Mini-Golf Was Created Because It Was Improper For Women To Lift Clubs Past Their Shoulders
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It doesn't matter how cool you are -- if someone puts a little stick in your hand and a windmill in front of you, you will be down for some putt-putt. Sure, it's a silly game that even toddlers can play, but the same could be said for many video games, and if you can't bring yourself to enjoy either of those things, you have no soul. Also like video games, it has a long history involving keeping women out of things.
The first miniature golf course, opened in Scotland in 1867, looked very different from today's putt-putt courses. There were no pirates, no ice cream, no maddening pendulums for you to insist must be rigged and swear a blood vengeance against. They just kind of looked like golf courses that had been shrunk down to a fraction of their normal size.
Millar & Lang, Glascow & London
If you wanted a windmill on a hole, you had to ask a gentleman to kindly whip out his natural one.
What was this, a golf course for ants? Close! Since women were considered "too delicate or too modest to swing a club past their shoulders," as The Washington Post describes it, the St. Andrews' Ladies Putting Club was created so that the wives of golfers could get in on the fun too (i.e., get off the dudes' asses) without disgracing themselves with all that vulgar swinging. You know, kind of like how you let your dog pretend to drive the car.
The delicious tackiness associated with mini-golf today was a complete coincidence. It started with Frieda Carter, whose husband owned various properties, including a golf course and a whimsical Tennessee hotel called the Fairyland Inn. When they installed a mini-golf course at the Fairyland, Freida decorated it basically with shit she had lying around: random tiles, broken pipes, hollow logs, and, of course, gnomes:
Garnet Carter Chapin
"Wait, gnome? We never put a gnome ..."
This was simply, The New York Times says, "a way of reinforcing the Never Never Land atmosphere the inn strove to create," something a little more fun for the "golf widows." As women have been doing throughout history, she was just making the best of a stupid situation. But the Fairyland course became popular with people of all ages and genital configurations, other courses copied her design, and now we can punch infuriating clowns to our hearts' content.
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