Nothing says summer like a round a miniature golf. But instead of wasting the warm weather at tired old Putt Putt, why not check out one of America's many weird and wild "themed" miniature gold courses?
We've sifted through some of these more eclectic offerings, and issued the best of them awards which should help you establish which one suits your mini-links needs.
Best for a First Date
At Lake George, N.Y.'s Around the World in 18 Holes
, each hole represents a different nation. So if that initial mini golf date turns into something lasting, you've just bought yourself a lifetime of snide "I took you to France the first time we went out" remarks. Women are particularly fond of this joke when it's made during an Atlantic City honeymoon.
Best for Lapsed "Lost" Fans
The premise of Mayday Golf
in Myrtle Beach, S.C. -- which is that players (along with their putter) have been marooned an on abandoned tropical island that happens to house a world-class miniature golf course -- is as ridiculous as the last couple seasons of "Lost." But hey, at least mini golf gets you off the couch and lets you make up your own wacky numerological conspiracies with your scorecard.
Check out farm-themed, Bible-themed and mortality-themed courses, after the jump.
Best of the "Most Unusual" categoryPar-King Skill
, a suburban Chicago favorite, dubs itself the world's most unusual golf course, and, out respect for the half-century-old course, we are not going to disagree. It features an elaborate roller-coaster hole made out of over 750 wood pieces, and a Sears Tower hole which is understandably not to scale.Best for the Whole FamilyPutz n Glo Miniature Golf
in Rapid City, S.D., offers glow-in-the-dark fun for the kiddies, five decades of the best rock and roll for the teens and adults and, since it's housed in an 8,000-square-foot indoor facility, you can even bring your albino cousins!Best for the Recently Bereaved
Death is part of life, so there's no point moping around and not playing miniature golf when a loved one passes away. Instead bring that fresh corpse to Ahlgrim's Acres
, a Palatine, Ill., funeral home which offers a free round of mini golf in their mortuary-themed basement course with every standard funeral package.
Best to Get You Back to Your Agrarian Roots
The shining sun of summer can act as stark reminder that you spend your days wasting away in a cubicle, creating nothing of tangible value. It almost makes you want to run over to the nearest farm and start milking a cow. Only farmers don't really like when you do that, and cows smell. Instead head over Ripley's Old MacDonald's Farm and Mini Golf
in Sevierville, Tenn., where three 18-hole courses are peppered with animatronic farm animals who bark, moo, cluck and remind you of the agrarian spirit that helped make this nation great.
Best for the Bible-ThumpersThe Lexington Ice Center
features three biblically themed mini golf courses -- Old Testament, New Testament and miracles. It was also rated one of the 10 best miniature golf destinations in America by the Travel Channel, so even the more secular among us can appreciate the high-quality play. While we have yet to get out to Kentucky ourselves, we are going to assume that the Old Testament course is the least forgiving.Best for a Return to Piracy's Whimsical Past
Remember when being a pirate was all about peg legs, puffy shirts and shouting "Shiver me timbers"? You can experience that ironic kitsch all over again at any of the locations of Pirate's Cove Adventure Golf
, which offers 18 holes of buccaneer-themed mini golf without a single AK-47-toting Somali in sight.
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