Course: Shoot for the Stars Mini-Golf
Location: 3110 W 76 Country Blvd, Branson, MO 65616
Price: $13 for 18 holes.
Review: After a quaint drive past several local gun stores, a gas station with two confederate flags*, and a billboard that read: “Diversity is the codename for #WhiteGenocide” I finally arrived in Branson, Missouri – the folksier, Midwestern cousin of Las Vegas. And what better way to enjoy the self-proclaimed cultural hub of the flyover states than by going to its “Hollywood” themed mini golf extravaganza? Located right on the downtown Branson strip, Shoot for the Stars Mini Golf was part of the Hollywood Wax Museum, a multinational chain so obsessed with celebrity culture, that it made TMZ look almost subdued by comparison.
And if Arkansas’ mini golf course appeared to be “fake,” Shoot for the Stars reveled in (and glamorized) the falsehood of celebrity culture. Guided by recordings of a fictional sleazy, weaselly, fast talking (read: Jewish) agent, Marty McBooster, the course led its patrons through the self-absorbed Hollywood machine one hole at a time. Starting with the first hole, entitled “Being Discovered,” customers eventually worked on a “Movie Set” (hole 5), went to their own “Movie Premiere” (hole 10) and finally, puttered down the red polypropylene carpet on “Oscar Night” (hole 16). I felt like a real A-list celebrity! Just like Brendan Fraser! Or the Baldwin brothers who aren’t Alec!
Moreover, disregarding its clearly fake palm trees, Shoot for the Stars was impressively technologically slick. Featuring high value replicas of Hollywood monuments, motion-activated paparazzi cameras, and voice recordings of Marty McBooster (who, to my amazement, never said the word Hanukkah once!) this place had a higher production value than many actual films (here’s looking at you Paranormal Activity). In addition, mist machines placed around the course, as well its many water features prevented me from getting heat stroke. Which was nice.
In summation, with all of its garish props, its flashy emptiness, and its misleading promises of easy fame, Shoot for the Stars was, without a doubt, the perfect imitation of Hollywood celebrity – exciting, expensive, and, in the end, artificially vapid.
Before I conclude this review, I must admit that I’ll be sorry to leave Branson behind. It was a nice (if gaudy) place. Though, that being said, I don’t think the folks of Branson will be sorry to see me go. According to one local, I speak like “I’m in some kind of a hurry.”
Looking at the solid month and a half of mini golf ahead of me, nothing could be further from the truth.
*And one of those “Don’t Tread On Me” snake flags – the last time that flag was this popular, the second amendment still referred to guns that had bayonets attached to them. (More accurately, the last time it was this popular, the second amendment was still 14 years away from being ratified. History is neat.)
Course score: 47; Par – 45.
Star-O-Meter™ score: Famous.
Pros: High production value; told a cohesive story; mist machines; committed to the high concept premise.
Cons: The holes were pretty simple; there were wood chips on the ground that were hard to putt around; slightly more expensive.