MINNETRISTA, Minn. (WCCO) — It’s a hole-in-one that’s one-of-a-kind.

A golf course that’s not as it seems. In this week’s Finding Minnesota, John Lauritsen takes us to Big Stone Mini Golf for a “round” of surprises.

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Mini golf courses are notoriously bizarre. But in Minnetrista, the peculiar, little putting greens are neighbors to goats, chickens and even a few man-made animals.

“It does work,” Bruce Stillman said. “It’s hard to explain it because you have to experience it.”

When Stillman bought this 17-acre site, it was a hay field. As a lifelong artist he envisioned a sculpture garden, so he grew one. Much of the art is made out of second-chance materials, including a rhinoceros made out of repurposed Harley Davidson mufflers.

There’s even an artist in residence from Russia who makes sculptures out of old tires.

“Here’s our ‘Tire-annosauraus Rex,'” Stillman said.

The dinosaur shares its territory with Bigfoot, a wooly mammoth and even a fish monster. And just feet away, golfers try to play through their own odd obstacles.

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(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

“Going through the turned-over boat over there was a lot of fun. That was my favorite part,” said Lila Hill, a 10-year-old mini-golfer.

“Kind of looks like a church or a cathedral, and we call it ‘Holy Ship,'” Stillman said.

It’s an upside-down steel ship with holes cut in it.

Here, it’s really the golf ball that goes on a journey. One of the holes is a lazy river. On another, you have to try and jump the ball over a stream and bounce it off a rock. At least there’s no sand trap.

(credit: CBS)

“I got a hole-in-one,” said Lane, a 4-year-old first-timer. “I hit it and then it just flew in.”

“It’s a fun experience and there’s a lot of Minnesota artists and, you know, Minnesota pride. You get to see mostly local work,” said Bruce. “People just enjoy themselves here and that’s the important part.”

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There are about 50 sculptures at Big Stone Mini Golf. For more information on how much it costs to play and when they are open, click here.

John Lauritsen