Course: The Fringe at Area 51 Family Entertainment
Location: 5100 Commerce Parkway, Roswell, GA 30076
Price: $7 for 18 holes; $10.50 for 36 holes,
Review: After 12 days on the road, I finally went mini golfing with another person. A real person! Recently, I’ve been spending most of my time talking to a pair of googly eyes I super-glued to my thumb; and, without a doubt, seeing my old high school friend was 1000% better than listening to Mr. Thumb talk about Syria for hours and hours on end. But I don’t want to spend this review talking about how nice it was to have companionship after one hundred years of solitude (give or take a few years). And I definitely don’t want to yammer on and on about how the sound of Sam’s voice, the warm press of his firm, supple hands against mine, and his irresistible musk that smelled like the Autumn harvest could have compelled me to stay in Georgia forever. I don’t want to talk about that. I can’t. I mustn’t.
No, what I want to talk about today is piracy. And to all you millennials out there, I’m not talking about Napster #lol #funny! I’m talking about the daring aquatic marauders glamorized in such films like Pirates of the Caribbean, Muppet Treasure Island, and Captain Phillips. Now, I’ve already mentioned the mini golf mega-chain Pirate’s Cove (that has 2 locations in Georgia alone), but, for the third time this trip, a state’s most popular mini golf course prominently featured pirates. Why is this genre such a popular one for mini golf? Do mini golfers collectively yearn for the sea, the adventures that come from months and months of rowing in the hot sun, the delicious taste of delightfully succulent lemons that protect us from the blight of scurvy? I don’t have an answer to these questions. It just seems odd how unusually prominent pirate mini golf courses are, given that they have relatively little representation in the rest of cultural Americana. Food for thought (just like juicy, savory lemons!)
That being said, I was underwhelmed by The Fringe mini golf, located just north of Atlanta. Featuring two courses, a pirate course and a wild west course, this venue was perfectly tolerable. The holes were simplistic, but in relatively good upkeep. And the props were of a moderately high production value. Just, like a podcast about being a struggling artist in Brooklyn, this course was wholly unremarkable. However, one thing struck me as odd while playing – many of the prop landmarks in the two courses referenced trademarked fictional characters. References to “John Shaft’s” mining company and “Barbosa, Sparrow, and Turner’s” law offices* were fun, but ultimately the intellectual property of MGM and Disney respectively. I don’t know much about copyright law, but even an illiterate child knows that these depictions do not legally constitute as parody and, if The Fringe is profiting as a result of these references, it is in violation of The Law. We should hold The Law more sacred than our own children. I would never violate The Law. I would never murder. I would never arson. I would never break into the private mini golf course of a North Carolina luxury hotel in the dead of night for the sole purpose of reviewing it. And I never will. That would be wrong. In the end, however, despite its legal shortcomings, The Fringe at Area 51 Family Entertainment was fine. Nothing special. But nothing terrible. And, if you have a friend with you, it makes for a very fun afternoon.
*Those three characters are enemies! There’s no way they would work together in a court of law. How could Sparrow work with Barbosa after Barbosa stranded him on an island and left him to die? And Turner would never work with those two. Turner always wanted to live an honest life as a blacksmith, married to the governor’s daughter. Not as an attorney with the two saltiest privateers in the seven seas. It would never work.
Course Score: Sam – 56, me – 55, par – 42.
Pros: The company of friends; each course was equally high production value; good props; good water features; several interesting holes.
Cons: Very simplistic; several of the holes were scuffed up; decent, but unremarkable.