Course: Pine Creek Miniature Golf
Location: 394 NJ-31, Ringoes, NJ 08551
Price: $11.00 for 18 holes on upper course (easy); $12.00 for 18 holes on lower course (hard)
Ayyyyy. Fuggedaboutit. Disco fries. Slice ‘a pizza. Pauly D. Wawa on the boards. Trenton.
That’s right, take a deep whiff of that humid, chemical-laden air and wipe that industrial smog from your astonished eyes because you’re in Jersey. New Jersey. The perfect travel destination for any 2-month long road trip: is your clothing dirty after spending weeks sleeping in an increasingly smelly car? Just go down to the shore and wash your clothes on the tanned, washboard abs of the local hunks. Is the bottom of your car filled with hundreds of Taco Bell wrappers after spending the past thirty days eating Gorditas with one hand and driving with the other? Fuggedaboutit! In Jersey, other people pump your gas for you so you’ll never have to leave the car (and spill your wrappers, your shame, in the middle of the 7-Eleven parking lot – letting the world see the depths to which you have fallen now that you have forsaken the unspoken conventions of society in favor of that cruel mistress called freedom).
Yes. New Jersey. Home of such internationally famous landmarks as Atlantic City, the Jersey Shore, the Jersey Turnpike, Newark, and fourteen of the world’s twenty largest pharmaceutical companies. Inexplicably however, New Jersey’s highest rated mini golf course is no where near any of these deeply historic landmarks. Located only twenty minutes away from sunny Trenton,* Pine Creek Miniature Golf is yet another one of those classic “one-with-nature” courses that I have grown to despise because there’s literally nothing new to write about them. I’m sure that even Agatha Christie got bored writing the same formulaic parlor mysteries ad nauseum, and I am no Agatha Christie.* Look, I get it. Nature is beautiful. Or something. But what am I supposed to say to make this course sound any different from Pennsylvania’s mini golf review? Or Indiana’s? Am I supposed to say something like “this course was a beautiful 75 minute-long trek through New Jersey’s pristine forests and rolling rivers, featuring complex holes and beautiful upkeep”? Probably. But, just like that corpse I threw off a cliff to fake my own tragic death for insurance reasons, my heart isn’t really in it.
That being said, Pine Creek was yet another overall fantastic course/nature hike. And, without a doubt, the pinnacle of the 18-hole adventure was the lake. Yup. You heard me. The mother effing lake located near the end of the lower course. Featuring three small waterfalls, a working waterwheel, a gazebo on a center island, and complex holes on the bridges leading to and away from the gazebo, this lake was dope. So dope that I momentarily forgot how many bodies the New Jersey mafioso had undoubtedly hid in its murky shadows. So dope that my arm got tired from fist-pumping in celebration of its majestic splendor. The rest of the course was nice too. But man, that lake. I haven’t seen that many cattails since I performed improv comedy at a poorly attended convention of cat enthusiasts that taught me the benefits of “spaying and neutering your feline companions” (this is a real comedy gig I did a few years ago; it did not go over well…)
Was this a perfect course? No. The lake, while beautiful, had a skimming of algae on the surface** that ruined the illusion of dopeness, meanwhile mosquitoes filled the air and ticks patrolled the ground like they lived there or something (when I’m playing mini golf, I want to feel like I’m outside, not actually be outside). Moreover, some of the holes were very stressfully constructed, featuring long, steep jumps over water features that were practically impossible to avoid. I don’t know, maybe I found these holes difficult because I haven’t played enough mini golf yet to know what the hell I’m talking about (he typed sarcastically). Overall however, this was a very good course. The best in New Jersey. Just, when compared to the rest of the nation’s finest courses, all I was left with was the memory of enjoyment… and crippling writer’s block because there was nothing interesting left to write about the outdoors.
* Despite all of my literary pretensions, my impeccable British accent, my collection of old-fashioned cardigans, and my legs that go all the way down.
** Apparently blue colored water actually prevents algae growth. That’s why it was a common staple of many of my previous courses. You learn something new every day…
Course Score: Max (tall) – 61, Max (short) – 68, Dan – 72, Mia – 89; par – 65.
Pros: Beautiful pristine nature; long holes; great upkeep; challenging environment; peaceful serene walk; lake.
Cons: Several difficult/impossible holes; many insects; algae growing on lake.