acoupleofputts

The minigolf adventures of Tom and Robin.


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Pirate’s Cove Adventure Golf & Family Fun Center (Pirate’s Challenge) – Wisconsin Dells, WI

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Played July 17, 2013

Review by Mr. Tee

The Wisconsin Dells is your typical tourist trap where everyone is competing in gaudiness and size so it makes sense that we immediately went from Timber Falls 4 course 72 hole play-land to the sprawling 5 course 91 hole Pirate’s cove. And we only had to walk half of a block to get there. If you’ve ever been to the Dells then you’ve likely seen a billboard or some signage boasting the size of this place. We’ve reviewed nearly 50 courses but oddly enough, this is the first review of a course by this national chain of “original adventure mini golf” courses. It’s only our second review of a pirate themed course. I remember seeing a number of Pirate’s cover chain courses as a kid on family trips so finally getting to play one was an exciting opportunity.

Rating:

Birdie – Typically we like to play and review every course in an establishment if they have more than 18 holes but 91 holes was a bit too much for us after an already exhausting day and run of the mill experience at Timber Falls. Five full courses plus an extra hole is impressive but size isn’t everything. This is an above par course but there was no notion of considering it for a hole-in-one rating. Maybe I’ll change my tune once I play one of the other courses but I was disappointed by the notion that the most challenging course wasn’t even that difficult. I’m by no means a great mini golfer but I was easily able to get a par score for the entire course on my first attempt on what is considered their “toughest course”.

The greens play fast and are immaculately maintained but the lack of hazards or obstacles related to theme was a let down for both of us. They had treasure chest themed garbage cans and all sorts of signage but thats about it. I’m certain we’ll play here again with the Dells being a nice stopping off point on road trips to Chicago but as you’ll see in the pictures and videos below, it’s just short of a next level mini golf destination.

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Timber Falls Mini Golf – Wisconsin Dells, WI

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Played July 17, 2013

Reviewed by the Pink Putter

On our drive to Chicago for Pitchfork music festival last summer, we made our traditional midway stop at the Wisconsin Dells. Growing up on the east coast, I come to think of the Dells as the Jersey Shore of the midwest. Like the boardwalks of Wildwood and Ocean City, it’s chock full of water parks, chintzy t-shirt and fudge shops and of course, mini golf. After walking from our classic 60′s motel  to grab a quick bite downtown, we sought out the first of two courses we’d play that night, Timber Falls. We had seen a number of billboards in town trying to sway us there, boasting “kids golf free” in giant text. The view of the main entrance, with its bright lights and waterfalls, stood out from the main road. Unfortunately, like most things in the Dells, once you get through the fancy front door it’s quantity over quality.

Rating:

Par – Timber Falls is comprised of four courses in one, so the property is quite large. It’s got lots of trees, water features and great lighting for nighttime play. The entrance is impressive with its neon signage, oversized water mill, faux rock formations and cascading water. Just inside the entrance is a small petting zoo where you can buy food to feed the animals including ducks, goats and a donkey. In fact, the highlight of the course was an adorable baby goat standing on a donkey’s back just next to Hole 1. It was probably one of the cutest things I’ve ever seen. But beyond the facade, the play is just average. The terrain undulates up and down, thus integrating a series of staircases into the landscape. While the course makes some use of the different levels through hills and pipe play, it certainly had the potential to be used more creatively. Based on the fun look of the entrance, we expected comparable kitsch on the inside as well. However, obstacles were limited to rocks and some water play. The turf was in rough condition on many of the holes and the overall play was just mediocre, leaving this course just short of a Birdie.

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We’re on TV!

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We were featured on MN Original as part of a piece on last Summer’s Walker Art Center artist designed ‪mini golf‬ course. The video also features curator of the course Scott Stulen. There is a great piece on MN Original about his work as well.

 

 

You can watch our video in the Twin Cities on TV with the times below. First airing is on Sunday night.
Date           Time       Channel
3/30/2014    6:00       PM 2
3/30/2014    10:00     PM 2
3/31/2014    7:00       PM SW MN
3/31/2014    1:00       AM SW MN
3/31/2014    7:00       AM SW MN
3/31/2014    4:00       AM 2
4/3/2014      9:30      PM Life
4/4/2014      3:30      AM Life
6/9/2014      7:00      PM SW MN


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Par-King Skill Golf Red Course – Lincolnshire, IL

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Played on June 3, 2013

Reviewed by Mr. Tee

The Pink Putter summed up why we made a special effort to play Par King. This is one review where even the pictures and videos don’t tell the full story of how special it is. This Midwestern mini golf mecca is the epitome of what we like in mini golf. Our east coast road trip was book ended Par-King and Vitense. Between the two you have the five best courses we have played to date.

