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Fundraiser Putt-Putts Students Through School

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Miniature golf has a history that goes well beyond your friendly suburban putt-putt course. Though it began in Scotland (of course, the birthplace of golf) as a way for ladies to refrain from "improperly" lifting clubs above their shoulders, the pastime and perennial cheap-date activity flourished in 20th-century United States. At first, course designs were essentially shrunken versions of the full-size greens, with ponds and sand traps between holes. Eventually, things got zanier, with the windmills, castles and ramps that typified the courses that popped up throughout the country.

For an upcoming fundraiser, the Herron School of Art and Design at IUPUI has taken those classic mini-golf blueprints  to a new, artful level, using the full range of creative media at the school. The Herron Open, taking place June 7th from 6 to 9 p.m., combines the recreational mainstay with the world of art to create a fun and unique environment to help students pay for their degrees.

The different departments' take on a miniature golf hole demonstrates the variety of techniques taught at Herron.  - KENNETH SPANGLER
  • Kenneth Spangler
  • The different departments' take on a miniature golf hole demonstrates the variety of techniques taught at Herron.

During the event, Eskenazi Hall will be transformed into a unique miniature golf course. Each department in the school has designed a hole that attendees will play through at the event.

"The printmakers did a lot of prints and made pinwheels out of them. They have them all over the hole. They have some funky grandma-looking thing where you shoot the ball through her mouth," says Lauren Fuchs, a Herron senior studying art education. "The furniture design department has you hitting the ball through a panel that goes in and out of a desk drawer. There are bar stools everywhere and a lot of hills and valleys throughout the hole. They have done a lot of building."

 The art education hole, which Fuchs worked on, has fewer frills.

"We wanted to focus on our program through the donors," she says.

All of the money raised from the Herron Open goes to scholarships that are awarded to students at the end of the academic year.

"This May, Herron gave more than $250,000 in scholarships to students," says Glennda McGann, the assistant dean for development and external affairs at the school. "For as much as we were able to give, there is still a huge need. Most of our students are working and juggling school, so every bit we can raise is really important."

The event kicks off with a VIP reception with honorary chairs Pete and Alice Dye. Pete Dye is a legend of golf course design, and Alice grew up in Indianapolis. They're fitting chairs for an event that should appeal to both Herron supporters and sports fans who would disagree with Mark's Twain's claim that "golf is a good walk spoiled."

Tickets available are for people who want to play and those who want to just be a spectator.
"You can get in for $35 if you just want to drink and gawk, or you can get individual tickets for $75 which gives you a round of golf, food and one drink," McGann explains. "I think personally, because I am exceedingly uncoordinated, it would be better to stand and laugh and point, than it would be to play myself."

For more information, you can visit the Herron Open event page here.

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