After his hometown turned down his idea of a public course, Minnesota artist Bruce Stillman created a one-of-a-kind artist mini golf experience in his “front yard.” Between 2003 and 2012, Stillman built Big Stone, a 14-hole course on the Minnetrista property a little over 30 minutes west of Minneapolis near Lake Minnetonka.
A mix of stone, metal, turf and other semi-organic materials form a course that looks nothing like the tourist town and seaside mini golf courses you might be familiar with. The lines of sculpture park and miniature golf course are blurred throughout Big Stone. And not all of the obstacles stay still—any point, your game may be briefly interrupted by chickens roaming the course.
The putting structures themselves include opportunities to play between eight-foot-tall logs, launch your ball over water using a stone ramp, and watch the ball slowly make its way through a carved stone stream to complete your round.
The larger 17-acre piece of property is home to many of Stillman’s sculptures and other pieces of art that he acquired for the property. While exploring the grounds, you might find an oversized donut, a pig flying an airplane, a dog made out of spare tie parts, and a wide range of well-crafted creatures. New works are regularly added.
Know Before You Go
The sculpture garden is free and open to the public during normal hours. Neither the course nor sculpture park are wheelchair/ADA friendly. Admission is $12.00-Adults, $10.00-Kids (8 and under). Cash or checks only, no credit cards, and no ATM on site. They typically close for the season on October 1st, double-check they are open if you go after that date.
Ticket sales help support Big Stone Advancing Arts, a nonprofit company that serves the local art community.