Strange But Safe Mini Golf Courses with Black Lights, Dinosaurs, Funeral Homes, Pirates And Castles
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
Putt Like An Egyptian
Black Light Golf: King Putt, Las Vegas
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
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
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 1976.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
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
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
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© 2008 Patty Inglish