acoupleofputts

The minigolf adventures of Tom and Robin.


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Walker on the Green 2014 – Minneapolis, MN

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Played on numerous occasions throughout the Summer 2014

Reviewed by Mr. Tee

The 4th iteration of the Walker Artist-Designed Mini Golf course came only one year after the 3rd iteration. After spacing this project out every couple of years in 2004, 2008 and 2013, the Walker made a call for designs in the Fall of 2013 for a full 18 hole course to be installed May 2014. Unlike previous years, artists and architects would submit a design and if their idea was selected, it would be fabricated by a local company, not the designers. 10 new holes, including one by us, were selected in Winter 2013 to join 8 holes held over from the previous version of the course. Unlike 2013, there would be no unifying visual theme but just 8 “garden” themed holes from 2013 and 10 new unrelated holes.  A huge perk of having our design selected was the ability to play the course for free throughout the summer. This review comes after playing about 15-20 times including one time playing with the amazing Risa Puno. If you’re not familiar with her, we’ll have more on her soon!

Rating:

Birdie – How can we not be biased? Our design was a signature final hole on the “A” course and we were given a new place to play the game we love in our hometown that we could visit throughout the Summer. The new additions to the course were built by the same company which made for more consistent play and visual experience than in previous years. Yet, the one issue we had with this year’s course was play. Visually, the new holes looked fantastic but some of the aesthetics came at the expense of the play. Numerous new holes had smooth, non-turfed playing areas that made for frustrating and unnecessarily challenging putting. This created longer wait times for groups to finish. The angles of ramps and hills didn’t consistently reward skilled shots and we found ourselves searching for ways to work around what appeared to be the natural route towards the cup. The course is leaps and bounds better than average but lacked the personality and character of the previous years. The photos below feature all of the newest additions and one picture of a hole from last year.

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We Make a Big Announcement on “The Wrap”

In conjunction with the re-airing of the MNOriginal episode featuring the Walker’s 2013 Mini Golf (showing this Sunday at 6 and 10pm on tpt2), we were invited to the studios of Twin Cities Public Television to be featured on The Wrap, Almanac’s post-show web-exclusive segment. You can click on the photo below to check out the video.

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And yes, you heard the Pink Putter right, we have been invited by Virginia Commonwealth University’s campus in Doha, Qatar to participate in their biennial international art and design conference, Tasmeem Doha! The 2015 edition will focus on the theme of ‘playfulness’ by using an Arabizi word ‘3ajeeb!’ (ahh-jhee-b) which is a common expression meaning “strange in a strange way, cool in a cool way, and slightly weird in a slightly weird way.” We are so excited to be Artists-in-Residence this November to help the students design and fabricate a mini golf course that they will finish before March. We’ll then get to go back to Doha for the conference in March to see (and play!) the completed course.

When we started this blog we didn’t think we’d be featured by anyone, let alone on a popular Minnesota TV program. Now that we’ve been given opportunity to talk about our love of the game with people from around the world in the Middle East we’re on cloud nine. Stay tuned for lots more information and blog posts about this adventure!


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Round1 – Osaka, Japan

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Played May 27th, 2014

Reviewed by the Pink Putter

During our time in Japan, we took a 2.5 day excursion out of Tokyo and down to Kyoto and Osaka. Admittedly, we didn’t plan this part of the trip out so well and I was under the weather for its duration. Regardless, we were on the hunt for mini golf and after some internet searches we found out about Round1.

From what we can tell, Round1 is a sport and entertainment chain local to Osaka. You pay by the hour and have unlimited access to bowling, billiards, basketball, volleyball, archery, batting cages, tennis, roller skating, arcade games, indoor fishing(!), reading rooms, karaoke and more. This location also had a full floor of pachinko and another of skill crane games. We went first thing on a weekday morning, so it was really quiet. We paid for one hour and it was around $20-$25 each.

