When I flew out to Myrtle Beach in March for my interview I noticed something as my shuttle took me from the airport to the hotel. On the side of the road I kept seeing elaborate themed structures. I saw a pyramid. I saw a zoo like setup with fake animals all around. I saw a tropical jungle. I asked my driver what was with all of these cool roadside attractions. “Oh,” the driver nonchalantly began, “those are putt putt courses.”
I knew Myrtle Beach was the golf capital of the country but I didn’t know it was the putt putt capital too. My new town boasts tons of spectacular miniature golf courses. But don’t call them miniature golf courses, I got straightened out real quick by the locals. It is putt putt. As I was saying, the courses here are insane.
Think “Happy Gilmore” style courses. They are all beautiful, inviting, themed properties that will make you smile. Since arriving here in the area I have had every intention of conquering some of the courses. Well, four weeks since rolling into town I finally got the opportunity last night.
My friend Sidney and I went to the Mt. Atlanticus Minotaur Goff putt putt course on Sunday evening. Couple things right off the bat that differentiate putt putt here in South Carolina from miniature golf in the west. Here, because of warm weather, the game is played primarily in the evening so courses stay open late. Interestingly, these places have higher quality lighting systems than most Major League ballparks. Also, the properties themselves have a couple different courses to play and many of the individual holes themselves have different variations to choose from.
You might think that because these courses are out of this world the price to play might be too. Complete misconception. Sidney and I both played for a total of $14. The Mt. Atlanticus course blew my mind with its beauty. Water surrounded most of the greens. Cool animal sculptures awaited you all over the place. Palm trees and other lush green vegetation grew everywhere. I was definitely playing the coolest eighteen holes of putt putt golf I had ever enjoyed in my life.
Since the course was built to resemble a mountain, it slowly took us up in elevation from hole to hole. Although it seemed like we would only go up a few stairs every other hole or so it really added up in the end. By the time we reached the eighteenth hole we had a gorgeous view from up high of the whole course. From there we had to descend about six different flights of stairs to reach ground level again.
The creativity of Mt. Atlanticus was so cool. On one hole if you successfully putted your ball into a stream of water it would take it for a windy ride and sure enough drop it in the cup. The 19th hole (ball return) challenged you to smash your ball across a skinny strip of green while avoiding the sparkling blue water on either side of it. I saw sand traps for the first time ever on a mini golf course. Straw huts lined the course and housed several holes. A waterfall gushed out of the rock structure. Playing the course at night on a beautiful late May evening gave me a wonderful first experience with putt putt in Myrtle Beach.
Sidney and I had a blast. After a week of buildup on who would beat who we finally got to settle it on the course. At the end of eighteen competitive holes I came out on top with a slim two stroke victory (wait…was I supposed to let her win?). Call me a little kid but playing putt putt last night might have accounted for the most fun I have had in a while. I am already looking forward to the next course I get to play and the creativity I will see. Myrtle Beach does miniature golf….um I mean putt putt….the right way. Don’t Blink.