Mini-Golf Is Fun for Everyone!
By Sarah Wright
I admit that I’m a big fan of mini-golf. That’s not to say I’m particularly good at it, but I have gotten a hole-in-one from time to time. Mini-golf is a great leisure sport, especially on a hot summer day, since you can play without breaking a sweat. I did some quick online research about the sport and found out that the first mini-golf course was built in 1867 at the Ladies’ Putting Club in St. Andrews, Scotland. And I was surprised to learn there is a World Mini-Golf Sport Federation. Yes, some players take their putting very seriously. Whether you are an amateur or a professional, there are some fun courses in the Lakes Region, so let’s tee up!
Funspot in Weirs Beach has a great course with some wonderful New Hampshire landmarks featured in the design. These structures were refurbished from Funspot’s famous outdoor mini-golf course that was open from 1964-2014 before being moved indoors. Some of the re-created historic landmarks include the M/S Mount Washington cruise ship, the Jackson covered bridge, and the Cog Railway. My kids have always liked “Waldo” the Whale. As Funspot is the “Largest Arcade in the World,” there is plenty to do when you’re done golfing. With countless videogames, pinball machines, air hockey, and bowling, you can easily spend most of the day there. My personal favorite is Skee-Ball, and I make sure to play it every time, even though my kids prefer the racing games. On a hot day, or a rainy day, Funspot is the perfect place for fun! Located at 579 Endicott Street North, in the Weirs section of Laconia, Funspot is open every day from 9 am to 11 pm, with a closing time of midnight on Saturdays. For more information, visit www.funspotnh.com or call 603-366-4377.
Pirate’s Cove Adventure Golf is super fun outdoor mini-golf, with three locations in the area. I’ve played with my family at the Weirs Beach location, and the course was beautiful, complete with waterfalls and a cool cave tunnel. My sons loved the pirate décor with cannons, steering wheels, and the skull and crossbones “Jolly Roger” flags. One of my favorite features on the course were the sign markers along the way with true facts about infamous real-life pirates. It was fun to read these aloud to the kids, since they didn’t believe me when I said that pirates were real. If you get a hole-in-one, you’ll receive a small prize. However, if you play poorly, have no fear—they will not make you walk the plank! Pirates Cove Adventure Golf is located on Route 3 in the Weirs Beach section of Laconia, heading toward Meredith. Call 603-366-5058 for details. The Winnisquam location is on Route 3 near I-93, exit 20. They can be reached at 603-528-6434. There is also a location in North Conway on Routes 16/302, otherwise known as the White Mountain Highway. For more information, call 603-356-8807. All three locations are open from mid-May to mid-October. The Pirates Cove Adventure Golf in Weirs Beach and Winnisquam are currently open daily, weather permitting, from 9 am to 10 pm. The North Conway location is open on Sunday to Wednesday, from 10 am to 8 pm; on Thursdays from noon to 8 pm; and on Fridays and Saturdays from 10 am to 10 pm. Information about all of the locations can be found online at www.piratescove.net.
Putter’s Village has been delighting mini-golfers in Wolfeboro for over 30 years. I love this course, set back from the road among the trees where there’s a little shade. Like the Funspot course, this golfing green has beautifully handcrafted structures representing local landmarks. My favorite is the large nesting loon, but you’ll also see Castle in the Clouds, the Old Man of the Mountain, and many more! Putter’s Village is located at 9 Center Street in Wolfeboro, and is currently open Monday through Saturday, from 10 am to 9 pm, and on Sundays from 1 pm to 9 pm, weather permitting. For more information, contact the friendly staff at 603-569-6715 or visit their Facebook page.
If you like your mini-golf with a side of ice cream, check out the course at the formerly named Jay’s Bayside Ice Cream & Mini-Golf in Alton Bay. Now under management by Chucksters, this is another cool, shady course thanks to the many trees that surround it. Happy putters will love the quaint bridges and water spouts along the center stream. Located at 5 Mount Major Highway, the course is just across from the town docks, so you can even park your boat and stop in to play a round. Current hours are Mondays from noon to 9 pm; Tuesdays through Fridays from noon to 10 pm; Saturdays from 10 am to 10 pm; and Sundays from noon to 9 pm. Don’t forget to bring your appetite for ice cream! With around 50 flavors, there is something for everyone. I like some of the fun names for flavors like Bear Claw and Dough Dough Bird. For further information, call 603-875-4263, or visit www.chucksters-altonbay.com.
One of the mini-golf courses on my list to try this summer is one I’ve driven by on my way through Moultonborough. Paradise Falls Mini-Golf is a beautifully maintained course located at 252 Lee Road. Designed with a tropical feel, you’ll think you’re at an oasis with the pretty fountains and palm trees. I think it’s in a nice location if you’d like to get away from the crowds for a while. Open every day from 10 am to 9 pm, weather permitting, this would also be a great stop for fun if you’re on the long drive around Lake Winnipesaukee. If you have any questions, the friendly staff can be reached at 603-476-5909.
With wonderfully unique mini-golf courses spread out all around the lake, there’s really no excuse not to try one this summer! Kids will love the fun obstacles, and it’s great practice for aim and focus. Mini-golf is also great for photo ops—perfect for your vacation album. Fore!