The Evster's Guide to an Enjoyable Mini Golf Experience

The Evster's Guide to an Enjoyable Mini Golf Experience

The place across from Boardwalk Hall in A.C., via atlanticcitynj.com

Let me just start by saying that I am not one of those über-serious miniature golf weirdos who feels the game needs to be played a "certain way" in order to have fun. This is mini golf for crying out loud -- a game played by children, adults, and sweaty disgusting teenagers who make out after every hole -- and should be played in whatever fashion that will bring you the most enjoyment out of your golfing experience.

In a country like this, where we are free to choose our own putters, and move the ball with our feet, and appear on an episode of HBO's Real Sex with golf balls jammed in our mouths, I am fine with you doing whatever you want. But if you want to stay TRUE TO THE GAME and respect this great nation of ours, it is important that we are all on the same page -- and follow a certain number of unwritten codes -- so that we can pass on our love of mini golf to the next generation of putt-putters. We cannot let this timeless American treasure be tarnished by a bunch of complete and total perv-jobs who have their erotic sex romps filmed for a late-night cable television program.

Because miniature golf is a family game!

And with family games, comes all sorts of differing opinions as to what types of behavior is acceptable. For example, my 6-yr-old cousin, Dennis, feels that it's totally okay for him to putt the ball while it's still moving, constantly tapping it around like a hockey player, and then turning to look at me when he finally gets it in the cup, thinking I should be excited that he got a "3". But Dennis is an asshole. That's no way to play mini golf, and you're not getting a 3, Dennis, you're getting a 6. Because you're not Mario Lemieux, you don't even know who Mario Lemieux is, and you didn't share your funnel cake with me last night even though I asked very nicely for a very small piece. So for this post, Dennis's, and other amateur's opinions, will not be taken into consideration. Only mine will. Because this is America. And in America, bloggers have all the power.

The first key to an enjoyable miniature golf outing is selecting the right course. Take a 3-block stroll down Ocean City's boardwalk and you will pass no fewer than 12 mini golf courses, each with their own little bells and whistles designed to draw you in. It is imperative that we support courses that are both challenging and innovative, while also providing a certain amount of mini golf amenities that we have grown accustomed to in this disgustingly rich and spoiled country. For example, a course does not necessarily need one of those little wooden podiums at every hole for you to lean on and add your score up (although what a bonus!), but it does need at least one goddamn bench for us to sit on when we get tired and cranky and sunscreen starts dripping into our eyeballs. Unfortunately, I cannot tell you which courses on Ocean City's boardwalk are worth playing, because I am absolutely terrified of that place -- SO MANY TEENAGERS -- but I can tell you what to look for and what to stay away from when scouting 'em out.

Nice gazebo, via tapmag.com

You want to play a course with a maximum amount of ridiculously large, stupid, googly-eyed ornaments (including windmills, ramps and erotic sex caves), because miniature golf is stupid. To hit your ball and have it disappear into some dumb fairy gorilla castle, and then dramatically reappear nowhere near the hole is dumb, but it's also amazing! The more elaborate the design, the more tunnels, and secret Snorkel Holes (I call them Snorkel Holes) the better. If a course has a pirate ship and caves and WATERFALLS, then bing bong you've hit the jackpot. This shows that the course owners TAKE PRIDE IN THEIR BUSINESS. Running water and rock canyons and gigantic palm trees are also a mega-whopper-super-bonus, serving as a sweet cooling oasis from the flaming ball of fire in the sky that will one day kill us all.

Back to Snorkel Holes, by far that greatest invention in the history of the sport, or hole designs where the ball goes in one hole, and shoots out another. Snorkel Holes are the best -- the feeling of watching your ball disappear into one cup and then sprinting down the hill to see where it pops out, can only be topped by the feeling of watching that ball roll in for an ace. Now, people who appear on a certain late-night cable television program will argue with you that this excitement pales in comparison to that of a certain other type of erotic ball play, but remember, they are sickos. That being said, it truly is amazing how comfortable those people are with their bodies, and I really feel like we, as Americans, could learn a whole heckuva lot from them if they could just stop being so disgusting for five minutes of their lives.

Of course, Snorkel Holes leads us to the age ole debate of whether or not you're allowed to scope out a Snorkel Hole before actually teeing off on that Snorkel Hole. If you ask my cousin Dennis, his fat dumb face will tell you that "Sure, Cousin Evan, it's just a game!" but I am here to tell you that this kid is WRONG, and it is totally unacceptable for you to place your ball into one of the holes before hitting it and seeing where it ends up. If you want to walk down the course, check it out, and see how the green is shaped before teeing off, fine, but any other type of reconnaissance mission-like behavior is strictly prohibited.

