Miniature Bridges at Miniature Golf Courses
By Brian Brenner, PE
Brian Brenner, P.E., is a Principal Bridge Engineer with Tighe and Bond in Westwood, Massachusetts. He has been a project manager and lead structural engineer for several bridge and transportation projects around New England. He also is a Professor of the Practice at Tufts University, where he teaches structural design classes and works on research for long term performance of bridges. Brian is the author of three volumes of engineering essays published by ASCE Press: “Don’t Throw This Away!,” “Bridginess,” and most recently, “Too Much Information.”
Bridge models have been a big part of miniature golf courses for many years. The miniature bridge models are probably as popular as the miniature dinosaurs. So it is time for a review. Through an unscientific survey (ie a survey which has no science and is pretty much my opinion), here are the top five mini-golf courses that feature bridges. Counting down to #1:
Course Number 5:
City Mini-Golf in Chicago has an elaborate transit truss train bridge, a great putting hole which is also a triumph of alliteration. To score at this hole, you must putt onto and across the deck. In this bridge design, to make room for the golf balls, the trains were moved off their tracks to a location on top of the truss. This is not realistic.
Course Number 4:
In England, the Rochester Bridge Trust owns and operates two highway bridges across the River Medway. The Trust also provides many excellent educational bridge resources, and it sponsors mini golf courses which aim to teach about bridges (and how great is that!):
The courses include putting obstacles which are models of Roman Bridges, the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge at Dartford, and other bridges.
Course Number 3:
The Golden Gate Bridge is a popular hole at many courses, and this one is really impressive. It is a human-sized model of the bridge, and it is detailed to look like an actual suspension bridge, not a bridge with pretend cables.
This model appeared at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco in 2016.
Course Number 2:
A course in Durham, NC has holes all designed by local community members. The best one features a bridge that unfortunately is being hit by a truck. It is a model bridge and a model truck.
And the top mini-golf course with bridges is:
Course Number 1:
Well, this may be a little biased. My office has sponsored a charity event in which everyone designed and constructed a mini-golf hole. That evening, the office was turned into a full course. The best hole was a model of the Zakim Bridge.
The proceeds have gone to support a local eastern Massachusetts food bank.