ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Strange But Safe Mini Golf Courses with Black Lights, Dinosaurs, Funeral Homes, Pirates And Castles

Updated on May 11, 2016
Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Ms. Inglish offers 25+ years successful experience in Medicine; Health- and I/O Psychology; STEM courses, and Aerospace Education (CAP).


A Short History Of Miniature Golf

Tom Thumb Golf became a recognized game when it was patented in 1927 by hotel owner Garnet Carter. It is much like 1/4 scale train rides that tourists enjoy in that is it a scaled down version of golf played with a putter across short fairways with lots of whimsical obstacles, often including at least one windmill.

Later, the game became known as miniature golf or mini golf and has been a money-making game for mini course owners over the years. This was especially in the 1960s at the height of vacation travel popularity along the National Road (Route 40) and The Mother Highway (Route 66). Mr. Carter did not retain exclusive mini golf rights, so he missed the chance to gain licensing fees on franchises, eventually around the world. German and Swedish mini courses were seen first seen around 1926 - 1930 as well.

In 1927, however, Carter constructed his Tom Thumb Golf course next to his hotel on Tennessee's famous Lookout Mountain, an active tourist spot that brought substantial traffic to the hotel and the mini course. This patented course had a storybook and fairy tale theme, befitting the size and name of the course. People enjoyed it and families could play together.

Mr. Carter founded Fairyland Manufacturing Corporation, eventually responsible for 3000 Tom Thumb Golf franchises. However, he used the same course materials that a 1922 inventor had patented and was required to pay this person, Thomas Fairborn, royalties. Miniature golf was becoming a big business early one.

In the 2000s it is some critics' thought that online miniature golf has passed online bowling in popularity among wireless game players.

Prehistoric Tiny Golf 1867

Before all of this, un-patented games of mini golf did exist.

In 1867 Scotland, the Ladies Putting Club at Saint Andrews opened as a series of putting greens for women that were not seen on full scale golf courses of the era. Then somewhere in London, a "Golfstacle" course opened for a time, but was un-patented.

Back in 1916, in Pinehurst NC, James Barber built such a course on his family estate. He named it "Thistle Du" and patented some of the processes of his game.

In 1922, Thomas Fairborn operated a successful miniature golf game in Mexico. He founded Miniature Golf Courses of America Inc. and patented a process of making the playing surfaces from cottonseed hulls, oil, and green dye all laid over sand.

Next came a skyscraper rooftop mini golf course in 1926, built by Ledbetter and Delanoy. However, they illegally used Mr. Fairborn's patented process without permission. Legal action ensued and a mutual agreement, likely with royalties paid to Fairborn, was struck whereby the Fairborn method was permitted on 150 rooftop mini courses. Fairborn also collected royalties from Garnet Carter, mentioned above.

Miniature, mini, crazy, or wacky golf picked up popularity after the Depression and several umbrella associations or federations arose. Putt-Putt Golf company franchises became the most recognized franchise in the US after its 1954 opening in North Carolina. Today, miniature golf is international, the subject of several tournaments and some large cash prizes.

Aside from the usual miniature golf courses, there are a variety of very strange and bizarre alternatives.

Amazing Tiki Golf


Tiki Island Adventure and Volcano Golf

A visit to Tiki Island Adventure and Volcano Glf at night can make an excellent Halloween Alternative to haunted houses. You'll play mini-golf by torch light among Tiki heads and prehistoric reptiles throughout the courses.

The courses are both 18-hole golf games: Tiki Falls is themed after Herbivores, and Volcano Fallsis full of Carnivores. That's scary! You can preview each course online at the link below, with daylight photos that are quite attractive; and a video of nighttime play. A BONUS 19th HOLE will erupt the volcano with actual fire when a ball is sunk. At night, that's a sight! In addition to mini golf, you can ride a paddle boat around waterfalls, visit the Gift Shop, or play arcade games. A discount coupon is available online.

See slides of 12 dinosaurs located on the courses at the website. After you see all the features of this mini golf park, you will want to go:

7560 International Drive; Orlando Florida 32819

Location: Tiki Island Mini-Golf

A marker7560 International Drive; Orlando Florida 32819 -
7560 International Dr, Orlando, FL 32819, USA
get directions

Tiki Island Adventure and Volcano Golf in Orlando FL.
Tiki Island Adventure and Volcano Golf in Orlando FL.

