Course: Around the World Miniature Golf
Location: 72 Beach Rd, Lake George, NY 12845
Price: $8.25 for 18 holes; $14.20 for 36 holes
Review: Enough! I have had enough of all these irate New Yorkers* complaining that, by only reviewing NYC, I’m not seeing “the real New York.” You know, the portion of the state where 11.9% of its 17,442 bridges have been deemed “structurally deficient.” The part of the state that all those “I ♥ NY” shirts are referring to. The real concrete jungle where dreams are made of. And, while going to this course forced me to violate my “one course per state” protocol, I ultimately decided to visit Around the World Miniature Golf, located just off the shore of sunny Lake George.** I don’t know. Perhaps visiting this course was just a desperate attempt curry the favor a few more readers. But, given that this venue was an historic 63 year old course with an almost unbelievable level of critical esteem, maybe (just maybe) this was the best mini golf course in America. The one I had already spent a month and a half searching for.
I’m not going to lie. It was incredible. Featuring two 18-hole courses, “Around the World” or “Around the United States,” this course took golfers on a world/national tour, all without the hellish experience of sleeping in fleabag motel every night.*** The Around the World course was especially impressive, highlighting 18 countries on each of its 18 holes. Do you want to visit Canada but don’t have the stomach for all that fatty poutine? Around the World’s “Canada” hole had a 20 foot tall Paul Bunyan statue obtained from the New York World’s Fair. Want to go on a quick trip to Hong Kong, but can’t afford all those pesky surgical masks that keep the air nice and breathable? Well guess what nerds, this course had an authentic Chinese rickshaw collected from abroad by course-creator Harry Horn, complete with a rotating tire that you had to putt your ball through. I don’t even have enough space to discuss the course’s Australian kangaroo (with a pouch you could launch your ball into) or its authentic Thai temple bell (hung over a wishing well that donated its contributions to charity) or the countless other unique specifics that made the course as detailed and impressive as a Renaissance painting (although, with substantially fewer naked dudes than the average Renaissance painting, which was kind of a bummer).
Similarly, “Around the United States” had an equally stunning amount of specificity and polish. But this course was particularly important to me as it featured many American staples that I have already experienced during my trip. Guiding golfers through a nation of Maine lobsters, Kentucky horse races, Texas oil rigs, Florida oranges, and the Colorado Rockies, if I had known the course was this detailed, I wouldn’t have had to go on this unending road trip in the first place. And finally, the course ended with the New York that we all know and love: a replica NY Subway, complete with authentic wooden seating and heavily graffitied walls (the only time that graffiti has ever been appreciated). And sure, there were a few scuffs on the course. And sure, the water was a bit murky. And sure, the nearby steamships blared their horns loudly several times during the hour, provoking a chorus of “My word!” and “What noise!” from the fictional British aristocrats I like to think visited this course at one point in history (still outraged by the brash audacity of the yanks centuries after the end of the Revolutionary War). But, overall, this course gets a very high recommendation. Its level of specificity and detail was commendable.
* Not to be confused with “I Rate New Yorkers,” a different review website I’m working on where I try to find the best New Yorker in America. My money is still on that sous chef…
** Interestingly, because I was forced to visit Pizza Putt in Vermont, Around the World was only 5 minutes out of my way on the drive back. Every cloud has a silver lining, I guess. (But what a godawful cloud).
*** These past few days I’ve been playing a very fun travel game: every night, book a room in a progressively cheaper/increasingly terrifying motel. The game ends when you get murdered.
Course Score: 55; par – 48
Pros: Impressive amount of detail/authenticity/specificity; beautiful setting; unique holes; great production value; kitschy in the best of ways.
Cons: A few small scuffs; the water features were somewhat murky; the horn from the nearby steamship was quite jarring.