Played on December 27, 2012
Reviewed by the Pink Putter
Living in Minnesota, we get used to the cold, snowy winters. Lucky for us, Minnesota business owners have figured out that indoor recreational facilities can be quite lucrative. Hence, we discovered Golf Zone in Chaska whose slogan is “Rain, Snow or Shine Golf”. This huge facility offers all season golf activities including an indoor heated driving range for the winter, an outdoor driving range for the summer, outdoor 3-hole and 18-hole putting courses (which we have yet to play) and last but not least, the indoor Big Bear Mini Putt.
Birdie – Much to our surprise, Big Bear had a lot to offer. At first glance, this course appears a bit dull. The entire space is themed around Minnesota woods and is well landscaped with faux pine trees, rocks and rivers. We also happened to play Big Bear right around the holidays, so thousands of sparkling white lights added a cozy feel to the experience. However, there aren’t any huge animals, giant rock formations or flashy signs that really jump out and catch the eye. The theme is subtle, but as you play the course and read the titles of each hole (Northern Lights, Bear Paw, Walleye, Snail, etc.), everything starts to come together. What really sets this course apart from many that we’ve played are some of the clever hole designs. For example, the shape of Bear Paw looked just like a bear paw, just as Walleye was formed to look like a fish with the hole as its eye. I thought this was a fun touch that added a lot to the experience.
There was a huge variety of terrain (which is unusual for indoor courses) including hills, pipe play, bridges, spirals, ramps at different levels, jumps and obstacles. No two holes were alike. A number of them even offered an interesting twist on the game by providing multiple holes or trick shots and rules for how to play them, with the reward of a Par 0, better than a hole-in-one, for those who are successful. Another plus to this course is the indoor bar and seating area right next to the last hole. The bar even serves Heggie’s, Mr. Tee’s favorite frozen pizza! The down sides of this course are that the water features are a bit chintzy (see image below) and that we encountered some unsupervised children who were running around from hole to hole and whacking the ball…I think their dad was at the bar. Because the entire venue has so much to offer, Big Bear is definitely worth the lengthy trip out to the deep burbs and I especially recommend it to anyone with kids. This course falls just short of a hole-in-one, coming in at a strong birdie.
clean and well-maintained, feels like it’s very new
wide variety of hole types
bonus holes and fun rules
bar with pizza and seating area
open year round, very warm in the winter (and air-conditioned in summer)
chintzy water features
- 18 holes, Par 40
- Metal putters
- Adults: $7.50. Replays: $3.75
Kids: $6.50. Replays: $3.25
- Group rates available
- Same location has outdoor putting greens and indoor and outdoor driving ranges