Thursday, October 2, 2014

What’s New in Town?

In my younger years, my parents always encouraged me to try new things, such as sports and after-school clubs. Although I resisted at first, eventually it became somewhat addicting.  Now, aside from bungee jumping and skydiving, I’ll try almost anything. In the past year, I’ve discovered just a few pretty cool things to do in the Minneapolis area: 

FootGolf. Rumor has it Tiger Woods’ fall from greatness has caused golf to suffer: Courses struggle to fill tee times, and the sport isn’t gaining popularity among younger generations. For a while, glow golf (nighttime golf with an illuminated ball) and snow golf (played with a 6 iron and a tennis ball) was all the rage. However, the newest craze is FootGolf, which is a combination of golf and soccer. Until this past summer, I hadn’t even heard of the sport; now, no doubt in big part to the 2014 World Cup, there are 10 FootGolf courses in the state, and I’ve played three of the eight in the metro area. It’s played on a golf course, where you kick off from a tee box and attempt to get the soccer ball in a 21-inch diameter cup using the fewest number of kicks. It’s a great sport for both children and adults, and it’s a nice little moneymaker for a golf course: Prices run around $1 per hole, per golfer, and soccer balls rent from $3 to $5.    

WhirlyballWhirlyball is probably one of the most unique activities there is. The facility is in Maple Grove, where you play inside a converted movie theater. It contains two enclosed basketball-like courts with an elevated backboard at each end. Players (five per team) drive their WhirlyBugs, aka bumper cars, while simultaneously using scoops to pass a whiffle ball amongst teammates and attempting to score points by tossing the whiffle ball onto the elevated backboard. Essentially, it’s a combination of basketball, lacrosse, hockey, and bumper cars, and it’s incredibly fun. And, with the maximum speed of a WhirlyBug reaching 3-4 mph, there’s little risk of injury. It’s become so popular that courts book up months in advance, and they now offer leagues. It runs about $20 per person. We’re hosting a Whirlyball event next month for some of our entrepreneurial clients so (if you’re smart enough to be one of those) look for an invite soon!

EscapeMSP. The other day, fellow entreVIEW contributing author Dan Tenenbaum came by to tell me about a new activity he had recently tried. When the first words out of his mouth were, “You’re locked in a room for 60 minutes with up to 10 other people…,” I was very skeptical. Why would I voluntarily pay someone to lock me in a room with people I may not know for an entire hour?! But, as he went on to explain, I quickly became intrigued. Escape MSP takes four to 10 people and locks them in a fully themed room with the goals of (1) collecting a hidden asset and (2) escaping the room before the time expires. The current “mission” tasks players with “gathering incriminating evidence from the office of Mr. Dupree, an international businessman, prior to his return.” These entrepreneurs developed a profitable venture: At $30 per person, it’s on the spendy side, but discounted tickets are available if you look in the right places. 

Next up on my list, after EscapeMSP?  Well, I hear there’s a snow golf tournament in Wayzata in the winter….

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