Course: Glowing Greens
Location: 509 SW Taylor St, Portland, OR 97204
Price: $11.50 for 18 holes
Did I scare you? No? Lemme try again. Close your eyes and imagine the following scenario:
You’re walking down an abandoned street late at night with no one else around you. Why? It doesn’t matter why. Maybe your car broke down. Maybe you’re drunkenly stumbling home after spending the evening with your two best friends: Jack and Daniels. Maybe you’re a crooked cop working the graveyard shift in a broken city that’s taken everything from you. Even your name. The why isn’t important. All that matters is the here and now. A thin mist coats the ground like Teflon on a hot tin frying pan.
And that’s when you hear it.
Eerie. Haunting. Lilting. The clang of a bell. Louder. Louder! LOUDER! THERE’S NO ESCAPE! You scream, but the deafening ding dong is louder than a low-cut dress in a 17th century Puritan church. And no one can hear you over the deafening roar. Until finally, as the clock tower dutifully chimes its twelfth, damning “DONG,” your screaming becomes a muted whimper and the stark, inexorable truth washes over you like a champagne shower on a European party boat. It’s midnight. Today has become tomorrow. But yesterday was your wife’s birthday. And you forgot to call her and tell her how much you loved her. You idiot! You feckless idiot! Your marriage is hanging on by a thread and you don’t have the decency to tell the mother of your unborn child how she makes you feel like the luckiest crooked cop in this whole broken city!
We all die alone. But some people, people who forget their wife’s birthday, people like you… they’re the ones who deserve it.
Pretty spooky right? But know what’s even spookier? Glowing Greens mini golf – conveniently located in downtown Portland, just a few minutes away from Powell’s Books (the largest independent bookstore in the world). And, by far in a way, this was the most spooktacular mini golf course I’ve visited yet! Like Alaska’s course, Glowing Greens was a very well-maintained indoor blacklight mini golf course. But at Glowing Greens, the venue’s darkness was used to create an appreciated spooky/pirate/undersea/tiki/haunted house* theme. Which was as fun as it was thematically confusing. Guiding golfers through glowing pirate ships, sunken temples, thick jungles and eerie graveyards, all surrounded by numerous, high-value props and paintings, this course was more impressively detailed and decorative than a wallpaper pattern made out of “Where’s Waldo” pages. In addition, the course’s long, winding holes, its air-conditioned atmosphere, and its particularly terrifying 15th hole (the “Bone Yard”**), made this venue a very enjoyable way to spend an hour in the Beaver State.
Unfortunately, Glowing Greens had many of the same issues that “haunted”*** Alaska’s course. Many of the venue’s holes were flat and arguably overly simplistic. But, more importantly, as opposed to Putters Wild, Glowing Greens charged you $1.50 for 3d glasses! Which I suppose isn’t that much of a critique, but it was still a bummer playing golf in regular old 2d (because I’m a dirty cheapskate). In addition, there were a few scuffs/areas with loose carpeting. But again, those are pretty minimal complaints. Ultimately, this was yet another entertaining blacklight course in a nation full of ’em. Was it the best indoor blacklight course in America? Maybe. Who knows?
I guess I’ll have to wait until I get to Las Vegas before I make my final decision.
* If you’ll remember however, this was not the first time a “haunted” course had an unclear theme.
** What’s so terrifying about the 15th hole? You’ll just have to find out for yourself! If I told you what happened, it would be like spoiling the end of your favorite movie. And sure, I could just tell you that “Bruce Willis was dead the whole time,” but that would totally spoil the ending of Die Hard with a Vengeance, wouldn’t it?
*** Kill me.
Course Score: Dan – 66, Carey – 67; par – 58.
Pros: Very well maintained; fun theme; great attention to detail; several “spooky” moments; very long holes; high production value props; air conditioned and cool.
Cons: Many flat/simplistic holes; have to pay money for 3d glasses (as opposed to Alaska which gave them to you for free); a few scuffs; arguably unclear theme beyond “things that are scary”; somewhat expensive.