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It seemed too trivial not to post it here
February 17, 2009 3:37 PM   Subscribe

A detailed history of miniature golf, from it's genesis in the Ladies' Putting Club of St. Andrew's to the creative and extravagant future.
posted by Navelgazer (43 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite

 
Awesome. Suck it, Time Magazine!
posted by Rock Steady at 3:40 PM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


[via]
posted by dersins at 3:45 PM on February 17, 2009


Thanks dersins. I actually posted this before coming across Miko's comment, but she came up with a bunch of great stuff that's well worth checking out.
posted by Navelgazer at 3:47 PM on February 17, 2009


and Time Magazine continues it's tradition of incorrect predictions
posted by pantsrobot at 3:48 PM on February 17, 2009


For future reference: Entry you'll never see: I was going to share a detailed history of miniature golf with everybody, but it seemed too trivial to post here.

Because we like minigolf. And proving once-great magazines wrong. Mostly the former, though.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:49 PM on February 17, 2009


I kinda thought the point Time was making was that you'd never see someone avoid making a post about minigolf because they thought it too trivial. In any case, good show.
posted by odinsdream at 3:51 PM on February 17, 2009 [7 favorites]


Time has a better sense of sarcasm than Mefi? Is this the first sign of the earth swapping polarity?
posted by Keith Talent at 3:54 PM on February 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


In the 1980s, there was a brief period where hip NYC art galleries were installing minature golf setups designed by artists. This is the best use New York art galleries have been put to since, oh, the death of George Pinkham Ryder.
posted by Faze at 3:56 PM on February 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


STUNT POST!!
posted by DU at 3:57 PM on February 17, 2009


PUNT STOATS!
posted by loquacious at 4:01 PM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


SPUN TOAST!
posted by papafrita at 4:05 PM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


STUNT GOLF?
posted by filthy light thief at 4:09 PM on February 17, 2009


STUNT POST!!

I'll allow it.
posted by jessamyn at 4:10 PM on February 17, 2009 [4 favorites]


From it is genesis.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 4:10 PM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


A young man, his father and his grandfather were about to tee off to start their round when an incredibly good-looking woman walked up to the tee box.

"Would you like to join us and make a foursome?" asked the grandfather.

"I would, but on one condition," replied the lovely young woman. "I prefer to select my own clubs and make my own putts without advice from men. Every other time I've golfed with men, they try to give me advice. Will you agree not to give me advice?"

The men all consented in unison, none of them being particularly good players.

As they soon realized, this young woman was a fabulous golfer. She was getting par on every hole. The men were wondering who would have the nerve to give her advice.

On the eighteenth hole, the woman found herself facing a 35-foot putt, with a severe undulation on the green. She studied it, and studied it, and studied it.

Finally, she said, "Gentlemen, I'm very happy that none of you tried to give me advice before this. I've never played a round with men when at least one of them didn't try to give me some advice. Right now, if I make this putt, I'll have par for the course, and I'm asking for your advice. If you help me and I make this shot, I'll sleep with each one of you!"

The young man rushed over, studied the putt, and said, "You have to aim for that small bush to the left of the hole, that should be the right break."

The father ran over and studied the putt, then said, "No, I think you should aim at the knot on the log to the left of the hole, and that will be the right break."

The grandfather walked up to the ball. "Heck," he said, calmly picking up the ball, "that's a gimme."
posted by netbros at 4:11 PM on February 17, 2009 [6 favorites]


STUMPED, TOTES.

(I don't get it.)
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 4:17 PM on February 17, 2009


No soap, radio?
posted by Navelgazer at 4:20 PM on February 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


Continuing it is tradition, too.
posted by emelenjr at 4:32 PM on February 17, 2009


Too trivial. Best of the Web.

I know what the words mean, but not next to one another like that.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 4:47 PM on February 17, 2009


I can't hear "St Andrews Ladies Golf Club" without picturing myself passed out stone drunk, wearing an evening gown and clutching a half-drunk bottle of champagne, in the Road Hole bunker on the Old Course at 5am on a sunday morning.

