acoupleofputts

The minigolf adventures of Tom and Robin.


Leave a comment

Centennial Lakes Mini Golf – Edina, MN

IMG_9469

Played on September 13, 2014

Review by Mr. Tee

This 24 acre pond and park was brought to our attention by our guest reviewer/designer Jared. We had meant to play the course with him but feeling spontaneous celebrating our three year anniversary, we decided to take it in on a rare warm Fall Minnesota day.

Rating:

Par - If you’ve followed our blog at all, you’ll know that our bias leans towards kitsch / fun themed courses with lots of oversized obstacles. I gave the game of golf a try as a kid and it just never stuck. Mini golf was far more fun and less frustrating. All of this explains why we gave this a course our “average” rating of par. The course is meticulously landscaped and maintained. The real sand traps and large pond were a fun change of pace for us. The surrounding park is nice but it’s hard to ignore the massive condos and shopping malls outlining the whole area. If you’re a golfer, it’s definitely a good place to bone up on your putting skills. It definitely challenged us and I don’t believe either of us even got par on any of the holes. If you’re bringing kids that aren’t regular golfers or if you’re putting skills aren’t so hot, it could be a long frustrating experience.

Continue reading


Leave a comment

Putt’er There – Como Park, St. Paul, MN

DSC_5108

Played on September 6, 2014

Reviewed by the Pink Putter

Putt’er There has been a course on our docket for many years, but for no good reason we put off playing there until a beautiful Saturday this past September. It was an extra good day for me because I won by quite a bit (which rarely happens against the highly skilled Mr. Tee). This course has been family owned and operated for over 50 years. In 1999 it went through a major makeover which transformed it from 9 holes to a full 18.

On a somewhat related note: In one of our favorite books, Miniature Golf, there are two pages with photos from a “Fairway Golf Range” in St. Paul, MN. This course no longer exists but may or may not have been located where Putt’er There is today. After much research, I’ve learned some of the story and know the two courses were at least close to one another. Fairway Golf Range (or Fairview Golf Center as I’ve seen it called) was owned by a man named Norbert “Norb” Anderson, a gifted golfer who sadly passed in January 2013. Norb began manufacturing fiberglass animals in 1972. He partnered with Jerry Vettrus to form a company called Sculptured Advertising, which would later become the infamous F.A.S.T. Corporation in Sparta, WI – best known for it’s fiberglass graveyard. Although Norb was eventually bought out of the company, he managed to keep a heard of animals, many of which ended up at his mini golf course as well as a black angus that was paraded annually for the Minnesota State Fair. A few Google searches brought up a slew of news articles (like this and this) reporting on a number of his animals that have been stolen and returned over the years. I wish I knew more as to Fairview Golf Center’s exact location and history. If you have any information to add to this story, please write me at acoupleofputts@gmail.com!

Continue reading


Leave a comment

#minigolfmiddleeast

10806494_10152572764717809_9203005410000264886_n

For two weeks this November, we had an amazing opportunity to work with the students, faculty and staff at Virginia Commonwealth University Qatar to design and start building a 9 hole mini golf course. This was in tandem with Tasmeem Doha, a biennial international art and design conference that will be hosted at the school next March. During our stay, we lectured on mini golf tropes and obstacles as well as our own work with the Walker Art Center. Then we worked with the students to help them as they came up with ideas and built cardboard prototypes. We, along with the graphic design faculty, discussed how materials, narrative and form work together to effect the game play experience. We are so grateful for this incredible experience and can’t wait to return in March to see and play the final rendition of the course. Until then, we’ll let our photos and video do the rest of the talking.

Continue reading


Leave a comment

Ahlgrim Family Funeral Services – Palatine, IL

IMG_9151

Played July 21, 2014

Review by Mr. Tee

My Halloween nights from 2006 to 2011 were spent in the Haunted Basement of The Soap Factory, a Minneapolis art gallery. I worked in various roles to help scare the crap out of over 10,000 people every October and loved every minute of it. When we first started this blog, we searched through lists of best of and unique mini golf courses and this one immediately stood out. A mini golf course in the basement of an active funeral home that is death themed. Sold! The owner built it for both his kids and the community and the notion of demystifying death through mini golf was intriguing. We attempted to go in the Summer of 2013 on our annual July jaunt to Chicago but they were booked with real funerals the whole time. I called ahead earlier this year and was thrilled to possibly play even though the Pink Putter wasn’t making the trip this time. The beginning of a potential scary story starts with “I went by myself to a Chicago suburb on a Monday afternoon to the basement of a funeral home. Upon arrival I was greeted by a man in a full dark suit and quickly found out there was no cell phone coverage in the basement. My heart was racing.” This is no tale of doom and gloom though. The whole experience was pure fun!

