Golf in Lincolnwood, IL (can't say we aren't proud of Lincoln's tenure in our state), the previous location of a mini golf hole favorite, where the lack of maintenance and course design create some very difficult challenges, Par King's courses are meticulously upkept and beautiful to look at but not very challenging. (They themselves will admit that.) This should not lead you to think that they are not fun to play, however.

Hole #9 on the Red Course, features a gravity-defying loop-the-loop. First you need to putt your ball into an opening at the bottom of the elevator/conveyor, the primary challenge of this hole. If you miss, other more conventional (and, might I add, far less dramatic) paths to the golf cup may be used. If you are lucky enough to reach the conveyor, using whatever means necessary, then the anticipation builds as you watch your ball slowly ascend to the top through a plexiglass opening made just for that purpose.

"Super Looper" Hole at Par-King in Lincolnshire, IL

Then gravity works its magic as the ball falls downward into the loop, whipping around (you can't take your eyes off of it or you will miss it) then it makes another short ascent after the loop where the ball is guided to the green below. Players of all ages, yours truly included, seemed captivated by both the speed and physics of this hole.

This is a beautifully executed, dynamic, unique and addictive hole that makes you want to come back for more and more. I never tired of watching the ball cascade down the ramp or the look of amusement and fascination on players’ faces. Height and speed are captivating and you get both with Par-King’s #9.

Image: MGE

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

For the Mini Golfer Who Has Everything

Want to give an unusual gift to that "special someone who has everything" or an "unspecial someone" at work with the intention of creating hours or at least several minutes of beneficial distraction from computer screens and cubicles? Then you should consider commissioning golf ball art by Steve Ellis.

Whether it's a portrait of a beloved family member or pet, your favorite crustacean, or some crazy dream-induced halcyon landscape, Steve Ellis will paint it in miniature on a golf ball. Perhaps it will become your recipient's lucky ball or sit comfortably on a shelf or desk as a pleasant reminder of the summer's mini golf triumphs.

You can pretty much rest assured he or she has not received a similar gift.

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Saturday, October 21, 2006

Sending Vintage Golf - The Good Ol' Days

In my obsessive quest to provide comprehensive resources of all things mini golf, I thought I would share some sites I found that feature images of mini golf's golden past. It can be difficult to find historic images of the sport, but a surprisingly rich and geographically varied historical record may be found in vintage postcards. While some of the sites' primary purpose is to sell postcards, that shouldn't stop you from enjoying a little virtual window browsing (pun fully intended). has a nice collection of European courses.

A small collection of Asbury Boardwalk (NJ) images may be found at has an excellent collection of European and US courses.

If you have the patience to click on each item for sale, also has a nice collection of images. Don't forget to use the search terms miniature golf and mini golf.

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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Miniature St. Andrews

What do you get when you mix alchohol, Playboy Playmates, indoor gallery space, hay-style AstroTurf, and a replica of the Swilcan Bridge in St. Andrews? One heckuva testosterone-filled, kilt-clad, whisky-ignited promotional event that offers a downscale, some might say, mini golf challenge. The Chicago Sun-Times recently described how a Scottish whisky company created a nine hole indoor golf course meant to mimic the grass (reportedly thicker and wilder than its Amercian counterparts) and design of the one the most famous big golf courses in the world, St. Andrews.

Big St. Andrews

Those over 21 years of age (and apparently males) in the Chicago area have until October 20th to play the course free of charge. From there, it will green indoor spaces in Philadelphia, New York, Atlanta, Houston, Denver and San Francisco.

Have a whisky for me.

Image: sansfaime


Monday, October 16, 2006

Mini Golf Game of the Month - Pitch n' Put

While I was hoping to get out to golf once more before cruel, cruel, winter hits us here in the Midwest, it looks as though mother nature has other plans for me and I will have to stick with virtual golf for the time being. Luckily, it is time for the mini golf game of the month here at MGE. I found a charming little course en français Pitch n' Put. The course consists of nine holes played through various rooms in a house. Each room has its own unique set of obstacles and a graphic between holes shows your progress through the house. The addition of family pets in some of the rooms is a nice touch. Enjoy!

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Thursday, October 12, 2006

Reviewing Mini Golf

Want to know where to find the best mini golf in your area? There are dedicated folks out there who take the time to review courses. So if you need to plan your next mini golf adventure, I have compiled a list of review sites. Most of the sites provide reviews of United States and international courses, but I will indicate the type of courses most represented for each link:

Putting Penguin
Lots of reviews of New England and East Coast courses

Mini Golf Connecticut
As the name implies, a list of courses and reviews of CT courses, but they are expanding to cover the Northeast

The Mini-Golf Review Page
A mix of US (mostly Eastern states) with a few international locations

The Professional Miniature Golf Association
A list of US courses including some reviews

Travel Yahoo
US/International mix of reviews
Mostly European reviews

Trip Advisor
A small number of mixed US/international reviews

Insider Pages
Reviews listed by a location that you select

Happy golfing!

Image: Hourman

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Saturday, October 07, 2006

Destination - Spooky Golf

In the last post, I fast-forwarded a bit to the winter holiday season, but Halloween is fast approaching and it seems only appropriate to highlight some ghoulish fun to be had on the miniature golf links.

Consistently making appearances on Illinois' "Top Ten" unusual/quirky/weird lists is Alghrim Acres, a nine-hole death-themed miniature golf course. Okay, there is nothing too unusual about a course that draws from the macabre as its creative inspiration, except that you will find this course located in the basement of a funeral home in suburban Palatine, IL.

Funeral parlor golf at Alghrim Acres

Out of respect for mourners, you may play golf when they do not have a funeral scheduled. So you will need to call ahead to make an appointment. The course is free and you will also find other no-cost amusements such as pinball and video games. You can read more about the course here.

Another spooky golf destination in Illinois is found in Burbank, IL at the Haunted Trails Amusement Park where you may enjoy a little bit o' Halloween fun throughout the summer months. But let's face it, the best time to go is now when one can smell the fresh pumpkin flesh and falling leaves in the air.

Confronting ghosts and ghouls at Haunted Trails

I played this course a few years ago, and my most potent memory was the blood red streams of water. It is not my favorite course, I don't remember the holes being that interesting of a challenge, but it is certainly worth a trip this time year, especially at night.

I will add more courses appropriate for Halloween hijinx as I find them. Until then, enjoy the last couple of weeks of outdoor golf (for those of us in the cold climes).

Spooky Golf Events:

In Kentucky:
The Adventure Falls Miniature Golf Course, in Richmond's Lake Reba Recreational Complex, will host "Glow in the Dark Halloween Golf" from 9-11 p.m. on Tuesday, October 31. (859) 626-0030.

Images: Roadside America,

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Thursday, October 05, 2006

Holiday Gift Ideas - Build Your Own Mini Golf

Well October is upon us and along with pumpkins, apple cider, and fall foliage, it is that time of year where we start getting bombarded with holiday advertisements. While I generally cast an unapproving eye at these early harbingers of winter's chill (and consumerism) I will contribute to the fray. I am making this exception because this gift may take some time coordinate - building your own miniature golf course.

The "Oriental Carpet Remnant" Hole at Mika's Down Under Miniature Golf Course

(Note the clever use of a fan aimed at the face for an added challenge.)

Back in 1996, a man named Matt constructed an entire 18-hole golf course in his basement as a Christmas present. The link I provide is from the "web archive" and unfortunately, some of the photographs will not load, but it has descriptions of the course. It truly is an inspiration and a great way to enjoy some golf when ensared in "The Snow Miser's" grip.

If anyone tries this please let me know!

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