Moose Mountain – Mall of America, Minnesota

Played November 19, 2011
Re-played on April 1, 2012 and December 26, 2012
Reviewed by the Pink Putter

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Main Entrance.

I feel like I have a lot of connections to this course. When the MOA originally opened there was a mini-golf course in the same location where Moose Mountain currently resides. After that, the space transformed into General Mill’s Cereal Adventure, which was fabricated by Art Tech Productions (who I’m currently doing some specialty contract work for). Moose Mountain then took over. The course was designed by Dan Sawatzky (his name may sound familiar from my review of Giggle Ridge) who taught a “Sign Magic” workshop I took back in the summer of 2010. Because Dan lives in B.C., he didn’t actually construct the course. He loosely designed the layout and fabricated most of the obstacles, all the signage and the giant airplane hanging from the ceiling of Nickelodeon Universe.  Sub-contractors built the terrain as well as carved the faux rocks and painted the wall murals. In any case, this course is our cold weather go-to.

Rating:

Par – I’m a fan of Dan’s work, but it is clear after visiting his personal studio and Giggle Ridge that Moose Mountain isn’t up to par with the quality of the rest of his creations (obviously due to the fact that he didn’t build it all). The play is okay enough- there are a variety of obstacles, pipe play, some hills, caves and moving parts. But a lot of the holes have a terrible layout. For example:

-two holes without any rules or indication of which one to aim for

-side ramps or paths that don’t get you any closer to a hole-in-one

-no walls behind the holes, which leads to balls rolling off the green super easily (this is obviously to make the course handicap accessible which is AWESOME…but as a player who can’t control her ball all the time, it makes it extra hard for me to beat Mr. Tee)

-short hole distances

On the up side, the course provides an immersive experience- you walk under caves, up and over a bridge and loop around back to the where you started. Not to mention its unique location- much like many mini golf places, it’s connected to an amusement park but unlike most, it’s indoors.  You can watch roller coasters and a ferris wheel go by as you wait your turn and then afterwards pick up a new pair of jeans or buy some frozen yogurt in the food court. This course is definitely interesting, but a lot of parts are in need of maintenance and upkeep. Moose Mountain has the theming of a hole-in-one course, but between the play and the upkeep this course just falls short of a birdie.

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Map of the course, drawn by Dan.
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Signage at Hole 1
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Back of Hole 1 – this is what I mean by no wall to stop the ball.
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Mining Train made by Dan and his team.
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Classic cave play.
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Two holes in one…where should I aim?
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Tree stump obstacle at Hole 9.
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View of Nickelodeon Universe from the course.
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Log and Dynamite obstacles.
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Giant plane also made by Dan and his team.


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Final Hole and a chance to win a free game!

Pros:

Varied play
Creative obstacles
Fun theming
Unique location
Open year round (remember, this is Minnesota)

Cons:

In need of some upkeep/repaires to obstacles
Many obstacles seem arbitrarily placed
The number of fun holes is far outweighed by the uninteresting, bland holes.

Moose Mountain Website

Nerdy Notes:

  • 18 holes
  • final hole that collects ball with a chance to win a free game
  • low course par
  • $8 per round, $24 for a family of four, group rates available

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