Putt Like An Egyptian

Black Light Golf: King Putt, Las Vegas

King Putt

Glowing Basement Golf

Glowing Greens 3-D Pirate Golf in Oregon

In another basement, this one in Downtown Portland, Oregon beneath the Hilton Hotel tower, we find another odd miniature golf course.

This black lit basement hideaway is named GLOWING GREENS, located at 509 SW Taylor St Portland, Oregon 97204-1208. This indoor park offers an 18 hole mini golf course, catering, parties, and corporate event planning.

The mini golf course has a Pirate theme with glow-in-the-dark paint that requires 3-D glasses supplied by the course owners. The course is split into a front 9 holes and a back 9 holes, with the back nine being scarier than the first and not recommended for small children.

This miniature golf course is a bit expensive and located near many restaurants. "Outside" food and beverage are not permitted on the course, so players often eat next door before or after they play. Discount rates are available to large families and groups.

Mortuary Horror Golf

Ahlgrim Funeral Parlor of Palatine, Illinois houses a horror themed 9-hole miniature golf course in its basement and calls it Ahlgrim [All Grim] Acres.

Chad and Johnny Mac at Ahlgrim Acres in Palatine, Illinois

Basement Mini Golf

Click to enlarge.
Click to enlarge.

Ahlgrim Acres - Golf of the Dead

Ahlgrim Funeral Parlor of Palatine, Illinois houses a Horror themed 9-hole miniature golf course in its basement and calls it Ahlgrim [All Grim] Acres. With a further nod to gallows humor, course obstacles include headstones, coffins, and a haunted house. oroginally built for the Ahlgrim family's children, the course is now used by all teh funeral home's employees, who pit themselves agasint the owner anmd always lose.

The mini course is free to use, but players must call for an appointment to use it, because it is pretty popular. In addition, miniature golf is part of the standard Ahlgrim's funeral package and many people like it.

The course is used by local clubs for meetings and initiation rites as well. The basement amusement area also offers a ping pong table, shuffleboard games, and video pingball type games from the 1980s.

Ahlgrim's Acres - Griswold Family Vacations Road Trip

Unusual Chicago Mini Golf

Chicago - Strange Miniature Golf Sites

show route and directions
A markerAhlgrim Family Funeral Community Room -
201 North Northwest Highway, Palatine, IL 60067, USA
get directions

B markerHaunted Trails Mini Golf -
1423 North Broadway Street, Joliet, IL 60435, USA
get directions

C markerPar King/Gorgeous George's Mini Golf -
21711 North Milwaukee Avenue, Prairie View, IL 60069, USA
get directions

Haunted Trails To You

Haunted Trails Golf in Illinois

Haunted Trails is a group and enchanted castle and horror themed miniature golf parks located in Bridgeview, Burbank, Joiliet, and Lombard in Illinois.

The haunted trails themed courses have always had a Horror/Halloween phenomenon, the first one built in the 1960s. This was the era in which Forrest J. Akerman's Famous Monsters of Filmland Magazine was very popular. Vacationers enjoyed the mini golf park, because it featured their favorite movie monsters and Halloween goblins - ghosts, ghouls, the Mummy, Dracula, large water obstacles, etc.

Haunted Trails is still a popular haunt, especially by families and parties of friends that want to do something different for Halloween festivities or want a good Halloween Alternatives.

The only confusing thing is that some of the ghouls are trash cans, while other ghouls are guards at the course holes, so some balls end up in the wrong place. It adds to the merriment.

Par-King - The World's Most Unusual Miniature Golf

One of the top 10 Mini Golf adventures in the country. 21711 North Milwaukee Avenue Lincolnshire, IL 60069

Dark Carnival - If Ray Bradbury Played Miniature Golf

Par-King Skill Golf, originally named Gorgeous George's Garden Golf.

One of these courses opened in Morton Grove. Illinois in 1956 and was not monstrous at all, full of castles and lush landscaping. The owner, George, likely gained some business from the "Gorgeous George" title, because of the current famous professional wrestler of the era - Gorgeous George Wagner. he was similar to today's Rick Flair. Thus, some people thought of it as connected to professional wrestling.

