7/27/16 – West Virginia

Coal Country Mini Golf

Location: 22 Coal Country Lane, Fairmont, WV 26544
Phone: (304) 366-9300
Hours: 11 am-11 pm (Monday-Sunday)
Price: 18 holes – $5.75 (Adults); $4.75 (12 & under/Seniors).

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My visit to Coal Country Mini Golf

Review: Playtime’s over, ladies. Sure, we’ve all had a lot of fun playing these fancy-pansy highfalutin pretty-boy mini golf courses across the nation. But now it’s time to man up and find a real job. A real, rugged job. A job that makes your father say “I’m proud of you.” A job that makes women say “they’ve always called me a gold digger. But it looks like you’re the real deal. But for coal. Not gold. Haha. Kiss me.”* So drop your putter and grab a pickax. Throw away that bright purple golf ball and steal a few canaries from the local aviary. Because you’re in coal country and, folks, it’s time to start digging. For coal.

Located in the very heart of Coaltown USA,** hidden in a maze of evergreens and bumpy roads (wide enough for only one car at a time), only the truly rugged mini golfer will fully appreciate Coal Country Mini Golf. Now, in previous entries, I’ve harped on courses for being inauthentic, but if you’re looking for a mini golf course that accurately and honestly depicts the West Virginian coal mining industry (an industry that generates 3.5 billion dollars annually for the state) this is the only mini golf venue you’ll ever need. Full of genuine, authentic coal mining equipment (including crib blocks, loading machines, and an operational mine fan – where golfers could putt their ball through the spinning rotors), this course had all the zany fun of the professional coal mining industry without any of the zany cave-ins, gas leaks, and coal demons*** that real miners deal with on a daily basis.

However, setting authenticity aside, the centerpiece of the course was, without a doubt, the gigantic statue of “Big John” – the metallic 20-foot-tall miner who rotated 360 degrees non-stop on a massive plinth in the middle of the course. Now that is what I want to see in one of the nation’s best mini golf courses: a giant rotating miner staring down at you, humbling you before the majesty of all things related to coal mining and coal production. It was cool. No. It was amazing. In the biblical sense. I was, quite literally, filled with amazement. Furthermore, the course’s many lengthy holes, its uniquely complex obstacles, its informative signage, and the fact that it used authentic West Virginian coal as a course obstacle helped to elevate this venue to an almost ridiculous level of mini golf excellence.

Even the small scuffs and occasional bumps in the course couldn’t diminish how unique and wholly authentic this venue was. Oh sure, I could complain that there were a few newly-filled holes that made the surface a little uneven. But my heart wouldn’t be in it. I loved this course. And my love for Coal Country Mini Golf was only increased as, once again, I got a hole-in-one on the course’s last hole (a map of West Virginia), awarding me a “free game” ticket for my next visit to Coal Country. I was perhaps a little disheartened by the fact that I will probably never return to Fairmont  again and, as such, this ticket was as useless as a fire-resistant lump of West Virginian coal. But, fortunately, the 8-year-old girl who had been golfing behind me seemed to be happy when I gave it to her.

This course comes with my highest recommendation.

Other pick-up lines women might say: “Drill baby, drill” or “I love your black hair. Does the lung match the drapes?” or “Are you from Tennessee? I hope not, because you look like a coal miner from the heart of West Virginia. Which is something I am attracted to.”
**Fairmont, WV.
*** You know, coal demons. From that classic children’s song “Coal Demons.” It was really popular a few years ago. The song itself wasn’t that great, but man oh man did it have a catchy chorus.****
****”THE DEMON IS COMING, LOOK OUT! LOOK OUT!
THE DEMON OF COAL, DON’T SHOUT! DON’T SHOUT!
HE’S GOT MASSIVE EARS AND A VERY DARK SOUL
WHEN HE FINDS US THEN WE WILL BE TURNED INTO COAL… DEMONS”

Course Score: 45; par – 44
Pros: Authentic; unique; clever; informative; celebrated West Virginian local culture; great layout (mining scaffolding created multi-tier holes); one of the most original courses in America.
Cons: A few scuffs; several lumps in the ground where the holes had been refilled/moved. Honestly, these are very minimal compared to the originality and authenticity of the course.

Big John Farewell

See you later, Big John

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