Unfortunately, Snorkel Holes are complicated to build and difficult to maintain, so in the mid-90s, a lot of course designers (mostly in the 'burbs) started to get away from the tubes and pipes and Snorkel Hole layouts that we so thoroughly enjoyed. These courses featured a lot more straight shots from the tee box to the hole, with little stupid shrubs and mulch and hills off to the side to distract us from the fact that it was just a stupid straight shot. This was an era of total bullshit. Just a bunch of money-grubbing Norwegian landscape architects (led by the infamous Nørfslven Vlüørvlensen), designing simplistic holes in an attempt to simulate executive office practice putting. This way, they could make money off of HONEST AMERICAN CONSUMERS LIKE US without actually investing in elaborate tube systems or GIGANTIC WHALES WITH FEET. But those Scandinavians will never see another one of my hard-earned American dollars. If you happen upon a course like this this summer, playing hole after hole with dumb, straight setups (and sand traps, and rocks, get those rocks off the course!), simply walk up to the counter, slam your putter into a fence, and refuse to pay for a goddamn thing. Your veiled threat won't really matter, because most mini-golf places make you pay before you play, but your family will respect you for being a total raging lunatic, which is really all you're going for these days anyway.

All respectable mini golf courses should end with a free game hole. If not, then the course owner is a communist. Even the worst round of golf, one where your little cousin beat you by four strokes BECAUSE HE CHEATS AND DON'T THINK I DIDN'T SEE YOU KICKING THE BALL, DENNIS, can be salvaged with an ace on the 18th. This is your chance to stick it to the world and say, "Yes, I paid for this 1/2 hour of entertainment, but I am NOT paying for it next time. And yes, I understand that I'm not going to be playing by myself next time, and will most likely be bringing my entire family back again and spending another 30 or so dollars, but one of us will play for free if I remember to bring my free game voucher. Now what did I do with that voucher? It's in the trash, isn't it? I threw it in the trash. Dag nabbit."

So there you have it, folks.

What you have? I'm not really sure. But I hope you've had a few minutes to sit and think about this great American pastime of ours, and how best to spend a shitty summer afternoon with your shitty family.

Honestly, you're probably better off going to the movies.

Despicable Me 2 seriously looks hilarious.

Those guys have googly-eyes.

Follow The Evster @TVMWW.

NFL Preseason Wrap: Both offenses sluggish in Giants win over Jets

NFL Preseason Wrap: Both offenses sluggish in Giants win over Jets

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Ryan Fitzpatrick threw a touchdown pass to Eric Decker and the New York Jets' defense stifled Eli Manning and the New York Giants' starters in a 21-20 preseason loss Saturday night.

Both teams' first-string offenses did very little in the last regular-season tuneup for most starters, but Fitzpatrick connected with Decker for a 22-yard score three plays after Darrelle Revis intercepted Manning on a pass intended for Odell Beckham Jr. in Giants territory in the second quarter.

Fitzpatrick finished 9 of 16 for 76 yards with the score and lost a fumble in the red zone before being replaced by Geno Smith just before halftime.

Manning was 10 of 15 for 65 yards and an interception while playing one series into the third quarter. The Giants' starters managed just 61 total yards against Todd Bowles' defense.

The Giants (1-2) didn't get past the 50-yard line until a facemask penalty on Brandon Bostick on a punt return put them at the Jets 47 with 2:36 left in the third quarter (see full recap).

Siemian solidifies QB job in Denver's 17-9 win over Rams
DENVER -- Trevor Siemian threw his first touchdown pass of the preseason and tightened his grip on the Denver Broncos' starting quarterback job in a 17-9 win over the Los Angeles Rams on Saturday night.

After showing off his strong right arm over a first half that included a 1-yard pass to Virgil Green, Siemian accepted hugs from his teammates and gave way to rookie Paxton Lynch, who was also impressive in his half of play.

That left Mark Sanchez as the odd man out on this night and, plausibly, come cut-down day. If he's not on the 53-man roster, the Broncos will save $3.5 million and the seventh-round draft pick they would have owed the Eagles.

It was Sanchez's job to lose when training camp began and he's apparently done just that with a slew of turnovers in the preseason, although coach Gary Kubiak had steadfastly declined to name a starter up to this point.

