Course: Bushwick Country Club
Location: 618 Grand St, Brooklyn, NY 11211
Price: Free, but you have to give the bartender your ID so he knows you won’t steal the putter. It was one of those places.
Review: What constitutes the best mini golf course? Just like the phrases “turn right here,” “I shot an elephant in my pajamas,” and “please don’t put your whole fist into your mouth sir, this is a house of God,” the word “best” is, to me, highly ambiguous. Is the “best” mini golf course dependent on the venue itself, or the memories made there?* Or, more specifically, is it dependent on the memories destroyed there as the sweet grip of alcohol devours your weak and feeble brain cells faster than you can say “I have played enough mini golf to drive a man to the depths of despair” (which is pretty fast if you slur your words). Located in the “fashionable” part of Brooklyn – if being adjacent to two rats fighting next to the corpse of another dead rat is fashionable – the discerning mini golf connoisseur will find the Bushwick Country Club: an ironic dive bar** with a quaint 6-hole mini golf course in its back yard.
And, let me tell you, this place had everything: a photo booth, a slushy machine, lethal $6 beer/shot combos, a men’s restroom covered in graffiti/missing a toilet seat. Everything! But most importantly, it had the only mini golf course I could convince my New York friends to go to. That’s why it seems reductive to judge this course purely on venue – in layman’s terms, Bushwick’s course was “pretty jank.” It was a dingy, scuffed, cramped course in the back of a dive bar, with interesting but barely functional props, using whiffle balls instead of regular golf balls (presumably because someone would get hurt otherwise). One of my friends put it most accurately “it’s like a frat hazed their initiates into building a putt putt course.” Which would be a sweet frat.
But, that being said, this was the most fun I’ve had at a mini golf course in a long, long time. I got to hang out with/talk to friends I hadn’t seen for years (who all asked, at various points during the night, zany things like “why are you doing this Dan? If it’s a cry for help, that’s fine, just let us know and we’ll get you the care you desperately need but don’t deserve”). Plus, like all great mini golf courses, Bushwick Country Club had a functioning windmill made out of empty PBR cans which should tell you what kind of place this bar was with more accuracy than this rambling review ever could. It may have been a dive bar, but, armed with the knowledge of its own inadequacies, and full of my nearest and dearest friends, Bushwick Country Club gave me something no other course could. Booze. And lots of it.
Unfortunately, all great things must come to a bitter, painful conclusion. And, like most nights spent in the human Petri dish known more formally as “Brooklyn,” after about 4 hours (give or take a few searing shots of whiskey) the world pulls the rug out from under your mini-golf-stained feet, and you wake up in a strange apartment two hours away from Penn Station with a throbbing headache and a crushed wiffle ball that you must of slept on because wow does your upper thigh hurt like hell. But you’ve got to keep going. You’ve got to press through the blinding hangover, say one final goodbye to the friends you won’t see again for years, stumble wearily into the street, ask an old lady pushing a grocery kart full of unopened toilet paper*** “where’s the q line,” and make your way to Connecticut.
Mini golf awaits.
* It’s obviously about the venue. This whole review is an exercise in madness.
** Which was really more of a wall in the hole, than vice versa…
*** What the hell was she doing with all that toilet paper???
Course Score: 20; no par listed.
Pros: Great night out; cheap drinks; lots of fun; this course gets a high recommendation.
Cons: Cruddy course; low upkeep; wiffle balls instead of real golf balls; crummy neighborhood.