The New Mini Golf Course: A Test Drive

Last night, I said to my partner that I planned to play the Pier 25 mini golf course today, that it had opened. “I noticed that over the weekend,” he said. (I was out of town.)

“Why didn’t you mention it?”

“I didn’t know it was news,” he said. Well, from now on I feel justified not following the financial world.

So how was it? Too easy. OK, it’s for kids, I get that, but mini golf is one of those weird things that kids like more in theory. Anyone under seven doesn’t even bother playing by the rules—the course is just a new place to swing something around. But kids older than 12 are too cool for it. So who’s it for, really? Kids 7 to 12? Maybe. But it’s also for adults who refuse to grow up, who need something to do when their 5-year-olds are flailing around, and/or who feel a compulsion to win.

“One adult,” I said to the teenager working the table with as much dignity as I could muster, forking over my $5 ($4 for kids). And then I played the course in 15 minutes. (It helped that the only other golfer was a four-year-old.) The front nine is exceedingly easy—they’re all par-two holes, probably par-ones if you’ve played golf in the past 10 years. I’m not much of a golfer, and because I was alone I played with less patience than usual, so I generally needed two or three strokes. A few holes have patches of rough, but they’re off to the side, as if this were real golf.

The back nine gets more interesting, starting on the 11th hole: You have to hit the ball up a hill, where the ball funnels down into a hole that dumps your ball out by the real hole. The 12th hole has a clover-leaf ramp; the 13th hole (I think) has a patch of rough right between you and the hole. The pièce de résistance is the 15th hole: There’s a narrow bridge, over water, with nothing to stop an errant ball from plopping into the water I called it Crybaby Bridge back when I first saw the course in October, which I think would still be appropriate, except I discovered—only after hitting my ball across the bridge—that balls that go in the water drift down onto the green.

What kind of lessons are we teaching here, people?

Look, I had a blast. It’s a gorgeous day, the setting is divine, and the sound of rushing water is always pleasant (unless it’s your apartment flooding your downstairs neighbors’ place, forever giving them a reason to hate you, but we’ll get into that another time). And a full-on windmills-and-castles-and-pirate-ships mini golf course would’ve felt wrong. But I’ve played courses just as minimal that were tougher and as a result, more fun. Golf, even mini golf, is supposed to be challenging. The bottom line: If you’re an adult with out kids, or even with kids, you may want to get stoned first bring a flask. Just don’t say I said to.

P.S. to the caregiver who cheered when I sunk my hole-in-one: Thanks!



  1. Have run by the min-golf many a time waiting to see the rest of the installation….waiting…waiting. Baffling that that’s it. Obviously it’s geared toward youngsters, but like a CGI flick, it should still entertain the adults. Can sum it up in 2 words. No Windmill.

  2. a group of friends & I went last night, we had a blast (we are in the 25-29 age range)… the key is to stop by smith & mills for a few dark & Stormies prior to going!