Over the past few weeks I’ve played quite a bit of miniature golf. Maybe you call it putt-putt or mini golf. It’s a perfect family activity but I can’t help but notice the courses have evolved from the cute little obstacles of the 60’s to torture chambers with a hole at the end.
The first miniature golf course I ever played on was part of a little amusement park on Northern Blvd. in Queens called Kiddy City which had, like eight rides including the magnificent Roto Jets and Comet Jr. roller coaster.
The 19-hole course had the requisite windmills and metal loop that took a full swing to get the ball up, around and through. There was also a tunnel that looked like a little barn you had to shoot through to get to the hole. Simple stuff, but challenging and fun.
Not today. Today’s courses have so many bumps, curves, depressions and mesas made of indoor-outdoor carpet they look like a 13-year old’s zit face. I’d take 13 windmills and shooting through the legs of a 100 ceramic heifers over whacking the day-glo orange ball 13 times just to get it up out of the concrete divot and in the same zip code as the hole. Oh, how about the waterfalls? Refreshing on a hot day, except if the water is treated with the same stuff they’re using to kill Asian carp in Lake Michigan.
I certainly don’t mind some wood block obstacles to circumvent, but I do mind structures that require building permits and aircraft warning lights.
As you can see from the photo, miniature golf operators have also developed a rather cynical sense of humor. In this case, providing only putters the size of Lilliputians. After my third stroke, my body took on a semi-permanent 90-degree posture from bending so deeply.
Keeping score? Forget about it. I don’t even grab a card anymore. Despite ramping up the cruelty handicap each hole is still rated Par 2. Sure, one stroke to slam against the brick wall with a one-inch hole to navigate, the second to pick up the ball and drop it in the hole so you don’t hold up the family of 17 waiting behind you with a screaming kid who just tossed his cookies in the little fake water trap.
Oh, I guess I could break down and play an actual game of golf but that would only result in losing $30 worth of Titleists along with my mind.
I’ll stick with miniature golf for now. For those of us for whom genetics granted limited physical altitude, life’s always been about the short game anyway.