However, the original closed in 2003. Some of the fixtures and figures from the mini course holes were moved to another of the owner's courses opened in Linconshire. This one is still in operation and advertises itself as "The World's Most Unusual Miniature Golf." The course figures are well maintained and painted anew in the spring, but many look like a horror carnival of the grotesque. People afraid of clowns need to be particularly careful.

This miniature golf course features a roller coaster hole, a little old lady that lived in a shoe hole, a rodeo rider, Indians, and a merry-go-round in addition to many others in keeping with a carnival and storybook atmosphere. Mount Rushmore really doesn't seem to fit the theme, but is included just the same.

Ohio's Monster Mini Golf


Monster Mini Golf Franchise

This successful Ohio franchise chain is a lot like Chuck E. Cheese's pizza restaurant with monsters and black lights. The Westchester, Ohio mini golf course is owned by Anthony Smith and located in the Wal-Mart Plaza.

Pizza and other food can be delivered in and a variety of parties, field trips, and other events are held at this location. Halloween is a popular time, as is the release date of any horror film in the area. These courses are open in 11 US States and most popular in Massachusetts with five locations.

Ohio's Monster Mini Golf is an indoor 18-hole course in neon and black lighting, with a life-size Frankenstein.

Monster Mini Golf in Ohio - Open All Year

A marker7058 Ridgetop Drive, West Chester, OH 45069 -
7058 Ridgetop Drive, West Chester Township, OH 45069, USA
get directions

Golgotha...Fun Park??

Golgotha Fun Park


Golgotha was open, closed, and re-opened in 2011, east of Mammoth Cave National Park, in Cave City, Kentucky and the property includes the new Big Jack's Rib Shack.

Location Of Golgotha

A markerBig Jack's Rib Shack; Cave City, KY 42127 -
3162 Mammoth Cave Rd, Cave City, KY 42127, USA
get directions

Biblical Miniature Golf

This one strikes me as very odd. Religious amusement parks seem creepy to me - like evil clowns and damp torture chambers. Golfing through the Red Sea or across the Sermon of the Mount seems wrong, like a concession stand along the Underground Railroad trail.

I don't think I could play through the Crucifixion. Golgotha Fun Park - isn't Golgotha a bad place? Place of the skull, that's right. It's a horror park.

Golgotha Bible Mini Golf opened in Cave, Kentucky in 1992, In 2008, it is open during inconsistent days and hours. This makes it more odd - you never know when it's going to be open. It's a gamble. Other courses with more regular hours and Bible themes have been found in places like some parts of Ohio, Lexington, KY; South Carolina; and Nashville.

The front nine holes of Goglotha represent the Old Testament, while the back nine holes cover the New Testament. Various concrete statues of Jesus and other Bible personages create the mini course obstacles. After 18 holes, there are also Go-Carts (Highway to Hell?) and Paintball (is Shatner here too?).

Three giant white crosses rise up ominously at the edge of the parking lot at the 18th Hole. On the path through the wilderness to get there, players navigate Biblical hazards and miracles. After renting a club and ball in the gift shop, you go to Tee #1 - The Book of Genesis. On the front nine, you see Adam and Eve, Moses and the Red Sea, and Daniel and his Lion.

What's comical is that Jonah sits in the mouth of his Whale, wearing shorts and St. Francis herds the animals onto the Ark. Scriptures are posted at each hole, but another comical hole features out-of-place elves and men in lederhosen.

Of course, the 18th Hole is Golgotha itself, where Jesus was crucified, and is a difficult uphill course.

It's odd and you never know when it's open. It must be a test.

Rube Goldberg Machine Mini Golf

A Rube Goldberg Machine Mini Golf Hole

Golf At Home

Desktop Mini Golf

Desktop Mini Golf to the Tune of Spoons by Ben Drake

YouTube - Slade366's Channel - New trick shot videos always coming :D I visit and watch every channel that subs, comments, or adds me as a friend. :D All comments, ratings, video responses, everything are automatically accepted because this is Youtube and not Soviet Russia.

