1. The Ladies Putting Club of St. Andrew's - One of the oldest miniature golf courses in the world is located right next to one of the oldest and most storied regular golf courses in the world. At St. Andrews in Scotland—often the site of the British Open—stands the Ladies’ Putting Club of St. Andrews. It was set up in the late 1800s for women to play golf while keeping with the manners of the era that found it unladylike for a woman to swing a golf club. It’s really just some putting greens, but it provided the foundation for the recreational activity loved by millions of kids, adults, and people on first dates.
2. Golfstacle - Another early example of smaller, putting-only golf courses with amusing obstacles came from the British Isles. In 1910, an attraction called Golfstacle opened. (It’s no longer in service.)
3. Thistle Dhu - The first recognizable miniature golf course in the U.S.: Thistle Dhu (pronounced “this’ll do,” as in “this’ll do for a golf course) was built in Pinehurst, North Carolina, in 1916. Pretty clever, eh?
4. Tom Thumb Golf - Many of the first wave of miniature golf courses were franchisees of a company called Tom Thumb Golf. About a quarter of miniature golf courses in the U.S. were Tom Thumb. What made the sport, and the company take off? The development of artificial turf. Tom Thumb’s made its playing surface out of cottonseed hulls. Who knew?
5. Courses on building tops - By the late 1920s, there were hundreds of places to play miniature golf around the U.S.. There were 150 courses in New York City alone—on the tops of buildings. Once the Depression hit, all but a handful of courses around the country were closed down and torn down due to a lack of business. This makes great sense if you know much about the price of New York real estate!
6. Glow-In-The-Dark Golf - Parts of Scandinavia and Finland are so far north that it gets dark and stays dark for large portions of the day and year. Result: glow-in-the-dark miniature golf courses are popular in those locations. I have a hard enough time getting the ball around the course in broad daylight, let alone in the dark with dayglo obstacles! Yikes!
Miniature golf has fallen in and out of fashion since it's early beginnings. "Toward the end of the 1990s, country-club style miniature golf courses began to make a comeback, thanks in part to the interest of well-known celebrity golfers like Jack Nicklaus. Today, miniature golf competitions are held not only on courses with windmills and castles, but also on miniature replicas of famous greens, with the same sand and water traps courses used back in the early 20th century."
I'm really looking forward spending time this weekend renewing old friendships and having a bit of good fun. That does it for me this week. Whatever your plans this weekend, I hope they include spending time with friends and having a little fun. Please join me back here on Monday for another week of Irwin's blogs. Until then, FORE!