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Burn Golf – Yokohama, Japan

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Played May 24, 2014

Reviewed by the Pink Putter

As part of a fellowship that I received this past year, Mr. Tee and I found ourselves in Tokyo for 2.5 weeks visiting amusement parks, children’s museums, themed restaurants and mini golf (all in the name of research, of course!). With a culture chock full of cute kitsch, it’s surprising that mini golf isn’t big in Japan. We looked hard and managed to find only one course in all of Tokyo, well actually Yokohama, and another in Osaka (review to come).

Yokohama is known as “Minatomurai” or “City of the Future.” It’s home to Nissan headquarters, an amusement park, a beautiful Chinatown, the Anpanman Children’s Museum, a cruise ship port, the Cup Noodle Museum, Sweets Cranes and Burn Golf. If you don’t know the area, Burn Golf, or as some signs read “Bahn Golf”, was a bit tricky to find, but the view alone is worth the journey. Lucky for us, our friends Hideo and Danielle joined, and guided, us in the adventure. In case you are looking, it’s on the roof of a mall just across the street from the Cup Noodle Museum.

Rating:

Birdie – While playing overseas was certainly a unique experience, this course fell just above average. The classic tournament style layout reminded us a lot of Tee Time 2 in Stone Harbor, NJ, which we also gave a Birdie rating. The rules here were slightly different, each hole had small divots built into it so that if your ball lands outside the painted line, you were directed place your ball on the divot to start your next shot. There was also a rule about getting your ball past the red line on the first shot. The rooftop was windy and the view was amazing. Everything was clean and just a little faded from being out in the sun.

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Walker’s Artist-Designed Mini Golf – Opens Today!

Don't Blow It!

Don’t Blow It!

This summer’s Artist-Designed Mini Golf at the Walker Art Center is now open and you can play it through September 1st! The course features 18 holes, some favorites from last year as well as a handful of new designs, including ours! Here are some images of our design, “Don’t Blow It!” which is the final hole that collects your ball. And of course, we’ll be playing this often so look for a thorough review in the coming weeks.

Our rendering.

Our rendering.

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Full view of the final hole.

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Spiral ramp detail.

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Coin slot detail.

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Final 18th!

 

 


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Chula Vista – Wisconsin Dells, WI

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Played July 18, 2013

Reviewed by the Pink Putter

Part of the deal from the 60’s style motel that we stayed in at the Dells was “Fee waterpark tickets!” Upon check-in, we were handed day passes to Chula Vista, so on our way out of town we figured it’s free, why not stop by. As we should have expected, the park was small, underwhelming and crowded. But hey, you get what you pay for. We quickly tired of waiting in long lines for a 20 second thrill, so made our way to the nearly empty mini golf course.

Rating:

Par – This vaguely southwestern themed course is set in the middle of the water park, thus it’s surrounded by an array of water slides. The greens were clean and fairly well-maintained, but the play was just average. There were a handful of faux sand traps, water obstacles, and one or two holes with pipe play (that I can recall). The decor was slightly above average and consisted of faux rocks, bright blue water and storage sheds guised as adobo styled houses. However, it would have been more interesting if the adorning architecture was more directly linked to the play. On the afternoon that we played, it was very hot and sunny out and the course didn’t have any shady retreats or easily accessible drinking water. If you get into Chula Vista for free like we did, I’d say give the mini golf a shot. But the course costs $6.95 plus tax to play in addition to the waterpark’s regular $30 admission price, in which case I’d say pass this one up.

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Walker Artist-Designed Mini Golf 2014: We’re in again!

We are excited to announce that the Walker Art Center is doing another artist-designed course this summer and we are thrilled to once again be a part of it. This year’s course is comprised of a few favorites from last year (including Tilt-a-Putt, Gopher Hole, Move-Your-Hole, 18-holes-in-one and Rock! the Garden) as well as 10 brand new hole designs from Minnesota artists, architects, designers…and us!

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