Course: Schooner Mini Golf
Location: 58 Ocean Park Rd, Saco, ME 04072
Price: $9 for 18 holes
Review: After waking up to the delightful 6 am squawking of seagulls (nature’s loudest and most obnoxious alarm clock*), I made a quick drive past the beautiful Atlantic ocean, several toll booths, and 15 McDonald’s restaurants** before finally arriving at Schooner Mini Golf, conveniently located beautiful, sunny Saco Maine. And, let me tell you, if you’re looking for the true Maine experience, go no further than Schooner Mini Golf. Featuring a huge built-from-scratch lighthouse, a wooden recreation of the wharf, and a 71 foot long schooner with a hole located directly on its hull (the hull is the middle part, right? I’m an expert on mini golf, not boats) this place was just a few rusted lobster traps away from convincing me that I was the kind of man who hunted whales for a living (until my search for the best whale in the ocean drove me to the depths of madness). Although, that being said, Schooner Mini Golf had hecka rusting lobster traps lying around. I don’t know. Maybe my search for “the best mini golf course in America” is my Moby Dick.
As most of you already know, I love playing mini golf on boats, so already this place was off to a great start. But what really sold me was Schooner Mini Golf’s fantastic authenticity. The walkway onto the schooner was just a rickety wooden gangplank with a “watch your step” sign (because safety should always be secondary to looking amazing); the “wharf” was decorated with brightly colored buoys and oars; fountains sprayed majestic jets of water in front of the impressively massive schooner, magnifying the already sublime beauty of playing golf on a boat. There are several things you can’t experience unless you’re actually right on the ocean: the deafening roar of a billion seagulls; seashells that sound just like something scraping against your ear drum (although I may have just been holding the shell backwards); and Schooner Mini Golf. It was pretty cool.
That being said however, there were several elements which weren’t as stand-out. The course was a little worn down and slick in places and several of the cups were missing bottoms so your ball fell on gravel when you sunk a putt. But I guess my biggest complaint is that, like those wimpy corndog samplers they hand out at Costco, I wanted more. Really, the most “authentic” parts of Schooner mini golf were holes 10-12, where you went through the lighthouse, schooner, and wharf. And sure, the rest of the course featured fun ocean props (like the pointy wheel captains use to steer ships), but it was all pretty bland when compared to the course’s centerpiece. It felt like South Dakota. Sure, Mount Rushmore is pretty cool, but there really should be more stuff there for it to call itself a state. (Of course, this is all pointless conjecture – the first time I visit South Dakota will be in two weeks for this trip).
But, overall, Schooner Mini Golf was still a pretty good course. Not outstanding. But not bad by any means. And so, as I got ready to drive to central Vermont, I cheerily waved goodbye to Schooner Mini Golf (perhaps forever) and I waved goodbye to the Atlantic Ocean. After all, I wouldn’t get to see a body of water like that for another 2 weeks.
* Unless being woken up by a ska band practicing at 5 in the morning is considered “natural.” There are days I’m glad I’m no longer in college.
** That were selling lobster rolls for ten bucks! That’s nonsense!!! The only thing the McDonald’s in Colorado sells is soul-searing regret. And delicious, succulent hamburger meat at an affordable price. (After eating McDonald’s for 2 straight weeks, I may have gotten just the smallest amount of Stockholm syndrome.)
Course Score: 42; par – 40
Pros: Fantastic, authentic ocean theme; original locations to play mini golf (schooner/wharf); pretty good upkeep; very clean.
Cons: Several scufffed/worn down holes; lower budget than some courses; needed a bit “more” ocean props at time.