Challenger 3 – Shelby, NC


Played on June 12, 2015
Reviewed by the Pink Putter

When my parents and Mr. Tee came to visit me in South Carolina for my birthday weekend back in June, my dad really wanted to visit the Earl Scruggs Center in nearby North Carolina. So we did the 45 minute drive from Spartanburg and spent our Friday afternoon in the quaint town of Shelby. After a museum chock full of banjo (which by the way was fantastic and I highly recommend it if you are in the area), we grabbed some lunch. After an inedible veggie burger and greasy fries, my dad suggested we do a quick Google search to see if there were any mini golf courses in the area and lo and behold we discovered Challenger 3. We had no idea what we were up for, but after some winding country roads we came upon this large, well maintained complex complete with quality miniature golf, bumper boats, batting cages, a driving range, chip and putt, go karts and an arcade.


Birdie – There’s no doubt about it, Challenger 3 is better than average. It’s got a large central castle that the course surrounds and is adorned with significant water features, large shrubs and a mix of rocks, mulch and grass landscaping. This isn’t a cookie cutter course; every hole was different and well designed, making the game play fun and competitive. Obstacles were simple objects like rocks and angled hubs, but the fairways were cleverly sculpted and included fun challenges like bumps, hills, narrow paths, slopes, angles and pipe play. The entire course was extremely well manicured and maintained. I don’t have much that’s bad to say about Challenger 3. While it’s not the most unique course we’ve ever played, it is a solid, family-friendly destination that I would highly recommend you go play if you are in the area.

The Pink Putter’s dad starts us off at hole 1.
The Pink Putter’s dad and step mom take aim.
Mr. Tee poses with the fountain.
Classic pipe play.
Dan at hole 6.
Notice the sky getting darker. We actually had to pause our game for a 10 minute storm that passed through just moments later. The good news was that the arcade had skill cranes and Pop-a-Shot!
Ramped up.
Angled down.
Baby hills!
Angles and pipe play.
Nearing the end of the game, post-storm.
View of the bumper boats and the stormy sky.
View of the bumper boats and the stormy sky.
Caught the sign on the drive out.
Caught the sign on the drive out.

Well-considered hole designs that made for challenging game play
Clean and well maintained
Nice landscaping
Giant castle and fountains add an element of classic kitsch

Visually simple

Nerdy Notes:

  • 18 holes, Par 36
  • Rubber covered putters
  • No flags in holes
  • $6 per person, $3 for ages 5 and younger
  • Final hole collects balls

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