Putt Putt *Sputter*

This is not food-related, though golf is sustenence for many (though not for me) (I am categorizing this post under “Local Dives” because you’ll see).  We tried to play mini-golf at Columbia Sports Park this weekend, but they closed early, so we found ourselves at Rocky Gorge (also in Columbia, or Laurel — somewhere in there, by the side of Rte. 29), home of driving range and batting cages and mini-golf, including the self-proclaimed world’s-longest mini-golf hole.  Indeed, the 19th hole is long and swoopy and would make for good sledding if it ices over…but the prior 18 holes have seen better days. They are a collective slice of Nixonian, suburban America, frozen in time for decades, except not frozen in time because boy has the complex deteriorated. This is a photo from RG’s website:

Rocky Gorge back in the day

Brightly painted lighthouse!

Striking blue-and-white paint, shimmering water below, just like Crete.  Corfu?  Okay, not quite, but still a fine looking Vietnam-era U.S.  putt putt course. Rocky Gorge dates back to 1965 and this photo was likely taken closer to 1965 than to today. Here is the same lighthouse, this past weekend:


Blue in mood if not in color

No more Greek Isles. Rusty. Kind of sad.  But not as sad as Needles the once-animatronic “singing lonesome pine,” who no longer moves or talks. Didn’t get a good shot of Needles, who was shrouded in darkness, but here is his par sign:


Poor Par 3 Needles

No longer singing, but more lonesome than ever. The whole course is like that: dry beds where once water hazards lay; (rain)water hazards where they shouldn’t be; misaligned tracks; wheels struggling unsuccessfully to turn; broken pieces (lawsuits waiting to happen); and rust, rust, rust. I think they’ve given up maintaining the place. But I don’t want to be too negative, because we actually had a great time. The kitsch factor is ridiculously high; nearly every hole had something uniquely askew or awry or bedraggled. We couldn’t stop laughing.  And despite the condition of the course, it still plays mostly fine, and we got the usual assortment of holes-in-one and pars and bogeys. We plan to make the RG course a post-Thanksgiving ritual.

3 responses to “Putt Putt *Sputter*

  1. This is terrific–great find! The DC area is sorely lacking in mini-golf courses; we will have to check this out! How were prices?

  2. $6.50 per person. Not unreasonable.

  3. Nice post! I love mini-golf and agree on lack of mini-golf courses in this area. If you ever want some company on the links, you know where to find us.

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