Mini-golf

The first time I drove past Golfland, the dragon heads and other decorations sticking above the shrubs on the side of the highway mesmerized me. Golfland seemed like this tremendous playground, this ultimate fantasy land. I wanted to go immediately, but my parents said no. We were instead on our way to the Great Mall in Milipitas, a nearby town, for the Scouting Expo.

It wasnít until many years later that I actually got to play through the mini-golf courses at Golfland. I had been to the Golfland Water Park and the Golfland arcade, but not the actual attraction Golfland was named for.

There are actually many Golflands in the Bay Area, and Iíve been to several now. Each has unique mini-golf courses, but I remember two in particular.

One was this medieval-themed course. Some holes required players hit the ball through drawbridges. Other holes we had to hit the ball into the dragonís mouth or through a windmill. Every hole had some sort of medieval decoration, and to be standing right in the center of it all was amazing. I felt like I was in a completely different world, completely absorbed and convinced by the decorations, even if they were obviously fake. To me, at least for the time I was inside the course, Golfland was reality. Of course it was. After all, I was standing right there in Golfland right? But beyond that, Golfland was reality in that Golfland was the only world I felt any care for at the time, felt any association with. Somehow, despite the exaggerated decorations, Golfland felt real. Perhaps the simulationís success was not replicating something exactly, but producing a sensation of realism.

The other course was an ancient Asian based course. There were replica Chinese temples, walls resembling the Great Wall of China, and typically Asian gateways. Being Chinese, I was naturally drawn to this course. Again, another simulated experience that felt real. I wanted to believe Golfland was real, so I did, and at least for me it did become real.

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