WHO: Globe columnist Joanna Weiss and her daughter, Ava, 8
WHERE: Monster Mini Golf in Norwood; Lights Out Mini Golf in Hanover
WHAT: Glow-in-the-dark mini-golf tour
I’ve always thought of miniature golf as an outdoor experience, the stuff of summer breezes, little windmills, and balls lost forever in makeshift ponds. Now that winter is upon us, I’m glad there are indoor options. I’m just not sure who decided that indoor mini golf had to be paired with black lights.
But glow-in-the-dark mini golf is everywhere, fueled by national chains and some enterprising small-business owners. On a couple of dreary weekends in December, Ava and I decided to check out some of the options.
Our first stop was Lights Out Mini Golf, newly installed in a storefront in the Hanover Mall. It’s rustic and low-frills, with a homemade look — think the 18 holes next to the clam shack on the Outer Cape, as opposed to the mega-entertainment complex on Route 28 — but on the day we went, the staff tried hard to make sure Ava was having a good time.
Then we tried Monster Mini Golf on Route 1 in Norwood. It’s a franchise inside a big box, full of disco balls, animatronic monsters, and the inevitable arcade. Ava was enthralled.
Truth be told, she was more interested in the décor than in the golf, but it’s worth noting the course itself: full of bends and turns, so that gameplay is like billiards, with lots of balls banking off walls. If I have a second career as a geometry teacher, I’m going to bring my students here.
I tried to give Ava some pointers, but she wasn’t really listening; suffice it to say that my child is not yet ready for the PGA. We made our way through 18 holes without keeping score, and taking ample time to stare at monsters poking out of boxes, skeletons inside closets, and a wheel, near one hole, that ordered golfers to do something silly on their first putt. (Ava got to hit the ball with the wrong end of the putter, while I was ordered to kick the ball.) At some point along the way, it dawned on me that glow-in-the-dark mini golf is more about the glowing than the golf. That’s OK. Summer, with its higher standards, will come back eventually.
Lights Out Mini Golf: 1775 Washington St., Hanover; 781-826-6384. Monster Mini Golf: 1560 Boston Providence Highway, Norwood; 781-762-3100 (other locations in Danvers, Fairhaven, and Seekonk).