Golfland – Mesa, AZ

Played November 19, 2016

Reviewed by the Pink Putter

As many of our readers may or may not know, when I’m not mini golfing, I’m an artist of many trades. For the past fourteen years, I’ve been a professional caricature artist. Every year, when November rolls around, I make my best effort to travel to the annual International Society of Caricature Artists Convention, which is a week-long gathering of caricaturists from around the world who get together to draw, attend workshops and seminars and compete for top recognitions in the field. This year’s convention was held in Chandler, AZ, a suburb of Phoenix. And while the entire week was jam packed with caricature-related endeavors, I found a few hours on Saturday afternoon before our flight home to squeeze in a round of mini golf.

My two travel companions, Erik Roadfelt and Erin Goedtel, both talented caricature artists and friends from Minnesota, joined me on this putting adventure and were the best models I could have ever asked for. As soon as I mentioned to Erik that I wanted to play Golfland, he got really excited, as this was the course he played throughout his childhood on winter visits to his grandparents in Phoenix. So after six days of drawing and little sleep, we took the 20 minute Uber ride up to Golfland Sunsplash.

Rating:

Hole-in-One – There’s no doubt about it, Golfland is a mini golf classic in every sense of the word. It starts at the entrance, a giant castle, which houses an old-school arcade. After walking through the wooden double doors and making our way through a barrage of buzzers, bells and blinking lights, we made it back out to the sunshine to find the waterpark (which was closed for the season) and our choice of three different 18-hole courses. At the ticket booth, we asked which course had the most fun architecture. The guy working recommended we play Princess Path (as opposed to the Lost Dutchman and King’s Quest), and so we did.

Castles, pipe play, jump shots, skeeball, volcanoes, windmills, water, giant loops, opening and closing doors. Great and varied game play, a perfect combination of skill and chance, fun facades and classic decor. The list goes on. Anything you could ever want in a mini golf course was here and I couldn’t have been more thrilled. This course also utilized something I had never seen before, which was “hole-in-one” cups for skill shots. So, typically, if you get your ball in the right door/pipe/path, it leads you out to the lower green to get you close to the hole for a higher chance at a one. But with the metal guard around the hole like at Golfland, if you make it in the right slot you’re guaranteed a hole-in-one.

“Hole-in-One” cup

Erik seemed to have an immediate memory of everything, including how to make the right shot on almost every hole, and consequently had a winning game with six hole-in-ones! It was impressive to say the least!

Because we had to catch a flight back to Minnesota, we only had time to play through Princess Path, but managed to take a quick walk around the other two courses and snap some fun photos. Needless to say, if you are in the Phoenix area, Golfland is certainly worth a trip.

View of the waterpark that greets you as soon as you exit the castle arcade.
View of the castle arcade and kids playground area from inside the park.
I guess people like to swing their putters above the knees.
A classic, don’t overshoot and land in the ditch!
Erik with concrete volcano.
Castles, volcano and turf, oh my!
Players get to push the pendulum as hard as they want as a moving hazard for opponents.
Giant skeeball!
Another skill shot…don’t overshoot!
A picturesque windmill and fountain.
Eric conquers the turf volcano.
Erik, Erin and the clock tower.
Mini Alamo
The King’s Quest course was chock full of great holiday decor. Erik and Erin couldn’t help but pose in the nativity scene.
Castle selfie!
Jail or Dentist?
Lovely curve shot
Three caricaturists and a castle.
Golfland Scorecard

Official Golfland website

Pros:

Wide variety of game play, classic tropes and fun decor
Castles, volcanoes, waterways, windmills, the mini golf works!
Three 18-hole courses to choose from
Waterpark, laser tag and arcade on premise

Cons:

Hot sun, not a lot of shaded areas on the course
Run-of-the-mill scorecard

Nerdy Notes

  • three 18-hole courses, no par
  • $7.99 per player, $2.00 replays on same day. $6.99 for Junior and Senior golfers
  • rubber-covered putters
  • no flags in holes

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