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 coin-operated batting cages and golf-ball dispensing machines for driving ranges.
Within the course was a fountain, waterfall and pond. Golf-Fun was considered a success by the end of the first season when the special felt “green” was worn down from heavy use and had to be replaced for the following season. 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. Here’s a list of the features I’ve found so far. The first six correspond to the pictures on the right and the last two are easily seen in the picture below.
- Washington, D.C. – Washington Monument (A)
- State unknown – Cactus (B)
- State unknown – Barn or Covered bridge? (C)
- Utah – Seagull Monument (D)
- State unknown – Lighthouse? ¹ (E)
- Louisiana – Alligator (F)
- State unknown – Paddle-wheel steamboat
- New York – Statue Of Liberty
Number Of Holes: 18
For the 1981 season, the features of Golf-Fun were replaced with miniature versions of Lagoon attractions and the name changed to Putter Around The Park. I have no record of what the original features were but at least two, the Fire Dragon and Puff, would have been added later on.
Players could give their golf ball a ride on the Roller Coaster, through a covered wagon, around the double loops of Colossus, past the swinging Tidal Wave ship and more. There were also holes representing the Midway’s Basketball game and a Game Time pinball machine. The last hole was a Skeeball 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. This proved to be just a rumor when the course remained open and even received a big new sign at the entrance in 2006. That was the year Bulgy The Whale was moved north onto a piece of the course near the ticket building, changing the configuration of the southwest corner. 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 names of each hole were removed from the score cards and three new holes were added. “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 recent years, many of the moving obstacles like the Ferris Wheel and Tidal Wave were fixed in place. Soon 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 Skeeball 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 are kept in storage while others 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 and the old prop used for the Bulgy hole was repainted and placed next to the ride. Flying Tigers now stands in the southwest corner where the mini golf entrance used to be. The fountain, which has long been used simply as a planter, still remains from 1962.
1. Another miniature golf course designed by Holmes Cook at Rocky Glen Park in Pennsylvania featured a lighthouse-looking structure similar to the one at Lagoon.
MORE FROM LHP
Putter Around The Park photos by Sam Wibatt on Flickr.
Putter Around The Park photos at LagoonIsFun.
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.