photo by Mikko Lemola
photo by Mikko Lemola

Par Excellence Redux: The Back 9

October 13 – January 2, 2022

Book a Tee Time

Tickets are now available for the second part of the course, which opens October 13th. Book a Tee Time for The Back 9 today. Mini golf includes admission. It’s a hole lot of fun!

New designs, new challenges, and dynamic seasonal events await visitors of The Back 9. The second half of the exhibit follows this summer’s Front 9 of the artist-designed miniature golf course.

Details on our COVID-19 safety precautions can be found here.

As highlighted by The Chicago Tribune, Chicago Parent, The Daily Herald, and others (see bottom of webpage for full press), this fully playable course by local and national artists is a reimagining of the wildly popular 1988 exhibition Par Excellence at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. A public call for proposals for area artists, designers, and architects attracted diverse artists who designed holes of varying difficulty, including the museum’s Teen Art Council. The custom-built playable miniature golf course is split into two exhibits: The Front 9 (Summer) and The Back 9 (Fall). Designed to use the museum’s galleries with COVID protocols, the two 9-hole courses are comprised of a surprisingly varied collection of themes and forms, promising an unusual twist on a familiar pastime.

The Back 9 Artists: Wesley Baker, KT Duffy, Eve Fineman, Annalee Koehn, Vincent Lotesto, Joshua Lowe, Jim Merz, Donna Piacenza, David Quednau, and Liam Wilson & Anna Gershoni.

Private event rentals are available for the fully playable mini-golf course. This is the perfect setting for kids’ birthday parties, company retreats, weddings, and more. Send inquiries to events@elmhurstartmuseum.org

The exhibit pays homage to Par Excellence (1988) conceived by Chicago artist Mike O’Brien with a special display of ephemera, newspaper clippings, photos, and a recreated hole by designer Annalee Koehn. The original exhibit sold out daily and found its way to the pages of the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, People Magazine, CNN, and the Chicago Tribune among others. The course went on tour to downstate Illinois before returning to Chicago as a rebranded commercial miniature golf course called ArtGolf.

Artist-designed golf courses are now a popular addition to many Midwest museums such as the Walker Art Center, The Sheldon, and Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, but Par Excellence is widely believed to be the first.

Par Excellence Redux is curated by Colossal’s founder & editor-in-chief Christopher Jobson.

Presenting Sponsor:


Media Partner:

Back 9 is sponsored by: American Gardens, Anonymous, Bartlett Tree Experts, The Bialecki Family, Community Bank of Elmhurst, Kelly Stetler-Compass, W.S. Darley & Co, Elmhurst Artists’ Guild, Elmhurst University, Lakeside Bank, Maxine, Nuveen, Pints, Quality Home Service, and the Museum’s Programming Committee.
Community In-Kind Sponsors: Elmhurst Community Unit School District 205 and RGL Marketing for the Arts