Course: Westerville Mini Golf
Location: 450 W. Schrock Road Westerville, Ohio 43081
Price: $6 for 18 holes
Review: How much mini golf is too much mini golf? Obviously a two-month-long road trip is far too much a time for any sane person to play mini golf. But what’s the cutoff point? Is it an hour? Six hours? How about a full day?
I ask these questions because, just like the Lincoln Memorial or that bike shop where Orville and Wilbur practiced kissing on one another until they invented the airplane, Ohio’s Westerville Mini Golf is a deeply, historically significant site. All the way back in the year 2008,* local mini golf enthusiast David Pfefferle set the world record for most mini golf played in a 24-hour period. Putting 4,729 holes throughout the day, Pfefferle walked approximately 55 (repetitive) miles at the Westerville Golf Center, raising over 6,000 dollars for charity. Now, for those keeping score at home, 55 miles is a very large distance to play mini golf, but hopefully I can make that number a little less abstract: quick, close your eyes and think of the longest physical distance you can realistically imagine. Now double it. Now double it again. Now forget that distance and, instead, imagine an island 18 times as large as Three Mile Island.
It’s a pretty long distance to play mini golf.
That being said, this place needs some new carpet. Immediately. I’m sure, at one point in time, Westerville was filled with bright, pristine green putting surfaces. But when I visited, the carpeting had worn down irreparably. It was black and scuffed. It was slick and uneven. It was impossible to predict where your ball would end up whenever you hit it. In short, playing there was more stressful than I care to admit. And I care to admit a lot of things.** All I will say is, if David Pfefferle was trying to set the world record today, he’d probably destroy his putting iron in an uncharacteristic fit of rage and unbridled sexual exasperation because, no matter how well he played, the game was rigged.
But, despite its atrocious carpet situation, Westerville was overall pretty average. It had a beautiful flowing river through the center of the course, impressive fountains on either end, and a fun lawn-gnome theme. It was quaint but harmless. Like a wax apple. Or an underwritten female protagonist in a movie about a guy finding love in all the wrong places.*** But, in comparison to some of the courses I’ve already visited, it was unremarkable.
So, instead, given that Ohio was recently the site of the RNC in the midst of a particularly contentious election, I thought I’d take a brief moment to (perhaps pointlessly) talk about America.
If we’re being honest, I don’t know what I expected to see golfing through every state in America. I’ll admit, I sort of assumed I’d see at least a few Hillary Clinton effigies, burning brightly on the mini fairways like beautiful, politically divisive comets. Because that would be an amazing stereotype-reaffirming anecdote. But instead, I’ve really been struck by how mundane things have been. How similar all the people were (at least, the people who were playing mini golf). No matter what state I went to (red or blue), kids ran wild through the course while frazzled parents tried to keep up; octogenarians gabbed with their friends; high school students went on awkward first dates. And no matter where I was, if there was a large group in front of me, they would always stop and politely, kindly say “here, why don’t you play through?”
Without making too much of a political statement, all I’ll say is that it was nice of them to do that for me.
* A simpler time, when Lance Armstrong was still just a really good biker. And Tiger Woods was in a committed, monogamous marriage to a Swedish supermodel. And Ted Cruz was still a terrifying lizard-person with the moral compass of a plague rat that had been born with a congenital conscience-defect. But no one really knew who he was back then. So it was better.
** I still love you, Beth. If you’re reading this blog. Please. Come back to me.
*** The movie 500 Days of Summer singlehandedly set back gender equality for several decades.
Course Score: 52; Par – 44.
Pros: Quaint vibe; nice environment; pretty river/fountain; cheap.
Cons: Atrocious carpeting; simplistic holes; strangely sloped; very slick; twigs on the course; extraordinarily unpredictable.