All golfers know that there are times when everything is working. The tee shots are barreling down the fairway, and putts meander their way through hills and valleys like Dorothy on the Yellow Brick Road, eventually finding the bottom of the cup. Sadly, these times are rare, and we are lucky if they last over an entire round before suddenly disappearing.
The Wicked Witch of each golfer’s game finds its way out of the bag somehow, and subsequently helps find plenty of bad shots, bunkers, and double bogeys. These times are never invited, and consistently fail to leave when expected. It is times like these where 18-hole, 7,000-yard, “giant” golf must become second fiddle to 18-hole, 300-feet, miniature golf. In Door County, the idea of mini-golf rings the name of one extremely popular course, the Red Putter.
The Red Putter, alternately referred to as the “Rutter,” is found in the village of Ephraim. If you are not carefully examining each side of Highway 42, this diamond in the rough type of course becomes more of a needle in the haystack to locate. Once on the grounds, it is easy it understand how the Red Putter and mini golf can cure any regrets brought on by a full golf swing; I’ve been seeing it all summer.
Though my travels rarely take me north of Egg Harbor, I have completed many rounds at the Red Putter this summer. I have arrived with frustration from other mini-golf courses in the county, only to be happily greeted by the owner Bob, and a Free Game ticket.
My recent rounds have covered the spectrum, from a Door County date night to intense gambling each hole. Each time the Rutter has done a fabulous job.
Between small boulders, a menacing bear, and the larger-than-life badger, there is a hole for every delight at the Red Putter. But when Bob hands you a scorecard, only one detail of each hole becomes important: par.
The course has a par of 42, and any tally less than that earns the golfer a certificate and “Pro” status. It also secures them a spot in the highly sought after Red Putter Pro Tournament, held every August. While every one of my scores has found its way north of par, my competitive character and Bob’s encouragement keep me coming back for more.
While the fringe may not roll as true as the greens on a real course, the concrete borders make for miraculous bank shots that you won’t find at any country club. With the course record set at 31, and the (seemingly) elusive pro status looming, there is plenty to shoot for, literally. Once the sand traps, rough, and fescue become too much to handle at your home course, check out Bob’s home at the Red Putter. He will be more than happy to see you.
For more insight on the Red Putter, pick up the latest edition of Door County Living and read Jacinda Duffin’s article, “More Than Good, Clean Vacation Fun.”