The Mini Golf Enthusiast

A Mini Blog About a Mini Sport

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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