Out n About in Minneapolis ~ Mini Golf at the Walker

By damekor, Aug 12 2014 07:46AM


By OFH, Jun 22 2014 02:16PM Posted On Off The Hook Magazine

We all want to be out doors when the sun is out, caressing our skin, it puts us all in a good mood with our vitamin D on the up, the serotonin on the up, and the corners of our mouths invariably go up. Especially here in Minneapolis we have to take advantage of those days when the sun is out to play, shining it's glorious blazing rays down on us, becuase when it's not, it's not. Only a few months back the temperature was below average, blisteringly cold as a spring time snow storm hit The Twin Cities.

With the sun well and truly out, what better to do than get out in it, and take a stroll through a massive urban sculpture garden. A stones throw from the Walker (see my last blog), the 11 acre garden which opened in 1988, comprises of more than 40 sculptures on permanent view from American and International artists. The main feature is a piece created by husband and wife artistic duo Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, 'Spoonbridge & Cherry', and is exactly what it says on the tin. A massive 52ft spoon which also acts as a bridge from the grassy area to a little island in the pond, and atop the spoon, is the cherry, and it's a big one at 9 1/2 ft. But what it does't say on the tin is that the cherry's stem sprays out it's own water which flows down and around the cherry, creating a sense of movement. My favorite sculpture is by Deborah Butterfield. 'Woodrow' is a stately and elegant looking horse and what I love about it, is the idea that things are not always what they seem, especially at first glance, sometimes you have to get right up close and touch something to find out what it's made of. So what you think Woodrow is at first glance is tree branches and bark, but in fact upon closer inspection, it is fact made of bronze. And a beautiful bronze beast it is.

Now, word on the street for a cool place to hang out is the very newly opened mini golf course in celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the garden. There are two courses A & B each with 9 holes to test your putting skills, with all the hazards and obstacles designed by 29 Minnesotan artists and architects. When I first looked at the courses I was rubbing my hands in glee, it sure looks like fun, I was ready to get my hand, wrist, shoulder and hip action into full swing, well maybe not so much hip action because when I did that I found my golf ball careering off into someone else's obstacle. I did get a little over excited and this game does require some concentration, accuracy and delicacy with your putter, you have to employ some tactics and work out how to use each obstacle to win each hole.

This is a game to play with friends, or family, or even foes, especially if you are very good at this sport. It turns out I'm not, but I'm not gonna dwell on that. Raring to go we set out to begin at the beginning hole number 1 on course A "Curling Club", a great start, a simple start, one would think, it was a straight line from start to finish with Curling paraphernalia adorning the circumference of the hole. Six tries later I got it in. Not the best start but I kept me chin up, in fact I did pretty awfully badly until the 9th hole "Don't Blow it", you have to get the ball up a slope perfectly and into a giant gum ball machine and if you do it spirals down the back, if you don't do it perfectly it just disappears, and I'm happy to say I didn't, blow it, two goes at getting it up and in, and down the spiral it went! Oh yes.

Onto course B. "Tilt-A-Putt" took some skill, once you'd got the ball through and along the tube it comes out onto a big reflective tilting platform that you have to manipulate as the ball rolls with your tilts. Time slowed down with Snakebite! It was quite hypnotic as the ball slowly rolled down and around the snakes tail. "Rock! Garden" is quite bold and different looking, glittery coloured rocks that when you strike your ball at them, they either bong like a drum or tinkle like a xylophone. It is a whole lot of fun, looking all about me, people either had serious expressions of concentration, or smiles of elation on their faces, sounds of 'Oooh' 'Ahhh' those snatched 'yes's' with clenched fists or, you know that moment when you hit the ball and it looks like it's going in and you are holding your breath and time slows down and and and, somehow the ball stops just short, like actually on the edge of the hole, and there's this growling incredulous 'no' just comes out? That was me.

I don't think I'll be heading to a course at the British Open International Minigolf Tournament or US ProMiniGolf Tour Masters any time soon, however we really did enjoy ourselves, mini golf is exciting, fun and challenging. We all left in a good mood and the corners of our mouths were well and truly up. I say head on down there, but be warned, because it's so popular there can be wait times of over an hour to get putting on a course. You could of course while away the waiting and see me old friend Woodrow in the sculpture garden.

What a glorious golfing day out in the garden.


open until the 1st of september

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