Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Miniature Golf Courses Bring Back Memories

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Miniature Golf Courses Bring Back Memories

Article excerpt

Byline: Dorothy Fletcher

Before the World Golf Village, the TPC or The Players Championship mobilized Arnie's Army or inspired legions to follow Jack Nicklaus, the youth of Jacksonville had miniature golf to enjoy.

Back in the '50s and '60s, numerous miniature golf courses provided great places for teens to spend time with family and friends. Besides the drive-in movies, movie theaters and dances, kids found that miniature golf courses were certainly an excellent, semi-athletic way to be with people whose company they enjoyed.

I remember two places on Beach Boulevard especially well - the Putt-Putt Golf Course and the Goony Golf Course. Even though miniature golf courses still thrive - at Mandarin Mills and at the Adventure Landing complexes - the little putting golf courses of long ago have a way of coming to mind at the oddest times. It is especially true when turning at the corner of Parental Home Road at Beach where the old Robert Hall's Clothing Store used to stand. Just a few blocks south are the spots of countless fun-filled evenings.

I am not sure why I saved my Putt-Putt score card from 1965, since my pack rat habits are somewhat sporadic. Still, it certainly made me smile when I came across it while tidying my home office. My score on the card was atrocious, a full 10 strokes behind that of my boyfriend. Holes No. 2, No. 9 and No. 10 proved the most difficult, since my score soared way above par in those squares.

Still, I remember having "a blast," as we said in those days. It was really nice being enveloped in the instructive arms of my boyfriend as he demonstrated certain putting maneuvers I obviously needed to learn. His English Leather cologne smelled particularly dreamy, and his clean-shaven cheek next to mine was quite a delight.

Southside resident Hal Kelly, 61, owner of Indoor Comfort and a weekend golfer, also remembers a few of those Putt-Putt evenings.

"Putt-Putt was a good date night place to go. And we often took out-of-town company there. I also remember the little windmill. You had to carefully time your putt so the ball would make it through the blades to the hole on the other side. …

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