An afterthought while taking just one snap - a kneel-down - as a rookie last season, Siemian has emerged as the best option to lead Denver's defense of its Super Bowl title with Peyton Manning on the links and Brock Osweiler in Houston (see full recap).

Smith, Chiefs look sharp in 23-7 victory over Bears
CHICAGO -- Alex Smith looked sharp in leading three scoring drives in the first half and the Kansas City Chiefs got a 23-7 preseason victory over the Chicago Bears on Saturday.

Smith completed 20 of 30 passes for 181 yards before Nick Foles came in to start the third quarter. The defense strangled Chicago's offense, and the Chiefs (1-2) came away with the win after dropping their first two exhibitions.

Kansas City has one more tuneup against Green Bay before opening against San Diego on Sept. 11. But in what is generally the final dress rehearsal for the starters, the Chiefs dominated.

"I certainly feel like we're ready as far as game speed, as far as getting the trials, getting enough plays," Smith said. "I felt like we got in a lot of different situations - the goal line, short yardage, red zone, got a little two-minute today. That's kind of what you want, I feel like, in the preseason."

Kansas City got two second-quarter field goals from Cairo Santos and a 1-yard touchdown run by Spencer Ware in the closing seconds of the half to take a 13-0 lead. But the score didn't reflect just how lopsided the game was (see full recap).

Mariota, Carr both sharp in Titans' 27-14 win over Raiders
OAKLAND, Calif. -- Marcus Mariota and Derek Carr look ready for the season to start after a successful preseason dress rehearsal.

Mariota led Tennessee to scores on all four drives he played and Carr threw two touchdown passes for Oakland and the Titans beat the Raiders 27-14 on Saturday night.

"All in all, guys have put in the work," Mariota said. "We've built a pretty solid offseason in the preseason. Now it's just putting it all together once the season starts."

With the starters getting their most playing time in the third week of the preseason, the offenses looked in midseason form while both first-team defenses struggled mightily.

That left Raiders coach Jack Del Rio frustrated, especially about a first-team run defense that couldn't slow down DeMarco Murray or Derrick Henry on the ground (see full recap).

Sam Bradford, first-team offense roll in preseason win over Colts

Sam Bradford, first-team offense roll in preseason win over Colts

INDIANAPOLIS – After the Eagles’ 33-23 preseason win over the Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on Saturday night, Sam Bradford was asked one question he didn’t quite know how to answer.

What didn’t go right for the offense?
 
“It’d be tough (to answer),” Bradford said. “I think I could probably give you a better answer after we watch the film.”
 
It wasn’t a tough question to answer just because he hadn’t yet watched the film. It was a tough question to answer because it didn’t seem like much went wrong for Bradford or the first-team offense on Saturday night (see Instant Replay).
 
Bradford was incredibly efficient, completing 17 of 20 passes for 167 yards, two touchdowns and an interception that clearly wasn’t his fault. Aside from the end of the half, the first-team offense scored on its last four possessions.
 
Thanks to the offensive line, Bradford stayed clean. The running backs – Ryan Matthews and Kenjon Barner – averaged 10.3 and 6.5 yards per carry, respectively. And the wide receivers actually made some big-time plays (see 10 observations).
 
“Obviously, tonight, to come out, to execute the way we did, it was nice,” Bradford said. “I was really happy with the communication up front, with the line of scrimmage. I thought our tempo in and out of the huddle was really good again tonight, getting to the line quickly. Overall, I thought the execution tonight was great. It’s obviously something that we can build on moving forward.”
 
Bradford finished the game with a passer rating of 114, and he was probably even better than that. He didn’t have a bad throw on the night. The interception was a bobbled drop from Nelson Agholor, one pass soared over Dorial Green-Beckham’s head after the wideout stopped running the route, and the third was a pass broken up by a nice play in the third quarter.
 
Bradford averaged just 9.8 yards per completion, but was clearly on his game in Indy, even outplaying Andrew Luck.
 
“I thought tonight obviously culminated everything, his hard work that he's put in all through the offseason and through training camp,” head coach Doug Pederson said. “Again, I made the decision way back in OTAs to split all the reps three ways all the way through training camp. This was the first week that Sam's had 100 percent of the reps and it showed tonight.”
 
Of course, playing well in the third preseason game isn’t anything new for Bradford. No one can forget his magical 10-for-10 performance last year against the Packers, when the Eagles were very prematurely crowned Super Bowl champs.
 
So Bradford and the offense looked good Saturday night … but it’s just the preseason.
 
Now, they turn their attention to the Browns and the opener on Sept. 11.
 
