New MonsterMonster Mini Golf
6429 U.S. Highway 19
New Port Richey, Florida 34652
(727) 849-GOLF (4653)
Priced by height: $5.50, $6.50 or $7.50 per person. The $7.50 “adult” price is based on the average 11yr old. Yes, this means that short people make out like bandits. Tiny monsters are free.

See website for discounts and specials (including free replay on Wednesdays) http://www.monsterminigolf.com/fran_fl_newport.html

Monster06We’ve been dying to try out this course since finding it by googling mini golf courses in the area. It’s a glow-golf franchise with locations across the country, but this one includes particularly Florida-themed monsters along with other graveyard ghouls.

Indoor golf comes with its own peculiarities that seem to be common to the genre, and Monster Mini Golf is no exception. While waiting for your compadres to putt there are very few places off the fairway to stand, so you end up constantly jumping from one wooden border box to another, avoiding being in the line of fire throughout the entire course. The attempt to maximize game play in a significantly smaller area than most outdoor courses means there are no rest areas between holes, and really no divider between one hole and the next, except a quarter-inch board with the next hole number painted on it. This place is built to move people in and out as quickly as possible.

Monster04Monster12Monster02Regardless, the course is highly entertaining and very challenging. There are two audio-animatronic robots, one of which (the giant troll) is pretty impressive when it goes through its several spiels and even stands up (his head touches the light fixtures).  The walls are painted with clever “scary” scenarios including a mummy interrogation, an evil looking rat and his broken down castle spoofing Florida’s most famous theme park resident, a haunted orange grove, a run-away roller coaster, and a giant dinosaur stomping a Florida neighborhood. All of the obstacles on the green (or “black” in this case) are either coffins appearing to poke through the floor, or some other appropriately themed creepy object. Our favorite was the recurring evil orange (the fruit, not the color) guy who kept showing up in various tableaux. The sponge monster was a rather nice touch too, given New Port Richey’s proximity to Tarpon Springs and its famous sponge docks.

Most holes have extremely long and angled fairways. There were no par assignments either at the hole or on the scorecard, so we will never know what an average score would be, but we did get a fair amount of 5’s, indicating either a shot sunk after much difficulty or taking the max number of strokes out of frustration. Primarily, the challenge of the course is simply that each hole lies around several right-angled turns meaning that if you mess up a couple of bank shots, your score could plummet. But, if you’re good at that kind of maneuver, you should have no problem cruising through this course.

Monster19Sometimes it’s difficult to tell whether the obstacle on a particular green has an “under” under it, or if its base is simply painted black and this may throw you off.  There are also two holes that are placed right in front of a fan vent that creates enough air resistance to push your ball away as if the floor was sloped, so watch out for holes 8 and 16, or just tap your ball a little harder than you normally would to sink it perfectly.

It seems that most indoor mini golf establishments exist equally as destination party venues, arcades, and location for light sport activity – Monster is no different. Their occasion rooms are stylishly themed with overstuffed chairs like you might find in a haunted mansion. Before you play, check the website for specials of which there are several throughout the week. And we definitely recommend keeping score. If you complete the game with that day’s “mystery score”  you get to spin the prize wheel to win free games, discounts, t-shirts and more. The staff/owners are friendly, and if you so desire, you can even get married under the ultraviolet light of the painted full moon – just make sure to send us an invitation.

Visit Putt Plug’s Facebook fan page to see more photographs from this course.

Monster05