Minnesotans don’t play around when it comes to putt-putt. Big Stone Mini Golf in Minnetrista, about 10 minutes from Lake Minnetonka, was founded by Bruce Stillman, a renowned sculptor who has sold artworks to film director Robert Altman, Empress Farah Pahlavi of Iran, and respected gastroenterologist Dr. Hugh Butt.
Stillman moved to the area in 1991 with plans to turn a one-time dairy farm into an ever-evolving showcase of environmental art. Hundreds of thousands of dollars later, he lives in a farmhouse on the 17-acre property and has transformed the surrounding land into an outdoor sculpture gallery and miniature golf course. Funnily enough, one of his biggest influences was Overboard — one of our favorite ‘80s movies. (Remember how Dean Proffitt’s big dream was to open a Seven Wonders of the World golf course? YUP.)
Stillman’s own mini golf dream has been a work in progress since 2003. He’s up to 14 holes (18 is average), but has slowed his roll in recent years — having added just one new hole since 2012. The par 56 course kicks off with Dead Tree Forest, a par 5 situation that can take up to 15 swings for first-timers. (Or maybe we’re just that bad?) Other standout holes are located inside the overturned hull of a ship and a windmill fashioned around one of Stillman’s playful kinetic sculptures.
Visitors can easily spend the afternoon here. In addition to golfing, we wandered the sprawling sculpture garden, fed Stillman’s goats and visiting with his horses and Highland cattle, and played a life-size game of chess. Pack a picnic lunch or grab takeout from The Grocer’s Table in Wayzata en route; the estate is dotted with picnic tables, Adirondack chairs, and grassy pastures where you can spread out a blanket.
Big Stone is open daily from 10:30 a.m. until sunset. Admission is $10 for kids 8 and under and $12 for everybody else. Other than requiring cash or checks (no credit cards accepted), Big Stone is mindful of Covid-19: Groups are limited to 10 or fewer people; masks are mandatory; there is hand sanitizer at every turn; and clubs and balls are disinfected after each use. ⛳️
Big Stone Mini Golf
7110 County Rd. 110 Ext. W, Minnetrista, MN; 952-472-9292.