6/24/16 – Kansas

Course: Smiley’s Golf Complex
Location: 10195 Monticello Terrace, Lenexa, KS 66227
Price: $9 for 18 holes; $11.50 for 36 holes.


Smiley’s Golf Complex

Review: Like Mississippi, Kansas did not seem to have an overly vibrant miniature golf scene. Most of Kansas’ best mini golf venues were located on the Missouri side of Kansas City, which doesn’t really work for the purposes of this poorly conceived review guide. (Also, more importantly, why is half of Kansas City in Missouri? That’s madness! That’s like placing Oklahoma City in Montreal. Or refusing to give the United States Virgin Islands full congressional representation in the United States of America. That wouldn’t make any sense!) However, Smiley’s Golf Complex was a well esteemed venue located in sunny Lenexa, Kansas, that had two different mini golf courses: “Famous Golf” and “Mini Haunts.”

And, true to its name, the “Famous Golf” portion of Smiley’s offered the prospective mini golfer a very polished, professional experience. It was sleek and user-friendly: the Microsoft Excel of mini golf courses. And, like a young female lawyer in a world full of men, “Famous Golf” worked twice as hard to prove itself. It was shaded; it was freshly re-carpeted for the summer rush; and, just like a stand-up comic at an AA meeting, it fit seamlessly into the environment around it. Furthermore, using the expansive Kansas prairie to its advantage, many of the holes were longer and more complex than any I had previously encountered which was a pleasant surprise. I still remember the first time I used Microsoft Excel: the wry smile that emerged from my chapped lips as I concatenated my first two data cells . After playing 18 holes of “Famous Golf,” for the first time in years, that wry smile returned.

But, if “Famous Golf” was the Microsoft Excel of the mini golf world, “Mini Haunts” was, without a doubt, the mini golf equivalent of a giraffe that had overdosed on tranquilizers. I realize that those were mixed metaphors, but after putting 18 holes on “Mini Haunts,” the comparison feels apt. To the best of my discerning abilities, the theme of “Mini Haunts” was “things that are scary.” But that isn’t entirely correct. It was more like “random junk we have lying around that we can put spooky adjectives in front of.” It was the Boo Berry Cereal of mini golf courses (and when I buy the most terrifying-named breakfast food, I expect to get a goddamn chill down my spine, not a cardboard box full of lies). Placed strategically around the course was a crass menagerie of the world’s most famous scary objects. You know, objects like the “Giant Skull” (a giant skull), the “Voodoo Curse” (a repurposed Easter Island head), or even the “Supernatural Rock” (which was literally just a rock. See below). It was disheartening. In short, Smiley’s Golf Complex, while impressive, was ultimately as precarious and unbalanced as a boulder perched on the top of “Trouble Hill” (the 17th hole of “Mini Haunts” – it was just a hill.)

Course score: 71; Par 55. Not a great game.
Pros: Great “Famous Golf” course; unique holes and an admirable use of space.
Cons: The “Mini Haunts” course was obviously an afterthought; the “water” features were just cement that had been painted blue; some of the holes were in a well-worn state of disrepair; the “Mini Haunts” holes were far more simplistic than the “Famous Golf” holes.

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