When sculpture meets mini golf
As most golfers know, sometimes it’s about the golf, and sometimes it’s about the course. But can it also be art? The creator of Big Stone Mini Golf and Sculpture Garden hopes so.
On a sunny summer day, putt-putters are lined up on the first tee, in front of a sculpture called Dead Tree Forest, which has nifty trees and stumps blocking the way to the hole. Clearly no one is hole-in-one here, but the players don’t seem to care.
Most of the fun of mini golf is the challenge of impossible obstacles. Here, part of the fun just comes from looking at the obstacles themselves.
They come from the mind of artist Bruce Stillman, who originally specialized in kinetic sculpture. He built the course on his 17-acre property to draw people into an adjoining sculpture garden that features his own work as well as that of 16 other artists and more.
“Most people aren’t cultured to look at art, but they love games,” he says. His 14-hole putt-putt course demonstrates his imagination and love of what he calls “landscape sculpting.” Mr. Stillman says, “I love working with nature. … Nature is the best artist.
Guests are encouraged to stroll through the sculpture garden before or after a round of golf, where they might encounter one of the goats or chickens that live on the property. Proceeds from the mini-golf course are used to purchase more sculptures and support local art projects.
Lou Gengenbach and her grandsons marvel at the ingenuity of each hole as her husband, Burle, tallies the score. “There’s something to look at at every turn,” she says. “Such creativity. Glad other people have it for me to enjoy!
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