Mini golf has finally come to Miami, but only in the city’s true style by adding its own flavor to the mix. Not the typical toilet-bowl-blue waterfalls and fake stone caverns course, the Back 9 at Upper Eastside Garden is a welcome addition to Miami’s cultural scene, fusing the local arts with mini golf.
“It’s a great hangout place,” said Kim Astacio, 21, a first-time patron. For this FIU student, Back 9 “is a cool alternative to Boomers.” Geared toward the locals, the course is not as far away as the more traditional, tourist-friendly Boomers. The course is situated behind an indie-looking antique shop and bar. It’s a little hard to find at first, especially for those expecting another commercialized mini golf and game center.
Guests may wonder if they have the right address upon entering, but they can’t help but smile at the whirling and colorful golf displays, each created by a different artist.
The establishment is owned and operated by Peter Rozek, who created the fun and creative venue to support local artists. Rozek opened the unique spot earlier this year and arranged a sponsorship with Grand Havana Rum. With paid admission, each guest 21 or older receives a cocktail of rum and punch or rum and coke. The free drinks, tea lights and patio seating create a laid back and friendly atmosphere. Add the artist-designed holes and hidden, garden-like setting and you get a very whimsical and unique Miami mini golf experience.
In addition to the course, the Back 9 also hosts a Janus Films sunset feature every Thursday night on the green and a sells an assortment of plants from Curb Appeal’s Garden Center.
This October marks the addition of a new artist’s golf obstacle. Beatriz Monteavaro’s creation will replace a current hole at the end of the month and also play host to the Halloween celebration, Devil’s Night, a themed party taking place on Oct. 30. To continue the Halloween festivities, “all of [the]films screened this month are scary movies,” Rozek said.
Just remember to print out directions and keep the phone number handy, as you may miss it on your first visit. Also remember that parking is limited to a couple of onsite parking spaces and street parking, so if you are showing up for an event, you might want to get there early. All admission revenue is based on donations. The recommended payments are $5 for a mini golf game and $7 for a feature screening. Complimentary drinks are included as part of donations.
Back 9 should make it on students’ weekend must-see destination lists. It’s the ideal mixture of entertainment and the arts and is an off-the-beaten-path hangout spot for locals. It’s mini golf, Miami flavor.
Carla Tabag may be contacted at email@example.com.