Course: Rustic Driving Range and Miniature Golf Inc
Location: 5955 Terrace Ave, Indianapolis, IN 46203
Price: $7 for 9 holes; $9 for 18 holes; $14 for 27 holes.
Review: Ok, yeah. I take back everything I said about being tired of mini golf. This place was incredible. These past few days I’ve been visiting a seemingly unending onslaught of self-righteous, cookie cutter “one-with-nature” courses. Well, this place actually was nature. Established in 1932 (the year we split the first atom), Rustic Driving Range has been operating for the past 84 years. And, let me tell you, its dedication to the ideals of the 1932 (the first year a woman was elected to the U.S. Senate) really comes through. The holes were actually made of real grass. Seriously, look at those pictures. It’s real grass! It was just like a real golf course, only smaller! The last time I felt this much giddy joy was when I played poppa’s violin for the first time (only this time, I didn’t crack the resin and forever betray poppa’s trust!) This place was great!
Were there any downsides to Rustic Driving Range? Kind of. But they went hand in hand with the upsides. This was nature. Real nature. The reason that we invented the indoors. And sure, there were a few fire ants in the sand traps (made out of real sand!), but that’s the price you have to pay for putting in the mini golf equivalent of a Jack London novel. I mean, come on: there were ducks that lived right on the course like it was no big deal; almost every hole featured a unique nature-based obstacle (on one hole you had to ramp your ball over an authentic stone water well, like an old-timey Evel Knievel). And these courses were long. Real long. Longer than a Toblerone bar. Longer than a student film about SeaWorld. Par 5 long. Just walking across the rustic Indiana countryside, I felt like Meriwether Lewis, making his way across our fledgling nation (America), only this time, Clark wasn’t there talking about his stupid plants (when he could have been talking about actually cool things, like penicillin or the electric guitar).
When all was said and done, I ended up spending two hours at Rustic Driving Range, putting a solid 27 holes in a rustic paradise. I finished just as the sun descended back into its earthen tomb and the fireflies began to dance like tiny fairies in the tawny sunset. It was beautiful. It was sublime. And most importantly, it was one of the best mini golf courses in the nation.
Course Score: 9 holes – 35; par – 36. 18 holes – 70; Par – 72.
Pros: So many – this was mini golf the way it was meant to be played. Long holes; unique gameplay; dedication to a heretofore forgotten wilderness.
Cons: Fair amount of fire ants and mosquitos, but the front desk provided bug spray, so even that wasn’t a huge problem.