Friday, July 4, 2008

The Best Miniature Golf Course in Minnesota

How could it be better -- an artist-created yet playable miniature golf course. (The courses done at the Walker Art Center, much as I enjoyed them, are not really playable.)

The course I visited today is called Big Stone Mini Golf and Sculpture Garden, and it's out in the town of Mound, west of Lake Minnetonka.

Brownish stone carved to look like a pumpkin
This is part of the Pumpkin Patch hole -- yes, that's a carved stone pumpkin, with metal leaves. You had to play your ball around a bunch of these.

Black and silver metal dish about ten feet wide with golf green below
This hole is called Across the Universe. The hard part is to the right of the parabolic metal dish seen here -- you have to hit your ball into the openings in the bottom of a tree stump on a hill above the dish, and then it comes out into the parabola, then drops down to the green below.

Upside down ship hull made of rusted metal with colorful holes in it
This is the newest hole the sculptor has added, called Holey Ship.

Close up of the holes, which have melted looking colored plastic webbing in them
Detail of the Holey Ship. The colorful material is plastic, which the sculptor also uses to make large loose-woven bowls, which are for sale.

Inside the ship, the light filters through the colored plastic making patterns on the fairway
Inside, the Holey Ship is visually arresting. And it's a lot cooler in there, too!

Stone walls with sunflower plants
This may not look like much in the photo, but I think it's my favorite hole. It's called The Spiral, and it's the longest miniature golf hole I've ever seen. It took four good long strokes along the spiral to get the ball onto the green. The fairway is obscured at every point by sunflowers growing inside stone-walled berms. (There's a photo on the Big Stone website showing the hole when the sunflowers are blooming, and it looks even better.)

If you're ever in Minnesota in the summer, be sure to make the drive out to Big Stone!

The best miniature golf course I've played outside Minnesota is in Grand Lake, Colorado. I can't remember the name, or find anything about it on the web, though, so it may not be in business anymore (I played it in 2002). It was quite small (since it was right in the downtown area, it occupied the space of about two storefronts), and it looked like it had been there for some time.

The course was made up of a bunch of Rube Goldberg-type machines, some of which carried your ball along on a chain and did all sorts of crazy things. It had two stories -- you could choose to play the lower 9 or the upper 9, or both. The upper one was kind of like a catwalk.

I wish I had some photos of it to share, but I don't. Sorry!

1 comment:

Bill Lindeke said...

I didnt' realize you were a mini golf fan Pat. SPiral is my favorite hole here too! This is a wonderous place. I go every chance I get.