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An urban putt-putt golf course in Detroit? It’s so crazy creative it just might work

Urban putt putt

Three words to brighten your Friday: Urban Putt Putt. So prepare your clubs because this thing is going live with its first Fall Classic in just a couple weeks.

Some more choice words: Art shows. Architectural installations. “Salvaged Landscape.” Oh, and there will be a band, a backyard fire pit and the Tigers baseball game on a TV somewhere. All you need to do is bring yourself, a friend, a donation (just my suggestion) and your vision for Detroit’s future to The Imagination Station Saturday, Oct. 27, from 5 p.m. until everyone’s fingertips are numb.

It’s not your average Saturday, I’ll grant you that. But nothing is really “normal” in Detroit these days, is it? Besides the baseball thing, we’ve got flavor like never before. Good media write-ups, lots of new businesses (looking at you, Emerald!) and powerful friends (thanks, Knight Foundation!).

But I digress. Let’s talk about the important stuff first. The lead-off even is at 5 p.m. with an art show featuring Flaco Shalom’s “Forever Neverland,” a series of paintings that you can see when you visit Righty (more on that later). The architectural installation, “Empty Pavilion,” a work by a team of University of Michigan architects, will be in the open field and ready for you about 6 p.m.  And Catie Newell’s “Salvaged Landscape” will be back from its Art Prize tour in Grand Rapids (Newell created the amazing work by using burned boards from “Lefty.”)

That same field, which is a key part of The Imagination Station’s campus, will feature the Urban Putt-Putt course. Imagination Station Board Member Will Rex told me this week that this amazing idea of combining mini golf amid urban decay will have its opening day on Nov. 5. So the work has been fast and furious to get a little more golf in the city.

The more I learn about this project, the more I like it. Rex said the forms have been largely built, so the Lawrence Tech students that are building the course (and write and market its blog site here) will be on hand to show off their work. They can talk about the various holes that will be there, how the greens will slope and the sand traps of it all.

Zatkoff

Rex said the project is headed by Prof. Steve Coy and his students. The goal, Rex said, is “to create functional sculpture. Reuse and recycle. It’s turning blight into something functional.”

Who is this professor and his crew? It’s a bunch of Graphic Design and Architecture majors. They like “good design” in both 2D and 3D “which both equally contribute to creating an interesting space that embraces what Detroit has to offer,” according to their web site.

The mission? To quote, “Urban putt-putt supports the rebirth of Detroit, embraces urban culture and provides a shared space to play by revitalizing a vacant lot with sculpture and recycled materials for the interaction and betterment of the community.”

As way of background, that is what The Imagination Station is all about. This non-profit organization is cleaning up Righty and Lefty – two largely destroyed historic Detroit houses at 2230 and 2236 14th Street. The houses on Roosevelt Park face the looming yet lovely Michigan Central Station right there in Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood.

Over time, the Station’s campus will include a media center, living quarters for “two technologists in residence,” a public art exhibition space and several large outdoor spaces (thanks to several vacant lots near the houses) that will be used for music, food and other social events.

Events just like the one on Saturday. See how everything comes full circle? Nice.  Stay tuned to this blog space to learn more about the putt putt – I plan on being our long-term golfing reporter for the Hub as long as they don’t realize I don’t know a lick about the sport.

And as the putt-putt blog states, “Creativity and talent alone is not enough to build a miniature golf course Detroit deserves.” So donate already (you all gave them RoboCop; you can do this for me at least). If you are interested, there are several donation packages. For $100, you get your name on a sponsor plaque, a putter, six golf balls and 15 letter-pressed scorecards. Up it to $250, and you get a sponsor sign on a hole as well. Go as far as $500, and you get a web advertisement as well. (Nice part deux!)

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4 comments on “An urban putt-putt golf course in Detroit? It’s so crazy creative it just might work

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