Skyway Open 2016 – Minneapolis, MN


Played/Photographed February 26 & 28, 2016

Reviewed by Mr. Tee.

Played with Peter Vader, Greg Schaal, Jennifer Castro, and Manny Castro

Our trip to the Middle East for the Tasmeem Conference last year happened to be on the same weekend as the Skyway Open in Minneapolis so we missed an opportunity to play an annual temporary min golf course in our home town. We played and reviewed the 2013 and 2014 versions of the course and had a guest reviewer take on the 2012 iteration. The photos we saw from the 2015 course intrigued us enough so that we made sure to mark February 2016 on our calendar. The Pink Putter’s plans to visit family in a warmer climate on the last weekend of February meant I would be taking on the course without her. Fortunately, I was able to wrangle a number of friends to walk through the course on Friday and then play it on Sunday.


Par – The reasoning for walking the course on Friday before playing on Sunday are two-fold. The simple reason is that it’s considerably cheaper on Sunday($15) versus Friday ($31.20-$41.50). Sure, each year the course is designed to support a charity but during the run of this courseI was unemployed so I held off playing for practical reasons. The other reason for walking the course on Friday is to see how the holes hold up throughout the weekend.



The two above are a great example of the best and worst of the course. The top photo was the 12th hole that we didn’t even play because it was so poorly designed and constructed. The 2nd photo features hole 15 and our friend Manny. This beautiful creation won an award for best design and you can see why. This was amongst a number of quite exceptional holes that we included pictures of below. Half of the course was a hole-in-one quality and the other holes were a mixed bag with many falling below average in design and/or play. I went back and forth between giving this a rating of Par and Birdie but landed on the lower of two scores because I do think previous versions of the course were overall much better. Fingers crossed that 2017 is a step up. We’ll play it again regardless!

Hole 1 – Colorful, beautiful, and simple (in a good way). The bridge, Stone Arch Bridge, is a major landmark in Minneapolis.

Hole 3 – MSP airport theme. Near the start of the hole their is a lighted bridge that has a direct path to the cup. It’s deceivingly difficult because the area from tee off is sloped. I don’t believe a hole-in-one is possible. For Sunday, a car company decided to set up a putting green next to this hole.
Hole 4 – Cup is near the middle of the back wall but if you miss to the right, the ball lands in a gutter that sends the ball back to the tee off area.

Hole 5 – Pinball! This was carried over from the 2015 course and I’m glad it made it another year. Beautiful design and key to explain the scoring. Only quibble was that the flipper controllers were hard to use and don’t scale well for people with smaller wingspans.
Detail shot. The hole-in-one / hero shot is up the skyway in the lit up blue box. I hit it pretty hard up the ramp but couldn’t get it all the way to the end. Replay value on this one is super high.
Hole 6 – Foosball themed mini golf hole. Different holes in the goalie “net” denoted different putting scores. There was a timer for each group to set for 2 minutes.
Directions are still slightly confusing. The cup holder was for your phone. In theory, you could use the attached cord to play music from your phone while you play. It didn’t work on either of our visits.
Hole 7 – Clever game design but not mini golf. Plastic puck and hockey stick used to play.

Hole 10 – Represented ongoing construction and re-design in Downtown Minneapolis. Fun little details that I thought wouldn’t make it through the weekend.
When I checked in on the hole on Sunday, everything held up. The design was clever because it didn’t leave room for people to walk in the middle of the course where one could potentially disrupt the intricate setting.
Hole 11 – A creative version of those office putting games. We skipped this one because there was a wait but not the most exciting design. Hole 12 was the cardboard one featured earlier and hole 13 was a carry over from earlier years. It was a pachinko styled game themed around the infamous Foshay Tower.
Hole 14 – This was also a carry over from previous years with new carpet. Jenn is doing her best to will the ball in to the hole.
Hole 16 – A major highlight and carry over from 2015. There is a potential to send the ball up the building on an elevator and down towards the cup. The building lights up so you can see the action inside of it. You can see my partners in crime, Peter and Greg, near the start of the hole.
Close up of the device that sends the ball up an elevator in to the building. Love the attention to detail with the construction signs.
Hole 17 – Step up to the last hole for two routes to the cup. Deceptively challenging and lots of detail featuring the major lakes in Minneapolis.
A different angle to get a sense of the path to the cup.



Skyway Open Website


The best holes of this course were exceptionally made and designed
Most of the holes (with only a few exceptions) were able to handle heavy usage


System for returning putters and balls led to longer than normal wait times to start
Several holes with poor play design
Few too many holes with no putting for my own perference

Nerdy Notes:

  • 17 holes, Par 51
  • One putter per group but everyone gets their own ball. In the past the balls and putter would stay with the hole.
  • Hole #5, 8, 913, 14 (twice with different colors), and 16 were carried over from previous years.
  • Prices vary throughout the weekend. See website for details.
  • Course benefits Intersections: Downtown 2025 Plan’s Committee to End Street Homelessness
  • Budget extra time to play this course because the play spans several different buildings

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