acoupleofputts

The minigolf adventures of Tom and Robin.


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Lighthouse Cove Adventure Golf – Jupiter Beach, FL

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Played on February 8, 2015

Reviewed by Mr. Tee

This winter found the Pink Putter down south on an artist residency at Hub-Bub. Our plans to spend time together in South Carolina around Valentine’s Day shifted to Florida after the sudden passing of a member of her family. The trip did not come under the best circumstances but we found time to celebrate life with family and through a respite trip to the beach. As usual, we sought out the local mini golf options and found this little gem. Despite getting turned around by our “smart” phones, we eventually landed at this oceanside recreation space.

Rating:

Birdie – Sharks, surf boards, boats and bright blue water seem like an obvious choice for a mini golf business just off the Florida coast. We’re suckers for fiberglass and/or plaster animals, especially pelicans. I waffled on it but eventually landed on giving this a “Birdie” rating versus our top tier, “Hole-in-One“. The course was definitely a cut above your average course with lots of interactive features but the actual play itself was fairly generic. It reminded me of Professor Hacker’s in Lancaster. Looking back at the photos it was clear we had tons of fun but there wasn’t more than 5-6 out of 36 holes that registered in my memory after reviewing pictures. It’s impeccably maintained with pristine greens and landscaping that makes for consistent play. We had a blast and would play here again but Lighthouse Cove fell just short of being in the conversation with our favorite courses around.

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Tropical Gardens – Asheville, NC

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Reviewed by the Pink Putter
Played on March 26, 2015

Since January and through the end of June, I am doing an Artist Residency at Hub-Bub located in Spartanburg, SC. While there are many exciting things happening in Spartanburg, there isn’t a whole lot of mini golf just yet (although it will soon be the new home of Sparkle City Mini Putt). Cities like Asheville, Charlotte and Columbia are only about an hour drive and Myrtle Beach is just 3 hours.

In the beginning of the year, the online mini golf community shared a great article from the citizen-times featuring Tropical Gardens. As soon as I read it, I knew I needed to make a visit. I grabbed Desiree, a fellow Artist-in-Residence, and we made an afternoon trip to play this classic.

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Desiree in front of a Rhino

 

Rating:

Hole-in-One – There’s no doubt about it, Tropical Gardens is indeed an Asheville icon and a mini golf destination. The course cleverly integrates the hill that it’s built into every aspect of game play. Players start their journey on top, work their way past the waterfall and down and giant sloped hole to the lagoon at the bottom. At every turn there are fiberglass rhinos, giraffes, zebras, elephants and flamingos. The layout of each hole follows the natural landscape and terrain, making for a wide variety of play ranging from angles and shots with kitschy obstacles to giant downward slopes and pipe play. Because we played at the very beginning of their season, the waterfall wasn’t turned on, but they promised me it would be soon and the last time I drove by it was. There are a lot of other fun surprises, which the photos and video will reveal. If you are in the Asheville area, this is a must-visit course.

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The Pink Putter’s Big New Project: Sparkle City Mini Putt!

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After months of planning, the Pink Putter (aka Robin Schwartzman) is excited to announce that she has designed Sparkle City Mini Putt, a 9-hole, locally themed, permanent mini golf course that will be constructed in downtown Spartanburg, South Carolina.

Course Layout

Course Layout

This project is part of her 6 month Artist Residency at Hub-Bub and is being built in collaboration with local and national artists including fabricators Kevin Riley of K Riley Designs, blacksmith Josh Moore and metal caster Yousif Del Valle as well as the Pony & Bear mural painting collective that is Russell Bannan, Aimee Wise and Eli Blasko.

Each hole was inspired by experiences she’s had during her time in Spartanburg, including signage, parks, trails and local landmarks. Construction will take place over the next month, so stay tuned for in-progress photos and videos. But until then, enjoy some renderings and illustrations as a preview of what’s to come!

Hole 1 - Welcome to Sparkle City

Hole 1 – Welcome to Sparkle City

Lots more photos if you continue from here!

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Country Inn Mini Golf – Two Harbors, MN

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Played on October 17, 2014

Reviewed by The Pink Putter

On the second half of our fall day trip along scenic Highway 61, we stumbled upon this strange mini golf course at Two Harbors Country Inn. To pay for our round, we had to enter the hotel lobby. It was sort of ominous, as it was a cold, cloudy afternoon and there was nobody else on the course. But we enjoyed playing this colorful, oddly kitschy, retro feeling course.

Rating:

Par – The course had a lot of twists, turns, hills, bumps, ramps and interesting obstacles. It was also a bit shabby and certainly not the most scenic view of Highway 61. Many of the obstacles were in need of a new coat of paint, small repairs and could be easily moved around the greens to different locations. Objects like the log cabin and deer made sense as regional themes, while we’re not quite sure how the others fit in. A number of the holes would have been impossible to score a hole-in-one on and my preference is to at least have a chance. Nonetheless, this was a pretty fun stop that I would recommend if you are in the area, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to play again.

