Friday, July 19, 2013

Gnomes, Mazes, and the Master Narrative

There's an architect- and artist-designed mini-golf course over at the Walker Art Center again this summer. It's in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Sculpture Garden.

I think it's the best course they've had yet, on the whole. Here are the highlights.

This hole was covered in a half-dome that looked like a golf ball. Inside were miniatures of the museum, Cowles conservatory, and Spoonbridge and Cherry. It's your moment to experience Land of the Giants!

Very inventive -- once you get the ball up to the fairway inside the red box, your fellow players can help (or hinder) your approach to the hole by playing Garden Gnome Foosball with your ball.

This one isn't visually interesteing, but it's probably my favorite from a player's perspective. It's one of those big mazes that you tilt to get the ball to drop into the hole that's worth the fewest points.

This one is a pinball machine, so you can't really control where the ball goes. To get the one-point score, you have to put the ball into an impossible spot at the center of the bottom sidewalk arc. So not so great for a skilled player, but fun to look at and well-designed.

This Ames Room isn't the greatest as a playable hole, but it's the best photo opportunity. If two people stand against the back wall, one near each rectangle, and then a third person takes a picture through the little black rectangle at the center of the white railing, it looks like this:

The biggest academic props go to the last hole, which is called "18 Holes in One: Collapsing the Masters Narrative."

The text for it reads "A thrill and challenge for both the novice and seasoned mini-golfer alike, this hole is a physical manifestation of an overlay of all 18 legendary greens at Augusta National Golf Course, home of the Master's Tournament. With 18 potential targets, you are about to encounter a nonlinear spatiotemporal golfing experience like no other."

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