07 June 2016

Chernabog's Revenge

We love miniature golf in our household. It has been a longstanding tradition that while visiting Walt Disney World we would always make sure to play at least a single round of miniature golf on one of the four courses available. Heck, when we’re at Disney’s Hilton Head Island we venture down the road to Pirates Cove just to get in a round. Of the four courses at Walt Disney World, I’ve always been partial to the Gardens Course at Fantasia Gardens, but I have no ill will against either of the charming courses over at Winter Summerland either. The one course I have typically shied away from, however, is the Fairways Course of Fantasia Gardens.

It’s challenging, and that’s putting it mildly. Each hole appears to be a miniaturized hole from a professional golf course, which means that those gentle slopes on an actual course are going to eat your putt alive here. There are bunkers and hazards, including rocks and water, but the course is looking for those with skill, not those playing a game of chance. Think I’m joking? Do you know another miniature golf course that actually lists the distance from tee to pin? It’s so difficult, that the signs not only give you riddles for clues as to how to play the hole, which is par for a Walt Disney World course, it also gives you a map detailing precisely how, and to where, you should hit your ball.

Have I scared you away yet? No? Good.

Earlier this year the Fairways Course received a massive amount of refurbishment. The course was entirely resurfaced. The new turf, while not a miracle worker, is slower than the previously trodden down surfacing that covered each hole. The traps and tees were spruced up, and even the wooden borders were replaced. It is like an entirely different course. It is still the most challenging miniature golf course in Walt Disney World, by a mile, but there is an element of mirth and fun to be had while on the course now that had been missing for a while.

There are no gags to be had on this course. The only humor you’re going to find is the riddles on the tee box signs or when someone in your party makes a woefully bad shot. I, myself, have been known to chase a putt down the green yelling at it to stop and jumping up and down when it lands in a gully. But I digress. The Fairways Course does have something that its Gardens counterpart does not, and that is the blessing of a lot of shade. There are oaks all around this course, along with some flowing water, which also adds to the aesthetics. This is great, because you’ll have plenty of time to take all of that scenery in, and the cars passing by, and The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, as you make your way through holes that range anywhere from 63 to 109 feet in length.

I used to have a real burr in my side for Fantasia Gardens’ Fairways Course, but after my last round, it is rapidly becoming a course that I want to return to again and again. There are tricks to be learned on the Gardens Course or the pair of courses over at Winter Summerland, but here it is only practice, practice, practice that will give you mastery over the miniature course. If you were like me and could dream of having a fun afternoon on the Fairways Course, I’m begging you to give it another chance. The result may be the same, but you might just gain a newfound appreciation for the trial.

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