The brand new mini golf course in Oakland is tee-rrific | Information | Pittsburgh

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CP Photo: Kaycee Orwig

Pittsburgh City Paper employee Kimberly Rooney tries the Oakland Open.

As you walk down Forbes Avenue in Oakland, you may notice some new bright yellow lights lining Oakland Avenue. These miniature golf holes make up the Pittsburgh Innovation District’s Oakland Open, which opened to the public on March 11th. The 9-hole ADA-compliant mini golf course is located on Oakland Avenue between Forbes Avenue and Sennott Street and is free and accessible to all.

According to Sean Luther, executive director of InnovatePGH, which runs the Pittsburgh Innovation District, the Pittsburgh Innovation District has been working with the city and the Oakland Business Improvement District for about a month to set up the course. Players will receive a $ 5 discount on purchases of $ 20 or more at local restaurants, cafes, and retailers such as Redhawk Coffee, Maggie & Stella, Prince of India, Stack’d, Fuku Tea, and Fuel & Fuddle.

“We are very excited to officially open the Oakland Open in the heart of the Pittsburgh Innovation District,” said Luther. “This latest neighborhood investment will benefit local businesses and showcase all that Oakland has to offer.”

Granted, most of my golf knowledge begins and ends with Troy Bolton in High School Musical 2. Even so, I took the opportunity to approach the Oakland Open with a largely blank board.

To begin, players must go to the booth at the end of the course on Forbes Avenue, where they will be given a scorecard and pencil, putting club, and golf ball. From there the holes lead players down to Sennott Street and then back to Forbes. Each hole is on a raised box and is painted light yellow, reminding them of Pittsburgh’s famous bridges. Each sign also bears the name of at least one of the sponsors of the Oakland Open.

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Pittsburgh City Paper writer Kimberly Rooney is aiming for par. - CP PHOTO: KAYCEE ORWIG

CP Photo: Kaycee Orwig

Pittsburgh City Paper writer Kimberly Rooney is aiming for par.

The course’s nine holes have different Oakland-style shapes and decorations, starting with a straight shot through a series of letters denoting the neighborhood’s name. While the scorecard and signage were letting me know this was a par-1, it took me seven strokes to get the ball into the hole. Perhaps a seasoned golfer could have hit the ball in a simple, straight line, but my inexperience resulted in many awkward angles between the letters.

In order not to be put off, I imagined the first hole as a warm-up exercise. The second and third holes were easier, with challenges in the form of golf balls decorated with emoji attached to the course for the second and a cut out center section that created an “O” for the third. I even hit and miss points, which was a nice encouragement.

The fourth and sixth holes were perhaps the most straightforward Oakland-themed holes. The fourth hole is inspired by the Panther Hollow Bridge in Schenley Park, which towers over a smaller bridge over Panther Hollow Lake. Players must hit the ball over the smaller bridge, avoiding the sunken, smooth blue sections of the lake. While it took two tries to avoid the “lake” the hole was relatively easy and I managed to get just above average points.

Hole six had a windmill challenge, but with a looming replica of the Cathedral of Learning, although players also have the option of hitting the ball around the structure if they don’t want to risk the ball getting stuck under the cathedral remains. To stay true to the spirit of the game, I tried to punch the ball through the cathedral which resulted in a triple bogey after knocking the ball aside and maneuvering it back forward.

Hole five was deceptively difficult. The straight shot with no obstacles was the hole in which I learned that not all golf courses are laid out at all. There’s a slight bias – I’m not going to spoil which way – which makes aiming a little more difficult. Or much more challenging for an inexperienced player like me. It took me seven more strokes on a par 1 hole.

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A random baby enjoying the Oakland Open - CP PHOTO: KAYCEE ORWIG

CP Photo: Kaycee Orwig

A random baby enjoying the Oakland Open

Holes seven, eight and nine were not Oakland-themed, but each presented a different challenge with zigzags and a loop for hole eight. My triumph came on hole seven and even though I was a par-4, I got a hole-in-one. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to balance my scorecard and I ended the game with 33 lines on what the scorecard said should have been 21.

The cathedral and the Panther Hollow Bridge were the highlights of the course, with minimalist designs that were recognizable and impressively high. While it would have been fun to see more Oakland-themed holes – perhaps from Dippy the Dinosaur or a Pitt-themed panther for inspiration – the class was a fun way to spend 20 minutes.

The Oakland Open is open Thursday through Saturday, 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. Walk-ups are allowed, but online reservations are recommended to maximize social distancing. The course can also be rented outside the opening times for parties and groups. There are competition-style game days with prizes like a free night at the Oakland hotel and gift certificates to nearby restaurants. The course will be open until at least April, depending on demand, to give people time to get their shots at this new Oakland attraction.

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