Day Trippin’: El Golfito aka Golfland!

I mean really, who has money to go anywhere these days? The fake ass economists keep talking up the fact that stocks rich people own are doing slightly better, like it has any bearing on our miserable lives. Woohoo, GM turned a profit after they were showered with tax dollars! Fucking Yay! The surge of employment due to the temporary I’ll-take-anything-now Census jobs  is suddenly a harbinger of good times ahead! Reading the news is inspiring.

Yet at my job there’s talk that they will close up shop, or at least get rid of some of the expendables. (And we are all expendable.) It’s all worries and rumors about the impending doom. Better start saving my nickels. And so my weekends are reduced to finding amusing things to do a bit closer to home, things that will keep me distracted from the precarious nature of our current means of survival. Hmm, now I understand why my parents brought me to this place all those years ago.

I present to you this cheap distraction, an institution that doubles as an old friend: Golfland!

If you drive on the Pomona Fwy, you’ll have seen it. It’s in S. El Monte. They have bush elephants out in front.

Leave your worries behind, Family Entertainment awaits!

I remember going to El Golfito when I was a kid only to play arcade games, which were much more affordable than the pricey rounds of fake golf. But now I have a few extra dollars, so a round of fake golf on me! Oh, what’s this? 2 for 1 special on Weekend mornings for the next few months? Okay, I will take that deal!

$7 later, we have our dirty colored balls and some whacking clubs for two. Did you know that hitting a ball in golf is called putting? But not like in the sense of “I want to put this ball in that hole”? English is weird.

Back in their heyday, I think they used to be part of a larger Golfland network. But maybe they didn’t pay the franchise fee and got the boot, cuz they’re not listed on the website. Instead they got their own site going over at seemingly back in 2005. But they still have the dragon-ish theme going.

Batter up! I mean putter up!

So basically you try and put some ball into a hole, with increasing levels of difficulty. But Golfland throws in some semi-interesting structures to keep things semi-fun. How easy is it?

Some people can’t seem to do it at all! But they’re just lame. Oh yeah, the blue ball had gotten stuck inside. Notice the soothing sounds of water and the river of automobiles in the background. Serene!

Uh, the putting greens are also blue, and not in the best shape. Its a mix and match style park.

Over in a corner outside the park, some woman trying to scrape together a living work on cleaning flowers and arranging them to sell as bouquets. No doubt on the freeway off-ramp. And here I am like the bourgeoisie playing a round of golf. What next, a fox hunt?

The double dip challenge. Try not to get the ball stuck on a carpet crack.

They offer you a scorecard, in case you want to know who “wins”. But unless you waste time practicing the worlds second most boring sport (baseball being #1) then you’ll be picking up the ball all day long. Best just to whack it around and later figure out who lost less.

The half-finished bullseye challenge. I made it in the second ring, in case you care.

A sign teaching you how to behave.

I am a player.

The exciting loopty loop! Yeah, it was kind of exciting.

I saw a family clearly violating this rule. They weren’t asked to leave.

Before we knew it, our 18 holes were up. What the? But there’s all those other contraptions we haven’t seen? Oh, there’s a few courses! I guess you are supposed to pick one. Careful with this last hole…

… if you make it your ball goes away into some secret tube network never to be seen again. Instead, skip this hole, pick it up and head to another course. Yer supposed to pay for each course but let’s go crazy rebellious and pretend we did.

You can now try your aim at a Mission style  model.

There’s a castle off in the distance, I didn’t check it out.

The dragon cave.

The fancy windmill on top of another windmill. I’m pretty sure those blades used to rotate to block the shot.

Did you know there’s also nature at this man made habitat? Look at the cute lizard putting around.

Who needs to go to the beach to enjoy the water? It’s an oasis in the suburban desert!

Don’t even think about jumping in the pool with your cutoff shorts. They will come get you. Oops.

Look at the cute country time store! They sell coffee, steak, pizza, soda, jeans, shoes, even milk! It’s almost as good as the Lincoln Heights Mini-Mall!

The Golfland grounds.

The lil’ Pagoda.

Incredibly, even though golf is super boring, it was kinda mildly fun running around chasing errant balls. But it could’ve been a whole lot more fun if I’d brought some chelas, but that’s a no-no. Boo! Hiss!

And when you’re tired of all that communing with nature, head indoors to the arcade. This is some sort of virtual horse racing game.

The benefits of going early: no lines! Damn, even a bowling game.

And my favorite, air hockey. I hit puck. I block puck. I no block puck. Puck go in. I lose.

Or you can play against the Governor and his plan to terminate health clinics. Since he’s a fucking robot he sees no need for maintenance of human bodies. I made sure to tilt this fool.

And some old timey shooting-at-shit-with-a-rifle game. Just like grandpappy used to do.

Even the bathroom has history: look at the generations of paint coat!

And good old fashioned faucets too! Not like those modern ones where you’re waving your hands around like an ass just to get the thing to work. It’s like a world where the robots have won. Tirade against the automatons coming soon!

All this excitement can be yours, at a bargain rate! Thanks to Golfland, Where The Fun Shines Bright!

Golfland South El Monte
1181 N. Durfee Ave.
S. El Monte, CA 91733

9 thoughts on “Day Trippin’: El Golfito aka Golfland!

