Teeing Up

By Rachel White '13

Last summer Carleton studio art professors Stephen Mohring and David Lefkowitz collaborated on a hole for a miniature golf course developed by the Walker Art Center, which also partnered with Minnesota artists, designers, architects, and engineers on mini golf courses in 2004 and 2008. This year’s version celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, where two popular, playable courses—featuring unique elements like a scale model of a French chateau, mazes, and gopher holes—were located from May through September.

Mohring and Lefkowitz’s winning proposal, titled 18 Holes in One, was selected in January from an open call for entries, and the two worked for several months to design and build their approximately 17' x 14' creation. Lefkowitz came up with the original idea: to combine all 18 greens of the legendary course at Augusta National Golf Club. He and Mohring analyzed satellite images and maps of Augusta, stacked the outline of each green on top of one another, built a small test model, and pushed a marble around it to make sure their contours were playable.

The duo wanted to highlight miniature golf’s scale incongruity, where the player feels both tiny and “like a giant walking on the earth,” says Mohring. The teeing surface led to a tiny fairway that opened into the 18-hole green. “We wanted to provide too many possible options, thus turning a straightforward activity into an absurd, relatively pointless one,” adds Lefkowitz.

How’d they do on their own hole? “After some practice, both of us managed a few holes in one,” says Mohring. “Although some players called it the hardest hole in the course, neither of us feels that way. Many players said they liked ours best—then again, they were talking to us.”

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