© 2008 Patty Inglish


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Netters profile image

      Netters 8 years ago from Land of Enchantment - NM

      Interesting. I love miniature golf. And I love Whose Line is it Anyway. Thank you. LOL

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 8 years ago from North America

      Hey, scored well at both ends of the Hub! I have ot played in a while, so I am going to see what courses are still open here. :)

    • William F. Torpey profile image

      William F Torpey 8 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

      Enjoyed this hub very much, Patty. I wish I had your computer skills when a few months ago I was looking for pictures and videos relating to miniature golf courses. Your hub is lots of fun, and very informative. I've linked this hub to my hub titled "The Golf Tour -- On a Small Scale", which is a parody by George Albano of my 4-part series on four Norwalk area (real) golf courses. I've always like miniature golf.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 8 years ago from North America

      William - Thanks for linking, and I'll link to your Hub in this one of mine when I get another minute. I was surprised at all I found about weird mini golf, but I like to look for oddities. Your series sounds intriguing as well!

    • William F. Torpey profile image

      William F Torpey 8 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

      Thanks, Patty. My golf columns (hubs) were fun because they were "playing" accounts of the golf courses, but they were also fun to write.

    • cgull8m profile image

      cgull8m 8 years ago from North Carolina

      I love miniature golf, thanks for the links, would love to play them.

    • profile image

      Mini Golf Business 8 years ago

      Mini golf can be exciting as well, i love allthe new innovations to the game the entire family can enjoy it.

    • DVD Hound profile image

      DVD Hound 7 years ago from Houston, TX

      I love it. What an quirky-fun topic. Great hub!!!

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 7 years ago from North America

      Thanks for all the comments and great new links to the sites. The activity is a lot of fun.

    • Angela Harris profile image

      Angela Harris 7 years ago from Around the USA

      This was such a fun hub. I like mini golf, but my 'regular' golf fanatic husband thinks it's a bit beneath him. He could probably be persuaded to play at a few of these courses, though.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 7 years ago from North America

      I do hope he can be persuaded to check out one or two of them. You could have a lot of fun together with them!

    • swosugrad09 profile image

      swosugrad09 6 years ago from Oklahoma

      This is great, I love mini-golf! Totally need to do some road tripping now haha, especially to Colorado. Very interesting hub! Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      Womens Golf 6 years ago

      I know a lot about golf, but didn't appreciate the history of miniature golf. Interesting reading.

    • jaymelee23 profile image

      jaymelee23 6 years ago from United States

      I love miniature golf!

    • profile image

      backyard putting 6 years ago

      Golgotha mini golf? Sounds like a freaky place, but I would take the risk and take a look at this one.

    • billrobinson profile image

      billrobinson 6 years ago from CA, USA

      So good to have fun sometimes.

    • profile image

      John Dean Burrows 6 years ago

      Wow, nice hub Patty. Reminds me of my youth... Used to play minigolf A LOT!

    • profile image

      Tiago Marcelo 6 years ago

      Haha. That video was great. Into the clown's mouth and out the ear.

      Also, fantastic Hub!

    • toknowinfo profile image

      toknowinfo 6 years ago

      This was such a fun hub. Thanks for all the information. I feel very competent on a mini golf course, so I appreciate this article very much.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 6 years ago from North America

      I am not a skilled player, but I like to go to these places and enjoy the unique mini golf courses.

    • Myrtle Beach Golf profile image

      Myrtle Beach Golf 5 years ago from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

      Jeesh. Now this is what a hub should be all about! Videos, pictures and great informative content. I actually had FUN reading this one! I'd say it was more of an experience than anything! I'm very familiar with mini-golf, because in Myrtle Beach, you can't go two blocks without seeing one! Some are interesting, some are not, but all of them have a level of intrigue to them.

    • shamani67 profile image

      shamani67 5 years ago

      Great Hub. Very well written. Informative and interesting. Has given me some ideas of what I could do in the future if setting up a mini golf course here in Australia. Thanks

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 5 years ago from North America

      That is awesome, shamani67. Let us know if you build a mini golf course!

    • acc12 profile image

      acc12 5 years ago

      Fun hub! We love mini golf & our kids enjoyed Pirate's Cove in the Wisconsin Dells. I remember as a kid playing mini golf at the Jersey shore on family vacations. At one place if you got a hole-in-one on the last hole you won a full sized trophy! I don't know how they afforded that, but I think it was the only trophy I've ever won! Good times.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 5 years ago from North America

      Sounds like a very good time. They must be successful to be giving out those trophys!

    • profile image

      golftrip 5 years ago

      Wow this kinds of golf trips are very interesting. I wanna experience them all.

    • sawyershaw profile image

      sawyershaw 5 years ago from West Palm Beach

      great sounds like fun!

    Click to Rate This Article