  1. “Golf is a good walk spoiled.” Mark Twain

    I have to say that prior to playing golf I had this perception that ONLY rich people played golf. This belief is false. I will say that rich people play golf at really nice courses or country clubs where a round of 18 holes could cost you anywhere between $50 to $400.

    Thank goodness for municiple golf courses. They are alot cheaper in comparison to private golf courses. The Los Feliz Golf next to Griffith park cost $5.50 per person on the weekdays and $7 on weekends. Golf is only stressfull at first when you are unable to hit the ball properly or if you are very competative. After you get the hand of hitting the ball onto the target it becames very enjoyable.

    Golf if borring, if you do not know the rules and are unable to follow the game or tournament.

    El Chavo, happy you had fun playing mini golf. More people should try golf. It is very cheap to start.
    I personally went to the Goodwill in Lincoln Heights. Bought- a pitching wedge, three irons (9,8,7) and two woods (5, 3), a putter and golf bag for $14. I have upgraded since then, but only once I was committed to the sport.

    Now, I do understand that one needs to have a job to be able to buy the equipment and pay for the rounds. But, with an old piece of rug (so as not to damage the grass with divot marks,) a bucket(located 40 yards away) and plastick cheap golf balls, you could set up at Hollenbeck Park and try to hit the ball closest to the bucket.

    What do Eastsiders think about a golf driving range in Boyle Heights or a short 9 hole course?

  2. Wow.. someone actually left a comment about actual golf.

    I’m very disappointed about this review. In no point did you point out the McDonalds located just a few feet from the entrance nor did it mention the roar and exhaust of the freeway you can enjoy while partaking your miniature golf.

    Oh well. The arcade located inside is actually decent or was a decade ago.

    For real golf take a drive west to the Montebello Golf Course. It’s rarely crowded and is actually decent. I just can’t guarantee your car to still be there after the front 9.

    not al gore

  3. I like Montebello. I’ve actually considered moving there, and still might. Very diverse population, lot of nice neighborhoods and relatively safe. As far as the safety of the golf parking lot I couldn’t care less because I don’t golf. Montebello is also an increasingly politically active community, protesting anti immigration policies and police brutality. Good people, good community.

  4. i just realized that it has been waaay too long since i’ve visited golfland. i just always seem to have super high hopes, only to be bitterly disappointed on my way out. still, i don’t think i’ve been there since reaching legal drinking age, and i’ve since acquired the wisdom to know that sometimes, in order to truly appreciate the full awesomeness that is a place like golfland — without getting thoroughly depressed over its reflection as a microcosm of all things good that have been severly neglected and nearly destroyed — in order to truly enjoy such a beautiful, damaged little gem, a small bottle of booze hidden in the bag is definitely in order. i’m there next week.

    also thanks to this post, i now have a strange desire to pummel gov. arnie with fistfuls of pinballs. thanks a lot. just one more pipe dream for the books…

  5. al gore,
    I am deeply offended because I did mention said freeway:
    “Notice the soothing sounds of water and the river of automobiles in the background. Serene!”

    I demand a retraction!

  6. “I’m pretty sure those blades used to rotate to block the shot.”

    Uh, that’s from a Simpsons episode, your real life and imagination are beginning to merge ala Fight Club. Haha!

  7. Hey great post man- made even better by the pictures and the commentary.

    I don’t like golf- maybe when i make my $50 million bucks by the syndication of my sitcom like George Lopez- then if and only then will i get into golf.

    And im a Montebello resident – representing here!!!

    As a kid my dad would take my brother and i to the Golf and Stuff over in Downey and i was more excited about the video games.

    Ive always liked activities that involved fast and speed- so i always was more into the skateboarding and rollerblading and going on our bikes to the river bed over by Grant Rae Park off of Beverly Blvd in Montebello (this was in the safe 1990s before TMZ lol)

    I too was worried about the economy and shit but now im just saying- “F-it, whats gonna happen is gonna happen- i rather have love than money.
    So my advice to you El Chavo- you need to get laid- have la chilindrina or la popis put out lol

    – me im in a love and romance high right now, dont burst my bubble 🙂

  8. Well it’s a few weeks shy of 8 years since this article was posted and Golfland is now long gone. It must have closed down shortly after this because I feel like it was around this time that I had it had been abandoned and started seeing it on YouTube being used as a skate park.
    I was looking for some pictures of the exterior. My Google search lead me here and while there are some good pictures, none of these are exactly what I was hoping to find.

    However the does bring back some vivid memories. I went to the high school next door in the early nineties. This and the McDonald’s was a popular hangout for us. I remember that in those days smoking was allowed inside of both places. I clearly remember when Mortal Kombat had just come out and was all the rage. I was into it but not as much as I was into street fighter
    Super Street Fighter II in particular. I remember the burn marks where the smokers used to leave their cigarettes to rest next to the start buttons. The quarters people would leave against the glass at the bottom of the screen signaling that they were next. The thing I most remember is the day a huge group of cholos gathered in the parking lot after school looking menacing. They didn’t go to our high school but were called to action by a some cholos from our high school who had gotten into a confrontation with some supposed Asian gangsters at lunch time. I guess they were ready to intercept these kids on their way home from school. Thankfully whoever they were waiting for never showed up and they eventually dispersed.
    Life went on and eventually Golfland was replaced by overpriced townhomes. Even the original McDonald’s has been torn down and rebuilt into a new version. All traces of my high school hangouts have been obliterated.

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