Fore! With spring in the air—and with every other fun activity from a Normal American ChildhoodTM having been already co-opted for ironic enjoyment then played out—over the next week WW brings you reviews of Portland-area putt-putt courses. We're also pretty excited about Brewvana's putt-putt event next Saturday.
16251 SW Jenkins Rd., Beaverton, 626-2244.
Cost: $5.50 adults, $3.25 children ages 12 and under. Cash or card.
Alcohol: Yes, bottled beer and wine, $2.50-$4.
Other club amenities: Aside from miniature golf, the Sunset Golf Center is also equipped with a cafe, pro shop, air hockey, a flat-screen TV tuned to the Timbers and a 50-stall driving range where you can hit a bucket of Nike balls rain or shine.
Our scorecard: 53 strokes for 18 holes.
Overall ambience: Beaverton's one-and-only putt putt course makes up in craft beer what it lacks in craft flair. The small, 18-hole stint of a mini-golfing venture is merely a side addition tacked on to center's covered driving range and pro shop. It seems surprisingly dead for a Saturday night, especially given the warm air and recent bout of Spring, but the lack of screaming youth is as refreshing as the weather. A 10-foot Statue of Liberty towers at the course entrance, shadowing over the miniature baby-blue windmill, tumbledown bridges and a few other ramshackle obstacles that rest amid the rolling hills of worn carpeting and brightly colored bricks outlining the green. The holes are short, doable in merely one or two shots if you're moderately skilled at the fine art of putt putt, or an easy way to hone your short game if you're not. A Japanese garden of sorts, odd and out of place, sits in the middle of the course, complete with a Japanese maple and a shrine to boot. Widmer Brothers Hefeweizen and Deschutes Mirror Pond bottles line the sunflower-yellow trash cans haphazardly placed throughout the course, emphasising the fact that everyone who can drink appears to do so. The sound of a few golf balls being lobbed on the driving range reminds you that you've chosen to follow your childhood ambitions opposed to "real" golf.
Clientele: A cordial mix of father-son outings, bickering families—I too, admit I saw the kid with the perfect bowl cut cheat twice—and tween daters who think they're above a romantic trip to the the local, under-appreciated stripmall.
Biggest challenge: Keeping your composure on hole seventeen and not throwing your golf club in a fit of rage akin to Happy Gilmore during the Pepsi Pro-Am classic. The green is no place for zigzagging doglegs when you've been drinking. It just slipped right out of your hand huh?
Pro tips: Read the green—even if the carpet looks level from up high, it's probably not. Also, executing a perfect shot through a slot in a barn or other object can prove more of a hinderance than a helpful shortcut to the hole, positioning your ball on the opposite side of where you intended it to go.