Thursday, July 26, 2012

Mini-Golf @ Pigeon Forge

Mini Golf (a.k.a. - Putt Putt) @ Pigeon Forge[1]: As state in a previous post, the Pook and I recently spent a few days in Pigeon Forge.  We picked that spot for three main reasons.  One of which was that they have a lot of mini-golf courses and the Pook had a hankering.[2]  So here are the definitive grades for the courses that we visited.[3]

Ripley's Old MacDonald's Farm Mini-Golf: Sticking with two of the Pigeon Forge traditions, this course is country themed and owned by Ripley's. In Pigeon Forge, if you aren't interested in looking at people shove nails up their noses, Ripley's is more than willing to take your money in a variety of other venues.  Including an aquarium, a world's record museum and at least six other attractions including one that's a 4D theater.[4]  

We visited this course first, mainly because there was a retarded amount of traffic and we were right beside it.  None of it's three courses were really difficult at all and they were very "luck" related.  A slope filled with gophers that make your ball pachinko down the hill is a good example.  Thus good and bad players alike won't have any trouble getting the ball near the hole. So it's fun to watch but doesn't require much skill. Lot's of large animal figures talk to you throughout in bad accents and make awful puns.  There's also a repetitive country instrumental song that plays constantly that will haunt your dreams for the next three days. (Cow Course: B: 40 P: 46,  Chicken Course: B: 34 P: 39, Pig Course: B: 40, P: 43)

Hazzard County Country Club: This course was located at Cooter's Place in Gatlinburg.  Cooter also has a museum, store and go-carts.[5]  We initially passed this by, but ended up rushing back when the sky opened up and started trying to drown us.  The course is indoors on the second floor of a building that clearly used to be house.  Thus the different holes wind down the hallways and in the rooms, which is sort of strange.  There's Dukes of Hazzard memorabilia on the walls throughout.  In the end we were glad we visited this course because it turned out to be one of the best.  There was no random junk on the holes but there were plenty of slopes and bumpers which meant you had to be skillful and not just lucky.  (B: 47, P: 52)

Hillbilly Golf: Originally I had no interest in playing this course that's located in Gatlinburg, but when the Pook read that you had to take a ride in an incline up the side of the mountain and then the holes wandered back down the mountains side, I was very interested.  When we were walking by and saw that one hole of golf cost $13 my interested evaporated.  You can save money by walking 50 yards back up the road to Cooter's.

Professor Hakkers Lost Treasure Golf: Two different courses are offered here.  You can take a mine train up to the first hole of both or you can walk up the stairs.  If you're into short train rides in a tiny mine car take the train.  If you want to beat everyone else to the first hole, take the stairs.  Lot's of decorations and such to look at, but most of the holes are just big putting greens without any obstacles, slopes or bumpers.  So kinda lame.  Of course the greens are large and the holes so far from the edges that you end up taking a lot of strokes.  (Gold Course: B: 55 P: 63, Diamond Course: B: 52 P: 55)

Adventure Golf: Two different courses that are a bit run down but don't let that put you off.  They were my favorite of all the ones we visited.  Very challenging with slopes, bumpers and obstacles placed in a way that required you to have skill and not just luck.  Also a lot of giant monsters and buildings give it good ambiance.  I highly recommend this one.  (Course 1: B: 43, P: 48,  Course 2: B: 46, P: 47)

Walden's Landing Firehouse Golf: The last place we visited.  Random animals and firehouse equipment decorate the two courses.  Unfortunately a lot of the time the right call was to completely avoid those and hit around them.  For instance on one hole you can send you ball through a loop-the-loop or you can putt beside it and get right to the hole.  The two best parts of this course were the following.

On one hole there is a ladder lying across the end of a ramp that requires you putt between the rungs to get your ball to the lower green.  The Pook upon seeing this said, "You know I'm totally going to hit the rung don't you?"  She then putted and hit directly on the ladder rung causing the ball to roll all of the way back to the start.  Then she did it again.  Laughter ensued.

As the scores I've listed at the end of each courses review reveal, I had won every round of golf we played up until this point.  On the phone with my mom[6] she said I should be a good husband and let the Pook win one[7].  Having dominated her on the first course and knowing that this was the last mini-golf we would be playing, the second course was the last chance she would have to win.  The round started with me choking on the first hole and taking six strokes to her three.  Rapidly the Pook increased her lead to six strokes by the sixth hole.  So, while I don't usually play to lose, I was happy that it looked like she would actually win a round.  Fast forward to the eighteenth hole and the score is tied.  Like a lot of courses the last hole was a goofy thing that you were supposed to do in one stroke.  You putted down a slope to five openings in the side of a box.  Getting the ball into the center opening counted as one stroke.  The openings on either side of that were two strokes and the outer two openings were three strokes.  The Pook went first and the ball rolled straight down the slope and struck the divider on the left side of the one stroke hole and didn't go into any hole.  So she walked up and putted it into the one stroke hole (thus counting as two strokes).  I lined up and prepared to putt.  If I made it into the one hole I would win.  The two hole would mean a tie and the three hole would mean the Pook finally won one.  I hit the ball and it hit a microscopic bump on the lip at the start of the slope.  The ball shot up into the air and flew to the left[8].  From there it landed on the edge of rail on the left edge of the entire green and shot straight into the one stroke hole. Sorry Pook, some things are just not meant to be. (Red Course: B: 42, P: 51, Yellow Course: B: 45, P: 46).

Ripley's Old MacDonald's Farm Mini-Golf: B-
Hazzard County Country Club: A
Professor Hakkers Lost Treasure Golf: B+
Adventure Golf: A+
Walden's Landing Firehouse Golf: B

[1] Actually some of these are located in Gatlinburg and not Pigeon Forge, but the two are essentially the same place anyway.
[2]The other two reasons are that it is an inexpensive vacation and that it was in a different state than our children.
[3] These courses represent only a fraction of the choices available.  I don't think anyone actually loves mini-golf enough to actually play all of the courses in the area.
[4] Which makes it one D short of the 5D theater we saw in Gatlinburg.
[5] The entire place was a homage to everything Dukes of Hazzard.  Including a TV that constantly runs episodes of the show.  Having not seen one since I was a young lad let me tell you this.  Man are those bad.
[6] No I don't call my mom every day while on vacation.  Unless she's watching my kids, then I totally do.
[7] Yeah right.
[8] At which point I thought to myself, "Oh well.  I've lost this one."

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