In an all time glow, I spent part of my Friday night in the may room, putting a neon yellow golf ball over four-by-eight-foot strips of black felt on top of plastic pyramids with little divots at the top. Whoop-de-doo.

Mini golf is designed to be boring. It’s where eighth graders go on a Friday night. It’s the perfect first date for a cheesy couple in the Hallmark movie playing on daytime television in the hair salon. It’s where fun goes to die. 

So what possessed my mini-golf-hating heart to give 30 minutes of my life to UR Late Night? Frankly, desperation — thanks to COVID-19, my chances to legally hang out in a building with my friends are few and far between. I’ll take what I can get.

And what I got — upon presenting my completed Dr. Chatbot and proof of registration in the form of a QR code — was free entry into a semi-immersive experience. 

My first glimpse into the world of Glow Golf. Hailie Higgins

They could stand to have put more lights out, but as a former member of Residential Life at UR, I know that turning to programming budget money to pay for something cool is like checking for enough pocket change to buy a sandwich and coming up with 62 cents.

The music had me itching to go to a rave, so kudos to the student programmer who picked out that playlist. 

The people around me were either weirdly into mini golf, or hammered. Given that only birdwatchers and stamp collectors are into mini golf, and that the entire point of the golf clap is to be as unexciting as possible, I’m inclined to believe the latter.

Although there were 18 socially distant courses scattered throughout the room, they were one of four designs: a traditional L-shaped blob of a course, a course with a bridge, a loop-de-loop, or a squiggly course. I guess I can’t be too disappointed. When it comes to just about everything in life, you get what you pay for, and this evening was free.

The loop-de-loop threw me for a loop. Hailie Higgins

As my group didn’t really keep track or go in any particular order, Glow Golf worked better as a photo op than as a family-friendly way to kill the evening. So after my friends and I tuckered ourselves out accidentally putting our balls halfway across the room, we moseyed over to a blacklight in the corner and posed like we were back in high school. 

I went for the action shot in my picture. Courtesy of Rachel Breining.

To keep things COVID-friendly, you had to reserve a 30-minute slot ahead of time, and got promptly evicted from the premises at the end of your slot.

Before that could happen, I embarrassed myself out of the room.

Another action shot.  Hailie Higgins

Immediately after this photo was taken, our golf balls hit the ground, and rolled away in all directions, as spherical objects tend to do. We all decided we were done with mini golf, and my friends started to move towards the exit.

Being the respectful patron that I am, I moved to pick up mine and my friends balls. As I stood up, three balls in hand, I heard a girl go, “Hey, those are ours!” 

Suddenly, I remember I am not, in fact, the only group in the room. I also realize I am not standing on the ground, but on the black felt of one of the courses, which I’d stepped onto in an attempt to chase the balls. None of the balls in my hand were mine, and I’d just ruined their game. 

I stuttered an apology, dumped the balls incorrectly back onto the turf, and speed walked away. 

I sincerely hope those people cared about mini golf as much as I did.

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