If Magellan ever designed a miniature golf complex, it might have resembled Water's Edge Mini Golf. The 36-hole course draws a tidal wive of inspiration from the romance of nautical exploration, with streams, waterfalls, and ponds gushing and glistening at every turn. A lighthouse stands sentry over the grounds, looking over seafaring motifs?including a beached skiff?and flowerbeds bursting with pastel blossoms. Games buzz inside an arcade area with concessions, where guests can cool off or compose Melville impersonations in ketchup.
A totem pole shaped like a four-scoop ice-cream cone stands as a beacon in front of Jim Mack's Ice Cream, beckoning passers-by to experience the nostalgic establishment's homemade ice cream, 24-hole miniature-golf course, and resident black bear, Ricky. The ice-cream stand and snack shop, which opened in 1958, crafts a menu of ice cream, malts, burgers, hot dogs, fries, and other specialties. The outdoor picnic area allows guests to enjoy their treats to the sounds of chirping birds and whistling winds, which also serve as the mini-golf course's full-time commentators. The expansive, family-friendly facility also features a pinball arcade and a miniature zoo. Llamas and goats roam the petting-zoo area, grazing from the delicious pellets that grow in children's hands. The facility's mascot, Ricky the bear, also greets guests from inside of her large enclosure where she climbs on logs and tells jokes for nickels.
Bel Air Golf Center helps duffers straighten out drives, hone putter strokes, and lower scores with an expansive driving range and miniature-golf facility geared toward player improvement. Turn unsightly snap-hooks into power-draws of supernatural beauty at one of the driving range’s 47 stalls—10 of which are enclosed, heated, and lighted to facilitate sessions in rainstorms, after sunset, or on the ice planet Hoth. The range also helps divoteers dial in their distance with 14 target flags measured to precise yardage.
When new owners gained control of Putt Putt Fun Center in 2011, they brought with them a fresh vision that culminated in modern updates. The recently revised center encompasses a spectrum of family fun; the indoor area houses an arcade—fully loaded with air hockey and a Wheel of Fortune game—beside an inflatable labyrinth of moon bounces, slides, and obstacle courses used to train armies of balloon animals. Once visitors have exhausted themselves inside the glowing laser-tag arena or other sheltered activities, they can venture outside to the mini-golf course, where faux caverns and a wooden footbridge arc over abbreviated greens. Nearby, athletes smack baseballs into orbit from the batting cages.
Bounce FunPlex & Mini Golf specializes in gravity-defying fun. In one area, kids jump extra high atop floors and walls made of trampolines?playing dodgeball or practicing flips into brightly colored foam pits. In another area, youngsters leap around inflatable bounce houses, decorated with gleeful cartoon characters. Visitors saving their jump energy for an upcoming moon mission can partake in the complex's 18-hole mini-golf course, complete with a tinkling waterfall.
In golf, reliving mistakes is sometimes a good thing. It can help a player find the faults in his or her swing, and then make the necessary adjustments in order to finally crack open a golf ball and retrieve the shiny pearl inside. That's exactly what the PGA-certified instructors at Fox Meadow Golf Center accomplish through their JC Video motion-analysis software. The system captures video of players and then breaks down every element of a swing—from the initial backswing to the moment of impact.
Of course, this video system would be useless without practice areas. The driving range's five target greens lie at distances between 50 and 205 yards. Balls launch from 60 tees, including 30 heated tees that stay open year round. A sand trap lies nearby, and a synthetic putting green helps bolster short games. These facilities are the setting for Fox Meadow Golf Center's instructional programs, including junior and adult camps that focus on everything from chipping to bunker play. Alternatively, an onsite 18-hole mini-golf course allows for more casual putting.