2016 Marks 100 Years of Miniature Golf

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*Pictured Above: In 1928, Garnet Carter developed a miniature version of golf that kicked off the miniature golf craze. This is a photo of his original course on Lookout Mountain, Tennessee.* Photo source: www.tennesseetreasures.net
2016 Marks 100 Years of Miniature Golf
Did you know that the game of miniature golf has been around for 100 years? 2016 marks 100 years of miniature golf. Here is a little history behind miniature golf.
In 1916, a ¬†man from Pinehurst, North Carolina named James Barber hired a designer and landscaper to create a tiny golf course, which he named ‚ÄúThistle Dhu‚ÄĚ. This¬†would be¬†the¬†first miniature golf course in America. Apparently upon completion of the project, he pronounced¬†‚ÄúThis‚Äôll Do!‚ÄĚ, to which it got translated to “Thistle Dhu” (now the name of a current golf course in the same town). It featured all the modern standard trappings of miniature golf including tree, water, and sand hazards.
100 years of miniature golf
*Pictured Above:¬†The¬†‚ÄúThistle Dhu‚ÄĚ course which¬†appeared in¬†the August 1919 edition of Popular Science Magazine*
In 1922, a regular golfer named Thomas Fairbairn¬†revolutionized the game¬†when he discovered a suitable green after combining¬†a mixture of cottonseed hulls, sand, oil, and dye. After this, miniature golf really took off and by the 1930’s (before the Great Depression)¬†there were¬†25,000 listed miniature golf courses in the US.
It wasn’t until 1927 that miniature golf became known as a community recreation. Up until this point, the sport was set aside only for the wealthy as “something to do”, not so much as a business. Not until a man named Garnet Carter who owned the “Fairyland Inn” at Lookout Mountain, Tennessee came around. He came up with it as entertainment for his guests staying at the inn considering the regular golf course that he was building was taking much too long to build.
Everyone loved¬†the fantasy setting and he decided to name the course “Tom Thumb” after the¬†character of English folklore that grew to be the “size of a thumb”. Carter’s guests¬†enjoyed the challenge of putting a ball through the obstacles. He¬†soon began manufacturing courses for national distribution under the patented name “Tom Thumb Golf”.
“Tom Thumb Golf” course in Toronto, Ontario in 1930:

The game of miniature golf took a hit during the Great Depression, as people couldn’t afford to play. It stayed stagnant until 1938 when the Taylor brothers began to build their own miniature golf courses, but also started adding landscaping, and eye-catching obstacles such as windmills, and castles.¬†By the early 1940’s, Joe and Bob¬†Taylor¬†were in the business of building miniature golf courses and supplying obstacles to companies, and were even¬†sent overseas to entertain soldiers in WWII and Korea.
Fast forward to the miniature golf courses of today, and it has become a favourite family and friends pastime.
5 Unique Miniature Golf Courses
Mayday Golf – Myrtle Beach, South Carolina (www.maydaygolf.com)

Par-King – Lincolnshire, Illinois (www.par-king.com)

Perils of the Lost Jungle – Northern, Virginia (www.woodysgolf.com/perils)

Ripley’s Old MacDonald’s Farm Mini Golf РSevierville, Tennessee (www.ripleys.com//gatlinburg/)

Dinosaur Adventure Golf – Clifton Hill, Niagara Falls (www.cliftonhill.com)

Print off this coupon and enjoy (good for up to 6 people):
100 years of miniature golf

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