Rating: 

Hole-in-one - It doesn’t get much better than this. It’s the Magic Kingdom of mini golf hidden in the burbs of Chicago. No repeat holes, paths to the cup that include motorized elevators, massive fiberglass characters and challenging play. The only criticism I had with the experience was the music. A playlist of tepid jammy late pop rock that included Dave Matthews Band, Barenaked Ladies, Black Eyed Peas, and Ben Harper attempted to throw me off my game . While this musical combination is a perfect recipe for me wanting to jam a scoring pencil through my ear drums, it couldn’t get in the way of the most spectacular mini golf we’ve played to date. If you’re looking at building a mini golf course, Par-King is a perfect starting point of reference.

 

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Par-King Skill Golf Black Course – Lincolnshire, IL

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Played June 3, 2013

Reviewed by The Pink Putter

Being mini golf lovers, we’ve naturally done our research on some of the world’s best courses. Almost every article we find (like this, this and this) list Par-King as one of them. We had also seen videos like the feature on the Travel Channel. So of course we made it our top priority to stop there on the drive home from Pennsylvania, and it was without a doubt worth the detour! We had high expectations for Par-King and all of them were beyond exceeded. To date, this is by far the best two courses we have ever played. Each of the two deserve their own review, so I’ll be taking the Black Course and stay tuned for Mr. Tee’s review of the Red Course.

Rating:

Hole-in-One – Based off its immaculate appearance and impeccably maintained greens, the owners of Par-King clearly take pride in their course. The entire property, from the parking lot to inside the gates, was pristine and clean. Everything was fresh and bright, which is no surprise considering that every inch of the course is repainted at the beginning of each season. The staff were friendly, eager to guide us in the right direction and even gave us some tips, tricks and course info. But beyond all this, the real stand out of Par-King is that it is the epitome of classic mini golf kitsch. Every hole is extremely unique, thoughtfully designed, and fun to both look at and play. Don’t just take my word for it, check out the photos and videos below to get a good sense of Par-King’s greatness. Better yet, make a trip out to Lincolnshire and play it for yourself!

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Professor Hacker’s Lost Treasure Golf – Lancaster, PA

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Played June 1, 2013 Reviewed by Mr. Tee. Played with Mike G. and Tom R. (not Mr. Tee)

Our summer trip out east coincided with my yearly aging reminder (aka my birthday) and for this day I was to be without the Pink Putter for the first half of the day because she was attending to her role as part of the bridal party for her friend’s wedding. Anticipating this free time I planned on getting in some mini golf and wrangled two other guys who’s gals were also in the bridal party. Unbeknownst to me, Lancaster, Pennsylvania is a bustling tourist area and my online reconnoissance of this city uncovered 9 courses near where we were staying. After searching through pictures and descriptions, Professor Hacker’s seemed to be the most compelling option. I mean, come on; they have a massive boat in the middle of the course. My two playing partners, Mike and Tom, were excellent sports and indulged my birthday desire to play both of the courses. With blazing hot weather beaming down our necks, we searched high and low for a golden golf experience.

Rating:

Birdie  – The pirate theme is quite common for mini golf but oddly enough, this is the first course we’ve reviewed that utilized this trope. Visually, Professor Hacker’s kept the Pirates of the Caribbean look throughout the whole course with the use of signs, barrels, cave and a massive sailing ship. We specifically decided to play the the gold course after playing the diamond course so we could ensure playing the hole located on the floating vessel. Where the course fell short was in game play. As you can see in the pictures below, the hole placement and layout lacks imagination. The greens were immaculate but just not particularly notable. It’s too bad because a little more variation and this two course adventure would be a hole-in-one in my book.

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Skyway Open 2014 – Minneapolis, MN

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Played February 22, 2014

Reviewed by Mr. Tee

Minnesota winters are not the most pleasant, but this year’s has been officially miserable. I’m finishing this review on a day where we are celebrating 24 degrees (Fahrenheit for our friends outside the US) as warm. Fortunately, the Skyway Open once again proved to be a ray of sunlight amongst the sub-zero temps. If you’re interested in the history of this annual temporary course/fundraiser event, you can look at our review from last year and our guest review of the 2012 course. We’ll let the photos do most of the talking for this year.

Rating:

Hole-In-One - Like last year’s course, the designs, play value and quality of construction varied greatly. Yet despite these differences, six of the 19 holes drew their main inspiration from the Mill City Ruins / Stone Arch Bridge. If you aren’t from Minneapolis, this iconic view of the downtown is chock full of history and is an extremely  popular summer destination. In 2012, the Pink Putter did a massive public art piece across the bridge, so we are quite familiar with the area. It makes sense as a theme to transport players to a happy place  and the landscape lends itself to a slew of game play designs. While this theme was a touch overused, the play of the six holes varied enough to distinguish them from each other.

Between the number of strong hole designs and high level of fun, this year surpassed our 2013 experience. Numerous holes had a wide array of paths, tunnels, obstacles and challenges that would make for fun over multiple rounds. Unfortunately, the course was only up for three days. We’ll let the photos below do most of the talking. Our only major qualm was the structural fragility of a handful of holes. We stopped by to photograph and see what the course looked like on opening night and by the next afternoon, several of the motorized features were no longer spinning. I’m willing to overlook this because we appreciate the level of ambition displayed throughout the course that was lacking at times last year, especially considering this is only a one-weekend event..

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