Opinions and Rants #25: Putt Putt Golf and Why Nostalgia Is a Distinguished Pursuit

I was perusing through some old Putt Putt golf magazines from the 60s through the 80s, and some deep thoughts came over me. Why am I doing this? Why would a Putt Putt Golf magazine from 1972 be interesting? I don’t even like Putt Putt golf. Is there something wrong with me?

The more I thought about it, the more I realized you can learn a lot about the world you live in from a nostalgic item as mundane and odd as a Putt Putt golf magazine. Let me explain.

Nostalgia for nostalgia’s sake has its place: it can be an interesting hobby, or just make you feel good reminiscing. A blog devoted to this kind of nostalgia sounds something like this: “Hey, remember the Bit-o-Honey commercials?” or “Hey, remember when Grady made marijuana brownies on Sanford & Son?”…. they’re fun, but not necessarily edifying. One of the wisest things ever said applies here: “The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.” In other words, a post reminiscing about miniature golf may not teach you a damn thing, but it has other rewards.

But the biggest value in nostalgia is the world view it brings. Let me ask you a question: who do you think has a better grasp of the Middle Ages – an academic who knows all the names of the royalty and the dates and stats for every battle, or the amateur hobbyist who knows the songs, the fashion and the cultural mindset? If transported back in time, I think the academic would find the Middle Ages a very foreign place, but the amateur would feel right at home.

This is a long way of saying that nostalgia is more than dry facts; it’s mentally placing yourself in another time – which in turn gives you a greater perspective. Those who don’t ever look back are like rats, just living in the here and now. They have no ability to see why things are the way they are, because they can’t trace back the chain of causes. Thus, they have no ability to form opinions on issues, and must either rely on gut reactions or the often equally poor judgment of others.

So, hold your head up high as you take a look at some images from Putt Putt golf magazines from yesteryear. Take in how they dressed, analyze their surroundings, speculate on why Putt Putt was so popular and why its popularity faded, and ponder the gender issues of the day that put pretty ladies posing for readers in something as sexually benign as a Putt Putt golf magazine..... or just sit back and enjoy!

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  1. Danny Noonan from Caddyshack, ahoy!

  2. Never played it. I remember a miniature golf place popping up near me around 81-82 and it lasted maybe a year before going under. Then it just sat there for years with the all the pieces like the windmill and others just rotting from the weather. I think the National Guard finally took over the builiding and finally got rid of the course and all it's pieces.

  3. Back in the day, miniature golf was a cheap date. But I don't think any of the courses we went to were Putt Putts. When we moved to Texas in 1995, there was a Putt Putt (still is I guess) in the next town where we had several birthday parties for the kids. Those were a pretty good deal and they had more than miniature golf. This place had video games, skeet-ball and even laser tag.

  4. Whoa! I think I just got a pep talk encouraging me to continue with my pirate blog from your post on Putt Putt golf. Gilligan, you rock pretty hard.

  5. Some time ago, near my home, there was a "Family Fun Center" that was open until 3 am on weekends and in the summer.

    It had miniature golf, boat rides and an assortment of carnival rides.

    As I was young, most of my jobs were in the evening and sometimes, as a casual date, guys would ask me to go to the center after work.

    While not a golf fan, these were great dates as they were low pressure, you had an activity to move th night along, and you could talk and learn about each other. As they were after work I had my car so I controlled how the night went.

    When ever I see a miniature golf course I remember those times and the dates I had with great fondness. I am afraid my daughter will never know such a social luxury.

  6. Wow, min golf is ok, but a whole magazine devoted to it? I am always amazed at the niche markets.