Day 331: KISS Mini Golf

KISS by Monster Mini Golf

KISS by Monster Mini Golf

While I haven’t played the iconic Pebble Beach golf course yet, I have played miniature golf at a KISS-themed course. I’d like to think that it’s an icon of another kind, either of rock band merchandising or Las Vegas excess.

In either case, it was an awesome experience.

As a kid growing up in the late ’70s, KISS was everywhere. I remember seeing the KISS Alive II poster in my cousin’s room and being scared yet fascinated by the four characters, especially the blood-spewing Gene Simmons.

Whatever shock value they had in the early part of the decade was gone by the time I was listening to them in elementary school. They had their own comic book and starred in a terrible made-for-TV movie, KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park. After the disco-influenced Dynasty album (the poster of which I had hanging in my room, which led to my parents questioning my sanity), the band went into a down period before resurrecting itself in the mid-’80s.

I saw the band twice during the ’80s and grew out of them shortly thereafter. But the second my wife bought a Groupon for a round at the KISS by Monster Mini Golf experience, I was ready to Rock N Roll All Nite (and Party Every Day). We joined my brother’s family during the Thanksgiving week for a trip through our past as we introduced the kids to KISS’ music through the miniature golf course, which is a sentence I never thought I’d ever write.

It was an absolute blast. While the kids enjoyed playing glow-in-the-dark golf, I was loving all of the details on the course, highlighted by the ongoing KISS music blared throughout the place. Every hole had some kind of KISS or rock music theme to it, from maneuvering around Peter Criss’ drums to putting right through Ace Frehley’s Les Paul. There was even an animatronic KISS band at the center of the room that would occasionally come to life.

Of course, the only way to end a KISS round of golf was at the 18th hole’s tongue ramp into the Gene Simmons face (shown above).

Day 138: Pulled Back In

imageOne of the things that any golfer will tell you is that every time we start feeling frustrated, we’ll hit a perfect shot that refuels our passion for the sport. It never fails: chunk an approach or top a tee shot and the next thing you know, you’re getting up-and-down from a bunker or draining a two-breaker downhill putt for a birdie.

Just like Michael Corleone, every time you think you’re done with golf, a great shot will pull you back in.

During my last round at a nearby executive golf course, I watched in horror as my perfectly struck approach on a par-4 found the water. I couldn’t believe it; I hit exactly the shot I wanted and thought I was safe from the lake guarding the green, but the ball wouldn’t stop rolling and ended up wet.

Feeling dejected, I fetched a new ball and took my drop in the designated drop zone about 45 yards away. I hoped to get it close for bogey, but knew that double-bogey or worse was in play, after my misread on the approach. Fortunately, like a feel-good sports movie about redemption, my pitch to the green was perfect. It flew over the lake this time, landed a few yards short of the pin and rolled right in. My buddy yelled, “Nice!” as I did my Tiger Woods fist-pump and raised both my arms like I’d just won the U.S. Open.



Day 90: Chances

Birdie chances for me and nephew.

Birdie chances for me and nephew.

As noted here, one of my goals for this year is to break 100 on the golf course. Unfortunately, I have not been able to play as much as I’ve wanted to in 2015. It’s the end of March and I haven’t gotten out to a regulation course yet. I’ve played a few executive and par-3 courses, but need to stretch my legs and play a par-72 soon. The summers in the Inland Empire can be brutal for golfers and it isn’t easy playing in the stifling heat.

The photo above is from my last trip to a par-3 course. I had not swung a club in awhile and had my ups and downs during the nine holes, but managed to stick the last green with my pitching wedge. My nephew nearly matched my shot and we both had a chance for a birdie. We both missed, but tapped in for par.

I realized that it might not be realistic to break 100 this year, but as long as I don’t miss any chances to golf with my nephew, I’m okay with it.