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Mr. Tee knocking on the door.

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North Shore 9 at Adventure Zone – Duluth, MN

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Played October 17, 2014

Reviewed by Mr. Tee

The North Shore of Lake Superior is a popular tourist destination especially during the Fall months. The view of the majestic lake coupled with the array of colors bursting from the tree line and pleasant weather draw people from across Minnesota and the rest of the world. It’s lovely and worth your effort to check it out sometime. I try to get up there at least every two years. Bob Dylan, northern Minnesota’s most famous export, even name checked the the highway that most of the attractions reside on one of his most famous albums. The Pink Putter and I decided to take a day off of work to take in the sights and on the way up, we took a stop-off in Duluth to check out the mini golf options. It seemed fitting that the only course open was inspired by a former golf course that “was designed and built in the in the late 1800’s, along with Skyline Drive and the Incline Railway” on the North Shore. And they had skill cranes and so how could we say no?

Rating:

Par – The idea behind the theme of the course was good in theory but the reality missed the mark. Adventure Zone tried to hide the tall walls and to create an immersive environment within the larger entertainment center but the way they skinned the walls was quite odd. The scenes were so absurd that it could be funny in an ironic way if it was executed better. You can see the pictures below to get a better sense of what I’m talking about. The actual play featured numerous common tropes like lighthouses and loops with a fairly wide variety of play. None of the holes were very challenging or long but were fun nonetheless. We would have liked more for more holes on the course but $3 isn’t too shabby for some fun. For those not familiar with Duluth, it gets absurdly cold in the winter so having an indoor mini golf option is nice.

Continue on for more photos!

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Burgeri – Doha, Qatar

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Played on March 12, 2015

Reviewed by Mr. Tee and The Pink Putter

On the morning of Festival Day at Tasmeem Doha, one of our fantastic students, Mahmoud Masoud, came running in to tell us that the night before he had accidentally stumbled upon another mini golf course in Doha. We jumped right to it and grabbed our putters. Mahmoud drove us to Aspire Park and upon arrival, we discovered a small, temporary, fenced-in nine hole course. It turns out it was part of a promotion for a restaurant, Burgeri, an American-inspired burger and hot dog joint. Buy anything at the restaurant, and you got to play a round for free. We may have found that out after we bum rushed our way on to the course. No one knew when it was installed or how long it will be up for, but we’re sure glad we got to experience it. One thing we do know is that these 9 holes and a short-lived course at Katara popped up after our visit in the Fall of 2014. Imitation is the sincerest form of flatterry and it’s good to know that the enthusiasm from our Fall visit to VCU-Qatar spread beyond the campus.

Rating:

Par – While we were surprised to find this little gem in Doha, it doesn’t compare to the uniqueness of the student-designed course at VCUQ. However, what it lacks in playability, it does make up for with classic obstacles. Like many things in Doha, it doesn’t all make sense. Why don’t the windmill arms go all the way down to cover the opening? Why is there a curve and a hump just beyond the bridge? What is that yellow and red box? While we don’t have all the answers, we are happy to see this is a genuine attempt at sharing the game of mini golf with Doha.

More photos below!

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Tasmeem 3ajeeb! Artist-Designed Mini Golf – Doha, Qatar

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Played the week of March 8-12

Reviewed by Mr. Tee and the Pink Putter

Last November we made the trip from Minneapolis to Doha to work with the graphic design students of VCUQatar on the design and prototyping phase of their very own indoor mini golf course. After we left, we got to see the progression of the design and build via social media. We were thrilled to return at the beginning of March this year to see and play the final course as well as enjoy the workshops and speakers of the Tasmeem festival. In fact, we even led our own workshop where we worked with a group of six students to design and build one last hole for the course. We already featured our creation so we wanted to review the other 9 student creations.

Rating:

Birdie – We may biased, but this regionally-themed course is the only one of its kind in Qatar, and for that matter, in the Middle East. The students did a fantastic job of combining good design and fun game play with ideas and themes that are relevant to their lives including transportation, water consumption, workers rights, musical instruments and desert culture. From a dueling roundabout to a hole that traverses down a flight of stairs, the students literally took the game of mini golf to the next level. There were some functionality and construction issues that came up while we played and those are the little things that kept us from giving it our highest score, a Hole-in-One. We also want to give incentive to the students to continue to work and build more beautiful and playful objects that top this fantastic course. We’d give anything to play it again and to hang out with the wonderful new friends we made at VCU-Qatar.

Below we do a thorough photo review and include videos of each hole in use.

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