Rating:

Hole-in-One – The idea of going to a funeral home has never been exciting until now. The 9 holes are equally dark and campy, like a good horror film. This homemade course references traditional tropes associated with mini golf like windmills and light houses, and death. A skull from the creator’s mortuary school experience, a rail box used for transporting dead bodies, a kitschy haunted house filled with sound effects, a graveyard and a guillotine. The atmosphere is equally creepy as it is fun. The combined noises from the HVAC system, haunting sound effects CD and video games add perfectly to the natural ambiance. The play was challenging and it took a few times playing through the course to really get close to par. Shuffleboard, pool, video games, snooker and pinball are available to play as well and surround the course. Remember I’m talking about the basement of a funeral home. Mr. Ahlgrim found a way to embrace the notion of play in a space where few would consider it and did it without desire for financial gain. I salute you Mr. Ahlgrim and your staff. You’re our type of people. I’ve already gone on too long and I’ll let the videos and photos speak for themselves.

Continue reading


Leave a comment

Big Back Yard at MN Science Museum – St. Paul, MN

IMG_6837

Played August 23, 2013

Reviewed by the Pink Putter

Just behind the Science Museum in downtown St. Paul sits the Big Back Yard, a 9-hole EarthScapes mini golf course that serves as a hands-on exhibit about landscape erosion and bio-diversity.

Rating:

Birdie – We love when mini golf meets education and this course does it well. A variety of water features combined with hills, pipes and rolling landscapes makes for a quick and fun adventure. Signs on each hole give educational facts about the terrain. The course is also surrounded by native Minnesota plants complete with a course plant guide. And the bonus? You can explore the whole museum when you are done putting.

Continue reading


Leave a comment

Goony Golf (Championship Course) – Spring Lake Park, MN

DSC_5117

Played many times over the last 3 years

Review by Mr. Tee

I remember visiting Goony Golf in the 1980s not only for the mini golf but for water slides. Outdoor water parks (family aquatic centers) were a hot attraction during that era and for a period of time they took up the real estate that is now the Championship Course at Goony Golf. If you want a sense of what it looked like (or at least as far as my memory serves me), watch the date scene from the first Karate Kid. As large destination water parks grew in number and small water parks became more common in community centers and hotels, water slides were removed from family entertainment centers. Fortunately, Goony Golf used the terrain to add yet another option to their already strong mini golf complex. Unlike the brightly colored and kitschy north and south courses, the Championship course looks and feels like a more traditional miniature version of the game of golf.

Rating:

Hole-in-One -The course uses a fairly generic looking cement waterway of bright blue water that flows from a very modern looking water fall. Dull looking rocks, bushes and small trees are used in the landscaping design and layout. You’re thinking how in the world did this course end up getting a hole-in-one but stick with me.

While our mini golf bias leans towards kitsch, we do enjoy the game as a whole and are quite competitive in our regular outings. Goony Golf’s Championship course puts both of our putting skills to the test. In our adventures I usually pit myself against the Pink Putter for the lowest score. Narrow playing surfaces, sloped terrains and creative hole placement make staying under the six strokes per hole limit a feat in itself. The major battle one faces is against the course par. While frustrating play is a regular complaint of ours in reviews, the intentionality of challenge built in to this course is clear. The playfulness of the design is only appreciated after you finish. I find the challenge of the course keeps me coming back. Easily the most difficult course we’ve played to date and a nice change of pace from Goony Golf’s other top notch offerings.

Continue reading


Leave a comment

Goony Golf (South Course) – Spring Lake Park, MN

IMG_6778

Played many times over the last 3 years

Review by Mr. Tee

Only two miles from the previously reviewed Lilli Putt sits another one of the mini golf memories of my youth, Goony Golf. While the area near the course, much like Lilli Putt, has been in decline since the late 80s, this course has maintained it’s grandeur through regular maintenance and fresh coats of paint. The Pink Putter already covered our history and the general history of Goony Golf with her review of the North Course so I’ll jump right to it.

Rating:

Hole-in-One – Goony Golf and Big Stone are runaway favorites for us when it comes to mini golf in Minnesota. Big Stone may have creative hole design, farm animals and a picturesque landscapes but Goony Golf has a classic kitschy down pat. When I reviewed the fantastic Austin’s Peter Pan, I couldn’t help thinking of this course. Concrete, plaster, turf and chicken wire with bright bold colors used to bring out the character in the larger than life obstacles. I enjoyed playing this course as a kid in the 80s and grown even more fond of it as an adult. I slightly favor the north course at Goony Golf but this is like saying you cheese slightly more than chocolate. Both are awesome and bring repeated pleasure and enjoyment. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

Continue reading

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.