What? Isn't that how everyone plays golf?
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 4:51 PM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh shit sorry, I didn't realize we weren't actually commenting on the subject of the post.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 4:52 PM on February 17, 2009


A good walk spoiled.
posted by fixedgear at 4:53 PM on February 17, 2009




Less of a waste of land than regular golf, but no little cars, and it's not as easy to blow a jay on a miniature-golf course. So it's a toss-up.
posted by box at 5:34 PM on February 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Gambling on mini-golf is the only thing better than gambling on skee ball.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 5:43 PM on February 17, 2009


The only time I have played mini golf (or golf of any sort) was on the Southern coast of the Avalon Peninsula in Newfoundland a few years back. My wife and I where playing at some moderately shabby resort where we where staying the night. This random dog came up and absconded with our ball. To distract him I tossed a stick off the cliff, off he went to get it. This happened a few times, then one time he came back with a chunk of asphalt. So I started throwing that for the dog to chase after. At that point we stopped playing mini golf as watching a large amiable dog chasing a chunk of asphalt was more entertaining anyways.
posted by edgeways at 6:12 PM on February 17, 2009


I love miniature golf. It was this sort of slow-burn, occasionally-satisfied obsession when I was a kid—we couldn't pass a minigolf place without me pining for some through-the-windmill action, though usually we were headed somewhere and so pining was all I got to do.

I spent at least a couple of birthdays and I'm sure a couple other random special occasions at The Chocolate Chipper, an indoor 18-hole minigolf + arcade + ice cream parlor joint somewhere on the outskirts of Portland. I don't know if I had been too young during the earlier visits to notice the dimness and dinginess of the place, or it had actually actively degraded over the years that I'd been there—maybe it was a bit of both—but standing around in the Chipper the last time I was there and realizing that the place was kind of a dump was definitely one of those small rites of adolescence in which adulthood managed to signal darkly and insistently from the horizon.

There was also an outdoor Putt Putt place in town that we went to once or maybe twice. It dismayed me that they weren't open year-round—when the weather got cold they would shut down for a string of months, which just seemed to me as a kid to be a terrible waste of potential. It didn't really occur to me that the place wasn't ever busy even in the middle of summer—I just didn't like the idea of a miniature golf course sitting there, totally ready for some putting but for whatever reason arbitrary Closed. It seemed foolish.

Both of those are gone now; miniature golf courses seemed to vanish from Portland in tandem with drive-ins. The Foster Road Drive-In, a big 3-screen field where I watched movies with my family as a kid and later with a couple friends in the back of an old flatbed truck when I was sixteen, closed down a year or so after I graduated from high school, and has since been demolished.

Both minigolf and drive-ins were well on their way out by the time I started falling in love with them, I know. It feels a bit like stolen nostalgia, a late-comer longing for what was already a half-forgotten fringe, something better and more thoroughly loved by folks older than me who had already seen these things dying off and had their grief about it.

The minigolf installations I see these days are few and far between and sad things at that mostly, though there's a place up in Vancouver, WA that, at least a few years ago, was running a good pair of 18-hole outdoor courses.
posted by cortex at 6:49 PM on February 17, 2009 [6 favorites]


I love it too. We still play a couple times a year, especially on vacation. Counter to the trend in the West that cortex mentions, there are many new and very splendid mini-golf courses in my vacation haunts. They seem to get more elaborate all the time, with waterfalls, animatronics, rope bridges, mirror illusions, and so on. We played an "Indiana-Jones" themed one last summer that was honestly creepy because of the prevalence of cobwebbed skulls bursting from the walls and that sort of thing.

Old school, new school - I like them both. Mini golf is a great pastime that doesn't take too long, and at which most everyone can feel like victory is within their grasp. Or at least that if they suck, it doesn't matter.
posted by Miko at 7:03 PM on February 17, 2009


Less of a waste of land than regular golf, but no little cars, and it's not as easy to blow a jay on a miniature-golf course. So it's a toss-up.

I beg your pardon sir.
posted by jquinby at 7:07 PM on February 17, 2009


To distract him I tossed a stick off the cliff, off he went to get it.

How long did it take him to climb back up?
posted by ook at 7:26 PM on February 17, 2009


The best minigolf place in Tucson closed down last year. Which is a double shame, because not only was it a decent minigolf place, but it was home to the Giant Tiki Head, which was repeatedly voted the best makeout place in Tucson.

