This weekend we played the Overlook Golf Center's mini golf course. I like to refer to this one as "The Punisher"! This is a beautiful and serene course located about 10 minutes from Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York. This was the fourth time I have played this course and it always gets the better of me but I appreciate the challenge.
The course is beautifully maintained and right now is in full bloom with Spring plantings. It is amazing how quickly my blood pressure can climb even surrounded by beauty and tranquility. This is no wimpy course. There are no storybook characters, no windmills and no whimsy. The fairways are long and most of the holes are par 4. This is a course for dedicated players.
The reason this course is so challenging and also the reason I call it "The Punisher" is because all of the holes have traps that are set up in a way that they require extra precision. Sure there are the usual winding fairways and the berms and obstacles but this course goes a step beyond obstacles and obstructions. There is a lot of water. Some of the holes seem designed to be impossible. This is not a "hole in one" course. This is a course you nibble at, knowing it's best to use the par numbers rather than be over-ambitious.
The fairway pictured above has the water feature smack in the middle. At first glance it would appear that the solution would be to take a short shot and lay-up for the hole. The problem with this is that the sadistic designer did not merely place that large water oval in the center of a large u-shaped fairway, but that the greens surrounding the trap are all sloped towards it.
My golf partner has her own name for this course: "the ball washer". I normally reply by muttering under my breath: "ball buster".
This dastardly hole is a very long down-hill slope that required dodging rock traps. When you get to the bottom the actual hole is across a water trap. There is a way around a large island of plants but the initial incline is pitched toward that water trap and not to the route around the island. Another favorite punishments of this course is placing several holes immediately in front of large water features by twelve or less inches. To complicate the shot even more they place the perilous hole at the top of an incline. What this means is that you first have to hit the ball hard enough to make it up the incline but not so hard as to go into the drink. Precision is the key. This course focuses on precision over aim. Of course you need aim to eventually land the ball in the hole but getting to that point before the allotted maximum stroke limit [6 stroke limit on this course] is reached is where the challenge is.
"The Punisher" is a good course. I enjoy the torture and can't wait to try it again. I'm working on analyzing my game here. I lost the game this weekend. I lost my focus. I lost my temper. I did not lose my love of the challenge.
I rate this course an A-. The reason I can't give it an "A" is because they do not have those great ball retrieval flags and more importantly because of an annoying design flaw. There are no paths. The fairways are back-to-back and impossible to walk around. This means if you pick a day when it's crowded the group behind you is literally on top of you. It also means that if anyone has to leave the course they have to interrupt your game in order to walk down the fairways to get out. I don't understand this flaw because there certainly seems to be enough land that they could have spared a little more for the course.
Overlook Golf Center
39 DeGarmo Road
Open 7 days from 9 to 9
Also in the complex are batting cages, driving range and go kart driving.