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.
Miniature golf courses usually conjure up images of castle drawbridges, faux shipwrecks, and roller coaster loop-de-loops. No such fantastical obstacles can be found on the Caddy Shack course, where the surroundings are decidedly more natural: think flower beds, rock walls, and leafy landscaping. A babbling stream winds its way through the course, too, guiding golfers to the final hole, which, thanks to a bonus pair at the end, is actually the course's 20th hole.
After their last putt, golfers can head to the Caddy Shack restaurant, where they'll be delighted to find round-cappers such as hand cut french fries, hamburgers, cold drinks, and no windmills blocking their way to the bathroom.
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.
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.
With four sets of tees to choose from, each of the 18 holes that comprise Flatbush Golf Course reveal rewarding mental and physical challenges for golfers of every stripe. The course's lush chlorophyll-laden carpet stretches to 6,671 yards from the back tees, and brings into play obstacles such as water hazards on eight holes, elevated greens, and sudden impulses to plant a vegetable garden. The most difficult hole on the course proves to be number 4, a 450-yard par 4 with water on either side of the fairway and a wide, shallow green guarded by a large bunker to the front right. On the back nine, number 16 grants players a clear view of the hazards that lay before them, allowing them ample time to triangulate a route to safety.
Course at a Glance:
* 18-hole, par 71 course
* Four tee options
* Total length of 6,671 yards from the back tees
* Rating of 71.6 from the back tees
* Slope of 121 from the back tees