When my kids said they wanted to play miniature golf last Saturday, I started getting a headache. The Family Fun Center in Wilsonville, where we've golfed in the past, is not my idea of fun. It's loud, it's crazy, it's crowded. It's too bright, too noisy, too expensive when the kids discover all the other games they can play.
Instead, my brother steered us to Tualatin Island Greens, a driving range and putting course off Highway 99. It was beautiful, peaceful, and with not a turning windmill in sight.
The putting course is an 18-hole adventure that meanders through shady trees and gurgling creeks. Along the course are miniature sand traps, dips and hills, turns and ramps. Balls can (and did) land in the water, but retrieving them was part of the fun, at least for the kids.
We started out showing the kids the right way to stand and the right way to hold the club, but after a while they had raced ahead of us adults and found their own ways to get the ball into the hole, including picking it up and dropping it in. We never felt rushed by any groups coming up behind us, and it felt totally comfortable letting the kids go ahead on their own.
Afterward, we headed inside the clubhouse for ice cream and were entertained by the real golfers on the driving range. The club has set up cutouts of John McCain and Barack Obama way out on the range with requests to "vote" for your favorite candidate. Talk about relying on the swing vote.