How did you celebrate Valentine’s Day this year?
I spent my February 14th in a psychedelic black-lit room fighting sensory overload while trying to make a connection between metal and rubber.
No, my boyfriend didn’t buy me an acid trip to show his affection…he took me glow-in-the dark mini golfing!
Located in the near North Chicago suburb of Norridge, Putting Edge is a 18 hole fantasy land of vibrant color and surreal themes. Sure, I went mini golfing for my fair share of childhood birthday parties back in the day, but decades of time have worn down any natural skill I could have once claimed.
I know what you’re thinking. Mini golf = LAME. In many cases, I’d totally agree with you, but not this place. Putting Edge is a total departure from logic, an escape from reality, and a cure for the average date night.
Feeling mind-numb from your 9-5? Stuck in a relationship rut full of quicksand? Tired of looking at the same *#$@(% walls surrounding every single day?
Go glow golf and make it all better…at least for an hour or so.
Putting Edge is an 18-hole mini golf course that’s reasonably challenging for the novice golfer, without being too predictably dull. Then again, there’s nothing really predictable at all about mummified eyes lurking in the shadows or an octopus with oozing brain matter hovering over you.
I can’t remember my putting score offhand, but it wasn’t too embarrassing. I’m sure this place gets packed with families on the weekends, but it was nice and peaceful on a “holiday” weekday evening.
When I scoped out the Putting Edge website to reference on this blog post, I learned that’s actually (but not surprisingly) a chain. So if you’re sitting in Denver, Orlando, St. Louis, or Detroit right now, you could be glow-in-the-dark mini golfing right now instead of reading this! Glowing golf must be a big deal in Canada, because the chain has a whopping 10 locations up there.
My absolute favorite part of the Norridge golf course was the glowing monkey section at the end. Not only did grinning monkeys serve as obstacles on the course, but they also formed a bonus hole after hole 18.
What I wouldn’t give to deck out a room in my apartment with a blacklight some of those neon glowing monkey cut outs. Maybe one day….when I “grow up” and have a home of my very own.
There are a ton of glowing arcade games that stand between the front door and the golf course, which you can scope out as you walk in. They all take tokens, so you’ll have to exchange some cash for some at the front desk to play.
The good news? There’s a ton of different games here.
The bad news? Most of them are broken.
The redeeming news? Some of the machines accidentally spit out way more tickets than you deserve.
The comforting news? If a machine cheats you out of tickets, hunt down one of the kids working nearby and they’ll get you what you deserve.
Now stop mulling it over and go redeem those tickets for a few silly plastic trinkets that you’ll cherish for all of five minutes before relinquishing them to a dusty drawer you’ll never look in again.
The Putting Edge in Norridge is open from 1pm to 9pm Monday through Friday, 1pm to midnight on Friday, 10am to midnight on Saturday, and 11am to 8pm on Sunday. You’ll have to fork over $10.50 to play if you’re in your teenage years or better.
After succumbing glow-in-the-dark fever, I began searching for other glow-worthy spots around the city. A few weeks later, I headed over to Space Golf in Orland Park. This place defines awesome in a whole other way. Alien planets, giant robots, flying saucers, and space creatures are the norm at this retro course that’s tiny in comparison to Putting Edge.
Some of these holes are next to impossible, while others are ridiculously simple. Pay the extra $1 for 3D glasses and try to golf with them on for a truly trippy night out. No 1980s-style golf course would be complete without an outdated arcade and some cheap eats. The guy working here will heat up a frozen pizza for you for half price Mondays through Thursdays, and there’s usually a 2-for-1 golf special that runs on Tuesdays.
After staring at a computer screen day-in and day-out, these silly little golf courses nudged my senses and woke up part of my brain that never gets used. There’s something about the cheesiness factor of these places that appeals to my inner desire to let loose, get competitive, and be a kid again. And there aren’t too many cheap thrills that I can say the same for.