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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Yours truly attempting to hit in the slot for a hole-in-one.

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Hey! That’s us.
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The Pink Putter’s Pa gazes upon one of our favorite new holes from this year’s course, Snake Bite!
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After you hit the ball in to the snakes mouth, it slowly rolls down to the lower putting area. Pink Putter’s pa uses the cabasa to mimic the rattlesnake sound.
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Putt-Pong offers options to jump or carefully navigate a field of paddles. One of our faves. Designed by Trevor Anderson and Barry Kudrowitz
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Putt R. Mutt is an homage to Duchamp’s classic Fountain. Risa is right on track for a hole in one.
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Guess What Chicken Putt visually looked fantastic (note: this photo was during installation and doesn’t include the chicken)
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Chicken included in this photo. Route behind the chicken had multiple problem points that make it a needlessly frustrating hole.
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Mr. Tee and The Pink Putter’s family taking aim at Right on Cue. Corner pockets provide 1-stroke hazard.
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Course B, Hole 7. Holey Lighted. More weather worn from the winter but still could use a higher exterior border.
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Take It To the Grave – Course B, Hole 2 – Navigate gravestones with barely funny puns. Hole placement made a hole-in-one near impossible.
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Friend and mini golf course creator Risa Puno takes on this flat and frustrating surface on Curling Club while Mr. Tee looks on.
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Stargazer was visually satisfying but the smooth and flat surface made for touchy play. The wet surface below made play move along a little faster because the ball had a natural place to stop if it didn’t get in the hole.
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The one thing certain about The Uncertainty Principle is that it was frustrating on a number of levels. Best move was to bounce over the side of ramp using the steep lip.

More photos of all of the holes and of the artists who designed and created them this year can be found on L’Etoile’s review of the course.

Pros:

Full 18 holes
Course designed by artists
Unique game play
Colorful and engaging visual structures
Our massive gumball machine themed hole

Cons:

Price (although it does include entrance in to the museum)
Numerous smooth, non-turfed playing surfaces
Unnecessarily challenging and frustrating at times

Nerdy Notes:

  • Opened mid-May through September 2014. Hours online.
  • 18 individual holes divided amongst two separate courses A & B.
  • Cost: (9 HOLES): $12 adults, $10 students ($9 Walker members, children ages 7–12). FULL COURSE (18 HOLES): $18 adults, $15 students ($13.50 Walker members, children ages 7–12). Free for ages 6 and under with paid adult. EARLY BIRD DISCOUNT: $2 off each ticket, Monday–Thursday, 10 am–1 pm.Every ticket includes free gallery admission (up to $14 value) for each golfer. Tee times are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis; no advanced reservations.
  • Wait for tee times were as long as 1-2 hours on weeknights and weekends.
  • Rubber covered putters of various sizes. Excellent selection of balls.
  • Course was sponsored by US Bank. They did photo booths on the weekend and had their logo on the mini golf balls.
  • Mr. Tee got a hole-in-one on most holes accept for Take It To The Grave, Right On Cue, The Uncertainty Principle and Garden Gnome Foosball.

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