Where 'putter' is both noun and verb

By Aaron J. Latham

Arizona Summer Wildcat

Little buildings with trap doors, the deafening roar of the video game arcade, the throngs of kids at the height of puberty. Mini golf.

OK, so it's more like St. Nicholas than Jack Nicklaus, but where else can you play a round of 18 holes for $5 and come even close to par?

Harken back to junior high days and escape the daytime heat, venture out to one of Tucson's three lands of little links. Many include alternative attractions to just golf, including go carts, bumper boats and batting cages.

Magic Carpet, 6125 E. Speedway Blvd., is a classic homemade mini golf course with towering cement creatures and cheesy automated traps. Its two 18-hole courses are unique and hilarious with everything from a rubber spider bouncing over a hole to a 100-foot high Easter Island head which is a lookout tower for surveying the courses.

Best of all, everything on the courses are completely accessible for kids to play on. Inside the clubhouse are video games and pool tables.

Magic Carpet is open 8 a.m. to midnight 7 days a week. From 6 p.m. to close a round is $5, with unlimited golf Monday through Wednesday before 6 p.m. for $5.

If you can maneuver through the road construction, Golf N' Stuff, 6503 E. Tanque Verde Road, has something for everyone.

Part of a national chain, Golf N' Stuff has two courses which appear to be mirrors of each other. Its batting cages throw baseballs at speeds of 50, 60 and 80 mph as well as fast and slow pitch softball and basketball courts for shooting hoops. For the speed demon, there are go carts and bumperboats. Surrounded by all this is the castle inside which has wall-to-wall video games

Golf N' Stuff is open 10 a.m. to midnight Sunday through Thursday and until 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday. A round of golf is $5, bumper boats are $4 and the go carts are $3.75.

The newest addition to Tucson's mini golf scene is Funtastik's at 221 E. Wetmore Road.

Golfing at Funtastik's comes as a package with free rides on the go carts and bumper boats. There are batting cages in addition to over 150 video games. For the kids there is even a small roller coaster.

A round of golf with the free rides is $12.95 for anyone over 60 inches tall and $8.95 for the little ones. Go carts are $4 to drive, $1.50 passenger and bumper boats are $3.75 to drive and $1 for passengers. A single round of golf is $5 for ages 12 and up, kids 11 and under are $4 and those under 5 golf free. Funtastik's is open 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and until 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday.

Next time you are feeling tired of the pizza and video routine, go rent a putter and try your hand at a quintessentially American pastime miniature golf.

The Cat's Meow is a Wilcat staffer's pick for entertainment in Tucson. Aaron Latham is a journalism senior.

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