Mini Golf Review: The Skate Station Funworks
On a recent trip to
Southern South Georgia northern Florida I had a chance to take in some local mini golf (one of my favorite past times). This time we went to the Skate Station Funworks in Gainesville, FL. Here, then, is my review thereof.
The Skate Station Funworks is a family-friendly all-round activity center offering the likes of a big roller rink, go-carts, a climbing wall, and, of course, mini golf. Since I didn't participate in any of the other activities I will restrict my comments to the eighteen-hole mini golf. The first thing we did right was to go on "Wacky Wednesday" where admission is only $2 per person and mini golf is a further $2 per person. I brought little Andy with me so our total cash outlay was a mere $8. For this price, it's well worth it. Had we gone any other day it would have been twice that.
- There was a lagoon and a running stream. I find that water adds some ambiance to and otherwise concrete and Astroturf environment. (+10)
- It wasn't completely flat. Completely flat courses are so boring! It didn't have a lot of terrain aside from a small hill in the center but that counts for something. (+5)
- Somebody had written a mythos for the course ("The Legend of Swamp Golf") having to do with buried pirate treasure. It even says "LISTEN TO THE WINDS…YOU MAY HEAR THE VOICE OF CAPTAIN GRAYBEARD. Telling you to SIFT THE SANDS OF THE SECRET TREASURE SPOT." How exciting is that? A game within a game! (+10)
- The course had an overgrown car and overgrown airboat that were ostensibly part of the swamp golf mythos. I enjoyed looking at the airboat. (+5)
Okay, that's it for points-in-favor. Now for points-against:
- One of the two pumps for the water system was non-functional. This is untenable! It leaves a swampy, slimy concrete ditch running through the course. Fix your pump. (-5)
- The greens were not particularly level. By which I mean that your ball would as-often-as-not roll to a stop against the brick edges beyond the hole instead of stopping neatly on the green where it ought to. (-5)
The course was dotted with numerous deciduous trees which, while providing pleasant shade from the hot
Southern South GeorgianFloridian sun, also drop leaves and detritus like, well, I don't really need to provide an analogy for this, do I? The course might have been swept earlier in the week but it clearly hadn't been maintained at any point that day. We were frequently brushing leaves, twigs and woodchips out of the way of our shots. (-10)
- Their sorry excuse for a score card was small, hard to read and hard to use. (-5)
- None of the greens had any signs posted (hole number, per, name, etc). There were posts, but the were all empty or damaged. (-5)
- Beyond the posted story board at the beginning of the course, the elements of "The Legend of Swamp Golf" were all but non-existent throughout the course. Aside from the aforementioned car and airboat there was no sign of pirates, treasure or a secret treasure spot. A complete failure of execution. (-20)
Doing a bit of arithmetic yields a total course score of: -20.
A bit of maintenance (sweeping the greens, fixing the water, and so forth) could easily bring their score up into the positives. Removing the misleading Legend of Swamp Golf would help a little - but not as much as actualizing the legend (which is the primary reason Pirate's Cove Mini Golf appeals to me). In summary, if you're in Gainesville, Florida, and it happens to be [Wacky] Wednesday, you could happily kill an hour at Skate Station Funworks. Otherwise, drive a bit further and get some ice cream at Karma Cream, instead.