acoupleofputts

The minigolf adventures of Tom and Robin.


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

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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.

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

Mr. Tee with T-Rex

Played many times over the last 3 years.

Reviewed by the Pink Putter

During the first month that Mr. Tee and I started dating, we played a round or two at Goony Golf. Every summer since we’ve gone back over and over with friends and family. This course has an interesting history which roadarch.com does a really nice job of telling. I’ll sum it up for you here. The first course of its kind was called Sir Goony Golf and was built in 1960 in Chattanooga, TN by a company called Amusement Products.The distinctive style of the characters and obstacles were designed by Barbara Magrath, along with her husband Dutch Magrath. Sir Goony Golf was such a hit that by 1965 they opened 5 more locations throughout Florida and eventually there were 36 Goony Golf courses nationwide.  We are lucky enough to have one right in our own backyard of Spring Lake Park. Since this location has three different courses each worthy of their own review, we’ll start with the North Course.

Rating:

Hole-in-One – There’s no doubt about it, this relic from the 1960’s has somehow managed to survive in just a few locations around the country and is a true mini golf gem. Classic kitsch combined with a wide range of obstacles, traps, hills, jumps and tunnels makes for exciting and varied play. Favorite holes include the dinosaur and caveman, the alligator and the cow waterfall. While crumbling concrete and torn turf reveals this course’s age, it has still managed to keep its charm. The owners have shown some TLC through fresh coats of paint and working lights, motors and water features. Even if we didn’t live so close, this is definitely a course we’d go out of our way to play over and over.

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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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