It really was.

Fortunately, they found a new home for it. But it just won't be the same as sneaking up there in the middle of a round for a quick grope.
posted by MrVisible at 7:45 PM on February 17, 2009


....Ο
posted by Kronos_to_Earth at 8:43 PM on February 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


and Time Magazine continues it's tradition of incorrect predictions

Or rather, managed to make par for once.
posted by dhartung at 9:45 PM on February 17, 2009


I love miniature golf, but its hard to find decent courses. The best I've ever played is "Putt R Golf" in Houghton Lake, MI. This is an old school course, and the holes are long and challengin. We're usually up there every summer and get in a few rounds. My son would play 3 or 4 rounds a day, given half a chance.

A couple years ago they opened a "Mountain" putt-putt right next door. It looks fantastic from the road, and we thought "Oh no, there goes Putt R Golf". But it looks like most people realize that the new place is all sizzle, and no steak. Every time I drive by, there are more cars in Putt R Golf lot than the new one.
posted by mach at 11:39 PM on February 17, 2009


The minigolf installations I see these days are few and far between and sad things at that mostly, though there's a place up in Vancouver, WA that, at least a few years ago, was running a good pair of 18-hole outdoor courses.

I know of at least one place in Vancouver, WA, that has what I think is a nine-hole outdoor course, but it might be a full eighteen-hole. It's not at all far off I-5. I'll swing by and take a look next time I'm passing it.
posted by Caduceus at 12:18 AM on February 18, 2009


Fun fact: the local mini golf near here is called Mr. Puttz.
posted by jessamyn at 6:00 AM on February 18, 2009


Many years ago, in its early days (late '70s or early '80s), GAMES Magazine invited readers, as one of its contests, to design a hole for a miniature golf course. They selected nine winners. I don't remember all of them, but my favorite was an ellipse, with the tee at one focus and the hole at the other. Guaranteed hole-in-one, as long as you hit it hard enough.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 6:38 AM on February 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


Its rare that I can get together with some or all of my 3 brothers and mini-golf won't at some point enter the equation. They're still very much alive and kicking in northwestern Pennsylvania (where 2 of them are in college) and northern California (where our parents still live). Granted, for the most part they are older and somewhat decaying, but there's still plenty of fun to be had there for those willing to mine it.

We generally try to get a full 4-course meal of fun, and there's an art to the order in which you approach it. Batting cages always come first. This generally starts out with mild heckling and then turns into outright competition that usually ends in rotating through the same cage, one at a time, 5 swings each. If nobody gets hit with a bat, it is a success.

Once you've worked up a good sweat, its time to let the cool breeze of go-kart dry your brow. This involves a lot of jostling for position in the queue whilst evaluating the vehicles currently on the track and lying to each other about which one you are going to take, then a mad race to the cars when the gate opens. Sometimes there is pause for bribing the kids working the track to let us stay on for an extra race or two. The goal of the go-kart race is to win, but everyone holds an equal side-goal to create havoc on the tracks. Spinning out the leader is a particular badge of honor.

Next up, at the nicer places, the bumper boats. Generally everyone gets soaked. There is lots of teaming up on the driest towards the end and always the potential that someone is going to hop out of their boat and flip someone else's.

Which always makes us those sloppy, soaking wet young adults acting like 5 year olds when we walk up to get our putters and balls. We're generally pretty civil about the golf part but of course we're always trying to cheat the 18th hole thing when nobody's looking to get the free whatever you win.

These are usually some of the best days of my year.
posted by allkindsoftime at 8:37 AM on February 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


Granted, for the most part they are older and somewhat decaying

It's not nice to talk about your brothers that way (even if it's true).
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 9:12 AM on February 18, 2009


DevilsAdvocate, I've seen a pool table like that.
posted by MrMoonPie at 10:32 AM on February 18, 2009


Oh, and the site of a future DC meetup is the H Street Country Club--a bar with putt-putt. Aw yeah.
posted by MrMoonPie at 10:34 AM on February 18, 2009


Sorry, that looks like it has a marked insufficiency of both pirates and blacklight.
posted by dersins at 11:29 AM on February 18, 2009


The link died!
posted by serazin at 3:21 PM on March 3, 2009


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