by Alex Lee
You could immediately dismiss this article as one of those "crotchety man yells at a cloud" type of rants, but I'm asking you to consider the following: Miniature golf needs to die. It doesn't matter whether we're talking about a pop-up establishment in your local shopping mall festooned with day-glo zombies and blacklight posters hanging from the ceiling or a full-fledged vacation destination with bumper stickers in the gift shop that read "I like big putts and I cannot lie."(TM) I am all for small businesses thriving and flourishing in today's economy, but when you pay your hard-earned monies for a round of nine, never mind 18, holes, there should be a disclaimer that you are also sacrificing your soul as well.
Let's consider what happens when you take your children for an outing of mini golf. Even before you settle in at the first hole, the questions already start:
"Mom, what color ball should I be?"
"Which size club should I use?"
"This putter is too long!"
"I want to keep score!"
"Dad, did you know there's no eraser on this?"
"WHY DOES HE GET TO HOLD THE TINY PENCIL?!?!?"
"Mom, my finger is bleeding because of the tiny pencil. Am I going to get lead poisoning?"
No, you won't get lead poisoning from a pencil and you are already up-to-date on your vaccinations, so let's proceed to the first hole.
Now, very young children love being first. They love the attention and adoration of being first. Shy kids throw pebbles in the water hazard but the rest of the time, it's always the youngest and the screamiest kids that absolutely insist on going first. Pair this with a pre-teen and you've got your Nitro and your Glycerin at the ready. The Nitro hits the first shot and, because they have not had any experience with angular momentum, their ball goes sailing into the course — five holes away. The Glycerin rolls their eyes skyward with an exasperated sigh and you can feel the tension building. A savvy parent has the forethought to grab multiple golf balls of the same color beforehand to keep the game moving, because not only does pre-teen need to play, but now other families are queueing up behind you. So, you put Nitro's ball three inches away from the cup and you stand with your feet around the cup so that there is no way they miss this shot — admit it, we've all done it for our kids. This is the spirit of miniature golf: cheating.
By hole number seven, the score sheet has been torn in half, you've let four other families play through, Nitro is on the verge of having a conniption because Glycerin keeps whispering "lead poisoning" into their ear, and the course designer has chosen to integrate CLOWNS into this hole.
At the last hole, you're just about ready to call your lawyer and are Zillowing properties in Borneo where there are no putters within a 200 mile radius. Glycerin thinks "F this" and goes out of turn which Nitro, obviously, objects to. Both are wrong, yet we understand why both are right. Glycerin finishes and is now halfway into the parking lot. You have to believe that there have been no abductions in this area because it's finally Nitro's turn. The ball eventually makes it into the cup which shuttles the ball away.
Nitro: "WHAT HAPPENED TO MY BALL?!?"
Parent: "It went back to the main office so someone else can use it."
This is when you discover Nitro has imprinted upon their golfball. They named it "Bally." Now, Bally has been abducted by the evil Putt-Putt conglomerate.
Fortunately for you, you've saved more money for ice cream sandwiches — they're right next to the bumper stickers.
Alex Lee is a 45-year-old father of two and was THIS close to becoming a doctor. He loves science, drums, making cakes of his best friend, and liberalism. He is also a full-time IT Specialist and part-time Technical Writer.