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Walker in the Rough 2004

Hours: Weather permitting, Thursday-Saturday, 10 am-8 pm; Sunday, 11 am-8 pm. Labor Day: Monday, September 6, 11 am-8 pm. Last tee time is 1 hour before closing. Wait times can be in excess of an hour. You must appear in person to get on the wait list.

In case of inclement weather, Mini Golf will reopen within 30 minutes of the conclusion of the weather event. If weather remains an issue at 5pm on weekdays or 2pm on weekends and holidays, we will not reopen until the next regularly scheduled game day.

The sights in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden just keep getting more like Alice’s Wonderland: to a setting that already includes a mirrored labyrinth, a bronze rabbit leaping a bell, and an enormous spoon-and-cherry fountain, add an ice-fishing shack, a twisty pachinko game, and architectural ruins from 1933-not to mention a few dozen golf clubs. Walker in the Rough, a mini-golf course designed by area artists and architects, is now open, offering 10 flights of fancy for “goofy golf” fanatics and novices alike. Though these stylish holes can’t be placed on a par with mini golf’s customary roadside-art standards of taste, they have been created especially for the Garden. Join us for mini golf, Walker-style, now through Labor Day.

The Holes

“Black Hole,” Walker staff members; “O-par-ation,” Troy Kampa; “Pachinko Generation,” Zander Brimijoin and Luke Burgdorf; “Mini Golf Smackdown,” Takuma Handa and Daniel Vercruysse; “Winter in Summer; Ice-Fishing House,” Bill Gorcica; “Courthouse Folly,” Clayton Johnson and Brian Nowak; “Frank’s Frolic,” Don McNeil and Thomas Oslund; “Untitled,” Burlesque of North America (Mike Davis, Aaron Horkey, Skye Rossi, George Thompson, Wes Winship, and Larry Winship); “Bolfing for Gowlers,” Karl Frankowski; and one by Target staff members. Special thanks to the judges who selected the winning designs: Kinji Akagawa, artist; Bob Fine, President, Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board; Richard Flood, Chief Curator, Walker Art Center; Julie Snow, architect, Julie Snow Architects; Hilary Lunke, professional golfer, 2003 U.S. Women’s Open Champion; and the Walker Art Center Teen Arts Council.

Make it a Date

Hit the greens between 5 and 8 pm on Thursday nights and receive discount coupon offers from Sebastian Joe’s Ice Cream Cafe, Joe’s Garage, and Café & Bar Lurcat. Finish off your round of golf with a round of drinks, dinner, or dessert at one of these establishments.


An American invention originally devised as a substitute sport for golfers from the British Isles, miniature golf has a surprising and storied history in this country. Here are a few curious facts unearthed from John Margolies’ Miniature Golf (Recollectibles) about the sport known variously as Putt-Putt, Goony Golf, Pint-Pot Golf, Tom Thumb Golf, Sawed-off Golf, Half-Pint Golf, Lilliput Links, Rinkiedink Golf, Peewee Golf, and-most appropriate to Walker in the Rough-Garden Golf.

One 1930s course in Los Angeles featured a live bear cub as an obstacle; course owners trained it to go after balls by dipping them in honey.
In the early days of the sport, women often had to be chaperoned on the links (and dressed to the nines). In 1930, the Los Angeles Times postulated that “putting seems to come natural to most women” due to their “hereditary gift of wielding a broom day in and day out.”
At mini golf’s peak of popularity in the late 1920s, box office receipts at the movies declined 25 percent, and Hollywood executives responded by ordering their actors to stay off the links. Some did, but silent-film star Mary Pickford built her own course inspired by surrealist artist Max Ernst.
Humorist Will Rogers, like many other Americans in the early 1930s, saw mini golf as a scourge, contributing to unemployment and other social ills: “There is millions got a ‘putter’ in their hand when they ought to have a shovel. Half of America is bent over. In two more generations our children will grow upwards as far as the hips, then they will turn off at right angles, and with their arms hanging down we will be right back where we started from. Darwin was right.”