By Amy Orndorff
Jan. 21, 2011
It might take a minute or two for your eyes to adjust after you walk into Monster Mini Golf near Columbia, but it's totally worth it once they do. Black lights make everything - from the balls to the score cards to the course - glow brightly in the dark.
Monster Mini Golf, which opened in November, gives a macabre motif to one of summer's greatest treats. While the black lights illuminate the 18-hole course, a windmill rotates axes instead of brightly colored sails, and miniature coffins create hazards.
Owners Marci Russell and her brother-in-law Dan Russell have gone to great lengths to make sure the first Monster Mini Golf course in Maryland (there are franchises in 13 states) proudly represents the area's darker side.
A weary Edgar Allan Poe hunches over a desk as a fierce raven knocks at his door. Blue crabs creep across the walls. And near the end of the windy course, a mostly dead Babe Ruth calls his shot.
Even on a recent midweek evening, the course was busy with golfers of all ages, including Paul Gudenius, who was celebrating his 16th birthday with a large group of friends.
"My mom was like, 'Do you want to do mini golf?' and I was like, 'Heck, yeah,' " Paul said.
Monster Mini Golf has developed quite a following with parents, among them Gudenius's mother, Kelly, who wanted to find something for her son's friends, who she said have "done everything else."
The course appeals to a younger crowd, too. The Russells, who wanted to make sure it wasn't too scary, included a haunted-house-themed room for birthday parties and an area with arcade games. The music is family friendly: You're just as likely to hear the Killers as you are the Beatles.
You might have so much fun you won't even miss the sun.