Course: Mt. Atlanticus – Minotaur Goff
Location: 707 Highway 17 North, Myrtle Beach, SC 29577
Price: $10 for 18 holes.
Rating: The best mini golf course in America.
Review: That’s right. Mount. Friggin. Atlanticus. The best mini golf course in America. The Cinderella story no one saw coming. Probably because it was never really a Cinderella story in the first place. Since 1998, Mount Atlanticus has stood as the undisputed crown jewel of Myrtle Beach – the mini golf capital of the world. It even calls itself the “Best Miniature Golf Course in America” (although, to be fair, so did over half of the other courses I visited this summer, so maybe that’s not that compelling of an argument). Ultimately, throughout my entire 78-day-long adventure, as I played mini golf all across the nation, only one course truly towered (both physically and figuratively) above the rest.
And sure, it wasn’t the most beautiful course I visited on this trip. And it wasn’t the most jaw-dropping one either. It wasn’t the most professional or the most exclusive venue in the nation. Nor was it the most exuberant, the most innovative, the most extreme, authentic, inaccessible, unexpected, or all-around fun mini golf course either. Hell, it wasn’t even my personal favorite.
On all of these individual metrics, Mount Atlanticus came in at least second or third place. But, as a complete package, Mount Atlanticus had them all. It impressively combined and expressed these many disparate, conflicting elements – elements that, on their own, would be more than enough to create a fantastic mini golf experience. Atlanticus had the refined, stately grandeur of an albino peacock; the spirited ingenuity of a young Thomas Edison in his prime; the kitschy zaniness of a classically iconic American roadside distraction.
And who could forget sunglass-Jesus?
But seriously, this place was unreal. Towering over five stories in height, with a price tag of over three million dollars, Mount Atlanticus offered an unbeatable view of Myrtle Beach. It had some of the most clever, expansive holes I’ve ever seen, while still, undeniably, remaining a “true” mini golf course (not just an interactive art exhibit). It was massive. It was manic. It was majestic. It was madness. It even had its own parking garage. And, at the end the round, if a golfer was fortunate enough to sink the course’s 19th hole, they’d receive a free lifetime pass allowing them to golf at Mount Atlanticus Whenever. They. Wanted. (and, by the way, if I don’t get one of those lifetime passes after selecting Mount Atlanticus as the best mini golf course in the nation, I will be livid).
Ladies and gentlemen. Finally, after two and a half months on the road, sleeping in my car, driving to Alaska, playing mini golf everywhere from the corn fields of Iowa to the schooners of Maine, it is my great privilege (my great honor) to name Mount Atlanticus the best miniature golf course in America.
It has been a wild ride.
Well… I guess that’s it. I don’t really have anything else to say. Every word I write gets closer and closer to being my last. And, for all intents and purposes, this guide is already over. I did what I set out to do. It’s been a fifth of a year; 1/400th of my life. But I can finally sleep easy knowing that I have definitively found the best mini golf course in the nation. And I hope you can all rest a little easier too. Or, if that’s too impossible of a request, I at least hope that you enjoyed this silly little guide. After all, that’s what this whole trip was all about: making sure that you never had to go to a subpar par-43 ever again. And now you won’t. Ever. Again. So grab a putter. Grab a purple golf ball. Grab a friend. And make your way down to one of the nation’s finest putt putt palaces. It isn’t that far away (you definitely won’t have to drive for any longer than a few months). And it’s a pretty great way to kill an hour or two.
As for me, after spending two and a half months sitting motionless in a car for twelve hours a day, eating nothing but fast food from McDonald’s and Taco Bell, I really need to get in shape…
The adventure continues.
I would be remiss if I did not thank all of the many, wonderful people who turned this crazy fever dream of a summer into a reality. In a vaguely chronological order, I desperately need to extend my deepest, most sincere thanks to the following people:
Kyle (*), Sam G. (*#), Connor (*#), Maddy (*#), Seamus (*), George (*#), Paddy (*), Eric (*), Elise/Charlie/Michael B. (#), Max (*), Mia (*), tall Max (*), Chris (#), Justin (*), Phil (*), Molly (*), Andrew C. (*), Olivia (*#), David (*), Colleen (*), Clare (*), Sam K. (*), Morgan (*), Arianna (*), Emmy (*), Robbie/Julie/Michael C. (#), Julia/Craig (#), Joe (#), Jake (*), Adam (**#), Luke (**#AK), Byron (*#), Andrew N. (*), Steven (*), Carey (*#), Evan (*#), the entire Giancana family (*#), obviously my parents/sister (# for 23 years), Mindy and the entire Imgur community, Alex and Lonely Planet, Caroline and the Daily Mail, Nelson and 9News Denver, the AV Club, Uproxx, The Chive, Golf Digest, and all the other random places that published articles about my journey over the last few months.
But most importantly, I need to thank you. That’s right, you! (The reader!) Even if you just started reading this blog a few days ago, or if you’ve been following my journey from the very beginning. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. For the past few months, I have been truly humbled and honored by the amount of support this cosmically insignificant blog about mini golf has received. If it wasn’t for your many encouraging comments and emails, I probably would have given up on this road trip after I visited Vermont. Because, all things considered, you didn’t have to visit this site in the first place. And you definitely didn’t have to keep coming back day after day: reading my reviews and following my journey. But you did. And I’m too emotionally stunted to express the full extent of my gratitude – and how much you’ve forced me to improve as a golfer, as a writer, and as a person.
So instead I’ll just say thanks and leave it at that.
And the next time I do a fifty-state tour of the United States, make sure to send me an email when I’m in your neck of the woods. I’d love to play a quick 18-holes of good, old-fashioned all-American mini golf with you.
I know a pretty good place nearby.
(*) means they played a mini golf course with me.
(**) means they played TWO mini golf courses with me.
(#) means they gave me a bed to sleep in.
(AK) means they drove to Alaska with me.