Ohio has more than 100 miniature golf courses. Mia Wise, 15, works at the Lakeside course. “Is this putt-putt or miniature golf?” I asked. Mia cocked her head, frowned, and pointed at the sign with a purple putter. It read “Lakeside Miniature Golf.” What’s the difference? I asked and she frowned again, said she didn’t know but promptly got on her phone.
“Okay, here it is. It’s simply two different skill levels,” she explained. “One is generally more competitive and more difficult and the other is more just kind of, fun.” Hmmm. Mia usually has more than 50 customers a day on her 18-hole course overlooking Lake Erie. As a throng of kids and adults alike paid Mia, received their clubs and balls and eagerly hit the little links, I did my own research. What I found: there are just two Putt-Putt courses in Ohio, and 40-plus world-wide. Putt-Putt is a trademarked term and applies only to genuine Putt-Putt courses, which in general do not have hills, waterfalls, windmills or other crazy-fun embellishments. Bottom line is there are many miniature golf courses in Ohio (but just two Putt-Putt courses, in Warren and Upper Sandusky) which are two-par, skill-based links. But whether it’s genuine Putt-Putt or miniature golf, courses around the state are ready to provide inexpensive family entertainment, with many courses open year-round.
Monsoon Lagoon, Marblehead
While Lakeside’s course is a flat course directly on the shore of Lake Erie, a few miles away in Marblehead, Monsoon Lagoon’s course is built around a mountain overlooking exotic animals, a go-cart race track and, of course, a lagoon where people in inner-tubes float lazily past.
Perry’s Cave Family Fun Center, South Bass Island
Across the lake on South Bass Island, the Perry’s Cave Family Fun Center course has plenty of bright blue water and waterfalls. A host of other fun and exciting things, like a butterfly house and gem mining, surround the course.
Scene 75 Entertainment, Several Locations
Scene 75 Entertainment centers in Cincinnati, Dayton, Columbus and Cleveland all feature the ever-popular, year-round “glow golf.” There are more than a dozen other sites in Ohio where families can golf in darkness surrounded by neon colors, and likely there’s a spooky-cool one near you.
The Putt-Putt Fun Center, Warren
This center has fun for the whole family: a professional course, an amateur course and a miniature course for the budding golf enthusiasts.
Allison’s Mini Golf, Geneva-on-the-Lake
For some seriously historical golfing, try Allison’s Mini Golf in Geneva-on-the-Lake. It’s the nation’s oldest continuously-operating course in America. It was established by the Allison family in 1924 and folks have been putting its tiny greens and fairways ever since.
Are there rules for miniature golf? Of course. No full swings, let faster parties play through and no do-overs or cheating. Yeah, and that last one is sort of flexible, so parents, when the kids are beating you up on the score card, no one will be mad if you cheat – just a little!
For more travel inspiration, Find It Here on Ohio.org.