Location: 112 Point Judith Rd, Narragansett, RI 02882
Price: $9 for 18 holes
Review: There’s no delicate way to say this. But you should know the truth. No. You deserve to know the truth. As we all know, for a month and a half now, I have been overwhelmed by the debilitating illness known as mini golf ball fever (a rare and exotic disease from the darkest jungles of the Dutch East Indies). But now, in a cruel turn of coincidence, I apparently also have regular ball fever.* Oh, the quote unquote “doctor” I saw said it was called epididymitis but I know what it really is: fate’s foolish attempt to prevent me from finding the best mini golf course in America.** Well guess what, fate? It’s gonna take a lot more than some wimpy, easily-treatable ball-busting to keep your old pal Dan down. Not while he’s still breathing. Not while he still has so many mini golf courses left to review. And speaking of which…
After a very quick drive through America’s smallest state with the longest name (The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations) I arrived in Adventureland, located just inland from the cozy coast of sunny Narragansett. Rocking a laid-back traveling circus vibe Adventureland had, among other things, a carousel, go karts, a batting cage, and bumper boats (which were integrated into the mini golf course itself!!); and, finding a parking spot, it really felt like Adventureland was just a Ferris wheel and a freak show away from becoming a full-fledged carnival (although, that being said, the lady golfing in front of me didn’t talk to her kids for a whole hour which I thought was a pretty freaky thing of her to do…) But enough talk about the venue. Let’s answer the most important question of all. How was the mini golf???***
Eh. It was fine. Don’t get me wrong, there were some super cool things about Adventureland’s 18-hole course. Their Rhode-Island themed props were appropriately decorative (featuring boats and lighthouses and not, lamentably, statues of Ambrose Burnside: Rhode Island’s thirtieth governor who popularized sideburns as a facial hairdo). And their Plinko-inspired hole was as colorful as the language of man who had just stubbed his toe while describing what a rainbow looks like to his friend who, sadly, went blind years ago. Plus, featuring several complex holes and a fun trek up and down a small hillside, this course was by no means terrible.
But, like Achilles if he had been born with 15 heel bones, this course had several key weaknesses. Primarily, there was water damage around the course, and several of the holes were slick, scuffed, and a bit run-down. Also, and infuriatingly, my ball got stuck in one of the pipes and I had to shimmy down on my stomach and push it out with the end of my putter, looking, for all intents and purposes, as if I had gotten a concussion while trying to do “the worm.” And, unfortunately, I had to crawl on my stomach because (and this is my biggest critique of all) they charged you an extra dollar if you had to replace a golf ball! Which I suppose would be forgivable, if the course did not have broken pipes and many streams throughout that could easily sweep your ball away forever. More forever than diamonds. Forever! I don’t know. It’s days like this that are the hardest for a self-proclaimed professional mini golf reviewer… As a venue, Adventureland was fine, but as a mini golf establishment, it was difficult not to see its weaknesses.
* Which explains why it has been hurting so much to sit down these past few days…
**Although, according to the urologist I visited in Worcester Massachusetts, epididymitis is often triggered by spending long periods of time sitting stationary (like, for example, during a two month long road trip), which just serves to reaffirm my oft-repeated statement that “this trip will destroy me.”
*** The second most important question of all: “what do they do with the rest of the horse after they make all that glue?”
Course Score: 47; par – 43.
Pros: Good Rhode Island aesthetic; fun plinko course; several complicated holes; integrated the bumper boats into the course which I thought was neat.
Cons: Flooding on the course; scuffed, slick holes; water damage; broken equipment; extra fees.