Wednesday, August 17, 2011



In the shadow of the Eiffel Tower at King's Island is The Cincinnati Golf Center.  Since I'm a person who doesn't know a putter from a nine iron, I paid it little mind until I was left today with the unexpected closing of my destination with The Inmates and was desperate to find an alternative activity.  During a lunch at Applebee's we debated possibilities and finally decided on the divide-and-conquer method.  Foghorn would be left home with her father while I took The Professor to an activity and afterwards we'd switch.  The Professor's choice was mini golf.

A quick Internet search for a good mini golf in the general area led me to The Cincinnati Golf Center.  Located about 25 miles from downtown Cincinnati, it offers a learning center, driving ranges, practice greens, and a pro shop.  It also offers two 18-hole mini golf courses, which is what interested us.

We paid the $12 admission in the pro shop and were told we were welcome to play both courses.  Whether this is standard policy or only offered because it was a slow day at the end of summer, I'm not sure.  Either way, I thought $6 per person was reasonable and we gathered up our putters and golf balls and headed out.  We declined the scorecard since my ultra-competitive son gets testy if he doesn't win and we find it better to keep things as loose as possible.

The mini golf course is nicely maintained and beautifully landscaped with rocks, flowing water, bridges, and lots of trees providing shade.  This course avoids the common obstacles like hit the ball through the open barn door or land the ball in the clown's mouth.  These holes count on twists, turns, hills, sand traps, and water hazards for their challenges.  Most of the time we were lucky to score under three strokes (although without a score card we never knew the par for any given hole).  I must brag, much to my son's disgust, that I scored the only hole-in-one of the day.

The first 18 holes were extremely pleasant.  It was in the mid-80s, but the humidity was down and the trees provided welcome shady spots.  The Professor talked about his proficiency in math and science and tried to put his skills in geometry and physics to use in planning his shots.   Trouble didn't start until the second 18-holes, when my son lost some of his mojo and his frustration started to show.  The more frustrated he became at his poor aim, the worse it got.

As often happens with The Professor, this led to extreme surliness.  I asked what his problem was and got a snarly, "What do you think?" in return.  I told him to just do his best, that this was supposed to be fun, and he retorted with, "You just don't get it."  I replied that I didn't get it, so he needed to tell me in a direct manner why he was acting that way.  That's when he went on a sort of existentialist rant, then asked me the unanswerable such as "Why is this song playing?  Why was I born into this time?"  I finally lost all patience and told him I didn't have the energy for this crap and he needed to just tell me what the hell his problem was.  That's when I got my favorite answer:  "I don't know."  (Fans of Bill Cosby will recognize this as evidence of brain damage.)

The next couple holes were spent debating whether it was my grouchiness that caused my children to act up or if it was their acting up that caused my grouchiness.  He then went on to asking about changing other people's behavior (which I informed him was impossible and he could only change his reactions to their behavior).  He then asked, sounding more and more like Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh, "Then why bother to hate a person if he can't change the way he acts."  I tried to explain that he (the hated person) could change his own behavior, but we can't make him change.

We found ourselves at a stop, waiting for the family of four in front of us to finish the hole, and this just gave us more time to discuss our reactions to the behavior of others.  And I tried to argue that, despite what he said, it was possible to get some control of our reactions to other people or to situations or to falling short of our own expectations (which tends to be his biggest problem).  By this time we were boiling hot and thirsty and I told him if he wanted to quit we didn't need to finish the course and he said he'd had enough.  Just then the mother in front of us asked if we wanted to play through and I explained we'd already done 18 holes, so we were ditching this one because of the heat.  As I walked past she leaned towards me and said, "By the way, we agree with everything you were saying."   I didn't realize I was being overheard and only pray I  kept my foul language in check.

If you'd care to go Cincinnati Golf Center for mini golf, I'd highly recommend it (assuming you go with someone other than my son).  It's located on Columbia Road in Maineville, just south of King's Island.  Hours and directions can be found at their web site here

More photos of the mini golf courses can be found through my Flickr account here.

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Anonymous said...

Well, at least you had a chance the be together and discuss things uninterrupted by Foghorn. And the first 18 holes were nice.

Nancy Susanna Breen said...

That place is gorgeous compared to the ratty little putt-putt up the way that we've gone to. Here I thought maybe you two had a reasonably pleasant afternoon.