Skyway Open 2013 – Minneapolis, MN


Played February 24, 2013

Reviewed by Mr. Tee and the Pink Putter

We don’t know how this course wasn’t on our radar sooner. Unbeknownst to us, there has been an annual installation of a temporary mini golf course in the Minneapolis Skyway System. For those of you who don’t live in the Twin Cities, the skyway system connects the major buildings of the downtown area so during the six months of sub-zero weather that we call winter, people can comfortably commute to work, lunch and shops without running the risk of getting frostbite. Seeing photos from years prior made us eager for its arrival in late February this year.  For more of a history as well as an in-depth, inside perspective of this course, check our guest review of the 2012 course by former Skyway Open Designer Jared Schmidt.


Birdie – Never have we seen such a wide variation in quality of holes on a single course. A number of the holes were extremely unique and fun, while other “holes” failed to challenge the notion of what mini golf is or could be. Many didn’t require a putter (which can be fun, but in this case wasn’t), or a mini golf ball for that matter. Others were poorly executed in terms of surface, play and imagination. We get the feeling that some of the designers didn’t understand their medium. This course does get big points for its unique location as well as being a fundraiser for a charitable cause (all proceeds benefit the Boys and Girls Club). Because this is a unique and temporary course, we’ll give you a sampling of all 19 holes below.

This hole was probably one of the most fun to play. After putting under a miniature version of Minneapolis’ iconic Spoonbridge and Cherry sculpture and into a pipe, the ball rolled onto the bottom of a multi-level racecar track.
From here, players used a remote-controlled car as a substitute for their putters to push the ball to the top of the ramp and into a micro version of the Minnesota Vikings Stadium, where the final hole sat on a flat surface. This hole was credibly creative and our only gripes were the smoothness of the flat putting surface and the bottleneck that the remote-control car caused. Overall, this hole was exactly the kind of thing we love.

Hole 2 looked kind of cool, but the play was straightforward.
Hole 3 was a bit confusing. We think it was supposed to be educational, teaching players about Waste Management and Recycling programs. But the play didn’t make a ton of sense, the ball got stuck in many places along the surface, and letters were already falling over.
Hole 4 was a tribute to beer, but we prefer Jared Schmidt’s version of this (the Retro Drinko) from the Skyway Open 2011.
Hole 5 was voted as the winner for “Best Design.” The entire mini city putting surface was covered in chalk board paint.
They even had special balls made of chalk!
Hole 6 was more of a glorified advertisement for a new apartment complex than a creative mini golf hole. Also, it didn’t play well.

Hole 7 wasn’t really mini golf, but this repeat from last year’s course was still pretty fun.

Hole 8 was a disastrous mix of wood, fiberglass and a twist on billards. Instead of landing in a hole, you just have to aim for the side pocket.

Holes 9 and 10, both repeats from last year, were made of MDF that came fresh out of a CNC Router. See hole 9 below to get a sense of the experience. Nothing more was done to finish the surface, which made for a terrible playing experience of never-ending ball rolling and near-impossible putting.

Hole 11 was a minimalistic blending of grey felt and aerial topography.

Hole 12 was the 2013 the People’s Choice award winner for good reason:

Lucky number 13 was pretty simply play but looked cool. Plus, we always liked tiered environments.

Hole 14 had a wide variety of textures, materials and playing surfaces, making for an interesting putting experience.
Hole 15, one of our favorites, was the perfect combination of cool aesthetics and challenge.

Hole 16 is a repeat from last year’s course:

Hole 17 was an advertisement for a local bar/restaurant. While the look fit the theme, the pipe was super tricky to get up into.
The ball then rolled onto a star-shaped putting surface.

Holes 18 & 19 were repeats from 2012’s course. Not sure why they brought back 18 but 19 is a lot of fun to play.

A wide variety of game play
Creative use of space for the course
Indoor option during a very cold month
Fundraiser for the Boys and Girls Club

Numerous holes of poor quality
Many holes have unsatisfying play design

Skyway Open Website

Nerdy Notes:

  • 19 holes, Par 57
  • Cost: Opening Event, Fri. 2/22- foursomes are $140 (includes after party) or $35 per individual at the door; Sat. 2/23 and Sun. 2/24- $20 adults, $5 kids
  • Different putters located at each hole
  • The charitable goal of the U.S. Bank Skyway Open is to raise money for The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Twin Cities.

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