a.k.a. Golf Fun USA
Opened: 21 Apr 1962
Location: Central Midway
Designed By: Holmes Cook – New York City, New York
Number Of Holes: 18
Lagoon’s original miniature golf course, Golf-Fun, was designed by Holmes Cook, a “nationally-recognized designer and consultant for miniature golf courses.” Other parks with courses designed by Cook included Palisades Park in New Jersey and Rocky Glen Park in Pennsylvania. He also developed golf ball dispensing machines for driving ranges and coin-operated batting cages.
Within Lagoon’s miniature golf course was a fountain, waterfall and a pond. Golf-Fun was considered a success by the end of the first season when the special felt used for the “green” was worn down from heavy use and had to be replaced for the following season. Park manager Robert Freed said he regularly found people still playing the course when turning lights out at 1:30 a.m.
Beginning in 1965, each hole on the 18-hole course represented a particular area of the United States and the name changed to Golf Fun USA. Clues about which states were featured can be found in the background of photos. In addition to the elements shown below, there are also signs visible in various photos for Rhode Island, Vermont and Louisiana.
PUTTER AROUND THE PARK
Number Of Holes: 18
In 1981, Golf-Fun became Putter Around The Park when the obstacles were replaced with mini versions of Lagoon attractions like the Ferris Wheel, Carousel, Tidal Wave and Dracula’s Castle. The old fountain remained, used as a planter. The stone waterfall in the east end of the course was probably removed around this time, but the pond stayed in place.
Players could give their golf ball a ride on the Roller Coaster, around the double loops of Colossus and more. There were also features representing the Basketball game from the Midway and a pinball game from the Game Time arcade. The last hole was a Skee-Ball game that collected your ball. Any player who hit their ball into the center would win a free game.
In fall 2004, a rumor on Screamscape.com suggested Putter Around The Park would be removed along with the Lake Park Terrace to make room for The Bat. The Lake Park Terrace was torn down, unfortunately, but the golf course remained open after The Bat opened in 2005.
When the Bulgy The Whale ride moved onto a piece of the course in 2006, the configuration of the southwest corner was altered. Three holes were removed (#1 Fun Spot Of Utah, #12 Puff, #13 Merry-Go-Round), but it looked as though some additions were on the way. The large sign on the front of the ticket building was updated that year. The names of each hole were removed from the score cards and three of the holes were renamed. “Kontiki”, “Bat” and “Ruby’s Tubes” were the names on the signs, but there was nothing that resembled them in any way. The Kontiki hole simply had the cup at the top of a short, cone-shaped hill. Ruby’s Tubes is the name of the tube rental kiosk inside Lagoon-A-Beach making it an odd choice to be featured there. In the last years of the golf course, many of the moving obstacles like the Ferris Wheel and Tidal Wave were fixed in place and no longer moved. The bumpers on the Pinball hole were replaced by boulders.
|1||The Fun Spot Of Utah*|
|5||Pioneer Village Covered Wagon|
|6||Pioneer Village Blacksmith|
|7||Bulgy The Whale|
|10||Wild Kingdom Train|
|*Became The Bat after Bulgy The Whale moved in. Exact location unknown.|
***Became Ruby’s Tubes after Bulgy The Whale moved nearby.
Despite hints of potential updates, the course was done away with completely in 2008. A new kiddie ride was planned for the east half of the area and by October all that was left was the ticket building, the Skee-Ball hole and the old fountain. During Frightmares that year, the Tidal Wave, Ferris Wheel and other features from the attraction were among the pieces of “junk” in the Psycho Dave’s Junkyard walk-through. Some of the features were moved to storage while others were sent to rot away in the bone yard north of the park.
When Jumping Dragon opened in 2009, grass had been replanted in the empty spaces where the concrete had been torn out. Two more kiddie rides, Tipsey Tea Cups and Red Rock Rally, were added west of Jumping Dragon in 2013. More changes came in 2017 when Ruka Safari was installed in the northwest corner where the Pinball and Ferris Wheel holes were. Bulgy The Whale moved to a new spot behind Jumping Dragon. Flying Tigers now stands in the southwest corner.
The old fountain from 1962 still remains in use as a planter. The mini Ferris Wheel was repainted and placed in front of the Sky Scraper and the old Bulgy prop was also repainted and displayed next to the full size ride after it moved to the north side of Jumping Dragon. However, during a major wind storm in September 2020, a tree fell and damaged the ride. The Bulgy prop hasn’t been seen in the park since.
PUTTER AROUND THE PARK GALLERY
MORE FROM LHP
Putter Around The Park photos by Sam Wibatt on Flickr.
Holmes Cook Unveils 2 New Coin Machines. The Billboard, 12 Dec 1953.
Two Parks Set Courses With Cook. The Billboard, 9 Feb 1957.
Miniature Golf Course To Open For Lagoon Play. Deseret News, 21 Apr 1962.
Lagoon newspaper ad. Deseret News, 4 May 1962.
Lagoon Slates 5, 10 Days, Birthday Party. Deseret News, 25 Aug 1962.
News & Rumors: Lagoon, 10/01/04. Screamscape.com, accessed 24 Feb 2011 via Internet Archive Wayback Machine.