“I think everyone in that locker room realizes that before Week 1 gets here, we’ve still got a lot of work to do,” he said. “Obviously, this is a big week coming up for us to get a jump on Cleveland, try to get some extra work in. I think it was nice to execute the way we did tonight. We can build on that, but I think we all realize the regular season is a different animal and we’re going to have to take it to another level.”

Best of MLB: Rookie Gary Sanchez hits another HR, Yankees rout Orioles, 13-5

Best of MLB: Rookie Gary Sanchez hits another HR, Yankees rout Orioles, 13-5

Best of MLB: Gary Sanchez hits another HR, Yankees rout O's, 13-5

NEW YORK -- Rookie Gary Sanchez kept up a most remarkable run, homering for the third straight game as the New York Yankees routed the Baltimore Orioles 13-5 Saturday.

Sanchez hit a drive that bounced off the top of the right-center field wall and over in the fourth inning. He reached 11 career home runs faster than anyone in major league history -- 23 games, including two hitless games last year.

After the switch-hitting catcher connected, the crowd of 38,843 emphatically chanted his name. Mark Teixeira stepped out of the batter's box, pausing the game, allowing the 23-year-old to tip his batting helmet to the fans from the top of the dugout steps.

Starlin Castro and Aaron Hicks also homered as the Yankees won their fourth in a row. A day after trouncing the Orioles 14-4, New York moved within 2 1/2 games of them for the second AL wild-card spot.

Chris Davis homered twice and Mark Trumbo hit his big league-leading 39th home run for Baltimore, which has dropped three straight (see full recap).

Pedroia falls short of record, Red Sox beat Royals 8-3
BOSTON -- Dustin Pedroia had four hits to extend his streak to 11 straight at-bats before bouncing into a double play with a chance to tie the major-league record and the Boston Red Sox beat the Kansas City Royals 8-3 on Saturday night.

Pedroia's streak, which stretched over three games, ended in the eighth inning. The big league mark of hits in 12 straight official at-bats is shared by Walt Dropo for Detroit in 1952, Pinky Higgins of the Red Sox in 1938 and Johnny Kling of the Cubs in 1902.

Xander Bogaerts homered and drove in three runs, and Mookie Betts and Hanley Ramirez hit consecutive homers for Boston, which snapped a three-game losing streak.

David Price (13-8) won his fourth straight start, giving up two runs in six innings.

Danny Duffy (11-2) gave up three homers and seven runs in five innings, halting a personal 10-game winning streak.

Salvador Perez hit two solo homers for the Royals, who lost for just the fourth time 20 games (see full recap).

Harper ejected as Nats lose 9-4 to Rockies in 11 innings
WASHINGTON -- Charlie Blackmon hit two home runs, including the go-ahead shot in the 11th inning, as the Colorado Rockies beat the Washington Nationals 9-4 Saturday to snap a four-game losing streak.

Blackmon connected in the third off starter A.J. Cole, then hit a two-run drive off Yusmeiro Petit (3-4). Blackmon has 23 home runs this season and five multihomer games.

Carlos Gonzalez also hit a two-run homer off Petit, his 24th of the season and 200th of his career.

Jake McGee (1-3) got the win by pitching a perfect 10th, which included a strikeout of Bryce Harper that led to the reigning NL MVP being ejected.

Called out on strikes, Harper immediately began yelling at plate umpire Mike Winters and threw his helmet to the ground before getting tossed.

Rockies second baseman D.J. LeMahieu went 3 for 5 to pass the Nationals' Daniel Murphy for the NL batting lead (see full recap).

Julio Urias' strong start guides Dodgers past Cubs, 3-2
LOS ANGELES -- Julio Urias allowed one run over six innings, Corey Seager set a Dodgers franchise record for a shortstop with his 23rd home run and Los Angeles defeated the Chicago Cubs 3-2 on Saturday to even the series between NL division leaders.

Urias (5-2) pitched better at home than the last time he faced the Cubs. The rookie left-hander made his second career start in Chicago on June 2 and gave up six runs -- five earned -- and eight hits in five innings while serving up three homers.

This time, he allowed six hits and tied a career high with eight strikeouts and two walks. He is 4-0 in six games (four starts) since the All-Star break.

Kenley Jansen pitched a perfect ninth for his 38th save a day after allowing a run on a wild pitch in the ninth in a 6-4, 10-inning loss.

The Cubs' four-game winning streak ended behind the shortest outing of the season from Jason Hammel (13-7) (see full recap).