If Golf is a good walk spoiled, then miniature golf is a short walk wasted. The game is achingly unchallenging—even the most unsteady of putters is unlikely to shoot anything more than a stroke over par on every hole. Of course, if you enjoy watching some eight-year-olds push a golf ball through a purple-colored kangaroo house, then this is the perfect activity for you. Send in the clowns? Don't bother, they're here.
With its economy of equipment (one ball, one open space, one skinny yellow bat) and Everyman,-woman,-boy and-girl appeal (size and strength are neutralized in this sport, so no need for steroids), Wiffle ball maybe the most underappreciated game of them all. You can play it in a backyard in Des Moines or on a city street in D.C. You can play it whether you're five or 55. Baserunning is nonexistent (thus eliminating a speed advantage), and there is no great need for power. Dubbed Wiffle ball by its inventor, David N. Mullany, because when you miss the ball, you whiff, the sport's economics remind us of a simpler and gentler age. Unlike miniature golf, whose greens fees continue to rise faster than you can say Tiger Woods, the Wiffle ball sold for 49 cents in 1959, 75 cents in 1985 and now sells for about $1.25. There is no better bargain in sports today. What bigger thrill than throwing a curveball with more movement than one of Alvin Ailey's dancers, or blasting a home run over the House That Your Neighbor Built.