I grew up along the New Jersey shore, surrounded by miniature golf courses. I hardly ever got to play, but I always wanted to.
As humans, we are constantly remaking our environment into something that is more beautiful, more productive, or more fun. The impulse to make tangible versions of imaginary landscapes from myths, fairy tales, and other stories is not a new one.
Like a miniature golf course, some of the great landscape gardens of the 17th and 18th centuries were designed as a collection of stage sets that allow the visitor to become an actor in a series of familiar narratives. In a similar manner, mini golf incorporates these elements as stations in a walk through the outdoors. The recurring figures and structures in miniature golf courses – gorillas, mermaids, dinosaurs, castles, windmills, lighthouses - are ones with a potent history as psychological symbols.