I went to a miniature golf course a few weeks ago, something I haven’t done in years. Whether it was because of the childish persona that miniature golfing generally embraces, or simply the cost—it’s hard to give up money for something so seemingly irrelevant as miniature golf when money is as scarce as it is. Despite this, I finally surrendered myself to an afternoon of mini-golfing with my friends. After paying, my friends and I went through the sacred process of selecting clubs and picking a golf ball whose color was sure to guarantee victory.
Playing through the holes, I couldn’t help but smile. Whether it was my youth grabbing a hold of me or simply the thrill of hitting golf balls through windmills, barrels, and haunted houses, I felt strangely enthused and encouraged. I finally found basis for these misplaced feelings in the middle of the course, somewhere between the “Old Lady in the Shoe” and the dinosaur that straddled the next hole.
I realized right then and there that mini-golfing was much more than a pastime for children. It was an indirect representation of the beliefs and values that I and so many other Americans hold dear to their hearts: unity, creativity, and individuality.
Miniature golf courses display unity because they combine strikingly different objects to establish a harmonious whole. Dinosaurs hover over Volkswagens. A colorful windmill occupies the backyard of a haunted house. A clown smiles toward a rebellious cowboy. People of different race, ethnicity, and beliefs all flock to these courses to catch a glimpse of the juxtaposition of the items on each hole that create a united whole larger than any one of its constituent parts. In a way, the miniature golf course serves as a blueprint of the unity that many people in the world attempt to establish.
Just as miniature golf courses are blueprints for unity, they are also springboards for human creativity and ingenuity. The miniature golf course, to me at least, showcases the same creativity that defines human beings. Only in America is someone creative enough to turn scrap metal, tubing, and a cup in to a golf course complete with innumerable objects that are able to continually amuse people. In an age where conformity and monotony are looming around every corner, we all need our creativity to be renewed occasionally. Miniature golf courses serve as excellent catalysts for this renewal.
Furthermore, the central theme and focus of each hole mimics the individuality that defines Americans. The lighting and the surroundings all contribute to the unique qualities of the hole, just as cultural background and values contribute to the unique qualities of humans. Not each hole is of equal character or importance, but each hole is an essential component to the overall course. Both miniature golf courses and America are beautifully diverse mosaics that are built upon distinctive individual components. In this way, the uniqueness and distinctiveness of each hole praises the individuality of each American.
It is important to revisit miniature golf courses and other similar slices of Americana. However cliché and corny they are, miniature golf courses are a symbolic representation of the beliefs that set Americans apart from much of the rest of the world. Our founding fathers would be extremely proud to know that the fundamental ideas that this great country were founded upon still exist today, even if it may be in a miniature golf course.
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