Mini Golf: Golf For the Rest of Us

Serious golfers go to driving ranges and courses. Serious golfers buy golf shirts and shoes. Serious golfers have a whole set of clubs and keep them in an oversized bag. For the non-serious golfers, there is mini golf. You may call it miniature golf, goofy golf, crazy golf, mini-putt, Putt-Putt golf or mini golf, but it is basically golf for the rest of us. No clothes to purchase or clubs for that matter. Just come as you are, pay a small fee and receive one ball, one putter, one scorecard and a tiny (mini) pencil. We recently participated in the low-stress version of golf at the mini golf range at Pippy Park here in the city of St. John’s.

We wanted to have some good old-fashioned fun. We didn’t want to watch balls disappear into water hazards and sand traps. We didn’t want to have to dress in certain attire. We didn’t want to lug around a heavy bag full of clubs. We wanted to play the miniature and less stress version of golf. Our afternoon of mini golf was a success because we had fun. Oh, and by the way…I won!

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The Good Old Hockey Game

One of things I embrace as I return to North America is the love of hockey. After spending a good portion of time in a country where soccer and baseball are the rulers of the sports scene, it’s nice to come to a place where hockey lives. Sure, hockey might not be as popular in some parts of the United States as it is in Canada, but at least you don’t need to say “ice” before hockey so as not to confuse it with its weaker cousin called field hockey, a sport played on grass and with sticks way too short for any human.

The above picture shows my very first purchase upon my arrival in Canada. Once I cleared customs and took a much needed bathroom break, I made a b-line for Hudson News in Vancouver International Airport to buy my favorite magazine. This purchase was preplanned for awhile now. Its $4 well spent!

My second hockey indulgence was actually taking in a live hockey game in Portland, Oregon. The Portland Winterhawks play in the Western Hockey League which is a major junior hockey league made up of teams from western Canada and the USA. It might not be a professional league, but the major juniors are an important stepping stone into the professional hockey world. These teenage players play like they have a lot to prove. The games are fast and physical, which is a great recipe for interesting hockey. The Winterhawks unfortunately lost the game to the Tri-City Americans by a score of 4-3.

It’s nice to be on a continent where hockey is appreciated. I do enjoy other sports, but for me there’s nothing like the “Good Old Hockey Game”. Just like the song says, its the “best game you can name”.

Korean Traditional Games

Games are a part of most cultures. The games may differ depending on where you are. In some countries a game can be anything from chasing a ball around a field, a puck around an ice surface or driving a little white ball into a hole barely big enough to contain it. Games can also be as low key as a board game with fake money around the kitchen table or spelling words with little wooden tiles. The Korean culture is no different. Games are very much a part of this culture. Most of the games here are like games in a lot of developed countries, which involve gathering oneself around a computer screen or a TV . Traditional games can still be found if you know where to look.

One of the places to experience a couple of these traditional games is at Namsongol Hanok Village. Here you can try your hand at Tuho and Paeng-chigi.

(Photo courtesy of my father)

The object of Tuho is to throw arrows into a canister. Pretty simple concept, but not always as easy as it may seem.

Eventually you do get lucky or skillful and hit the money shot.

Paengi-chigi is a variation of something most of us have played with as children – spin tops. These spin tops are wound up with string and then let go. In order to keep the tops from falling over, they are then hit with a thin leather strap.

This game can become a two person game when one participant tries to knock over the other participant’s spin top with his own. That I haven’t seen in person, but it does sound like a fun activity.

Games can be found in all cultures and many have advanced throughout the years. In the end the main objective to playing any game is to have fun.

What games did you play as a child?