(Traverse City, Michigan) Imagine a miniature golf course that replicates (in smaller scale fashion) some of the most famous golf holes in the country, like the 18th holes at Mauna Kea in Hawaii, Spyglass Hill at Pebble Beach, and Grand National Links in Alabama.
To sweeten the picture even more, imagine the course is built with interlocking flexible, patented panels that reduce cost, construction time, and maintenance compared to a traditional concrete course.
Adventure Golf & Sports (AGS – formerly Adventure Golf Services) of Traverse City, Michigan, installed this dream miniature golf course late last year using their Modular Advantage® Mini Golf System at Granite Farms Estates, an Acts Continuing Care Retirement Community in Media, Pennsylvania.
The project coincided with the Mid-Atlantic OlympiActs 2019 – where over 100 seniors from five retirement communities from across the Philadelphia region compete in Olympiad-style activities during a day-long event, including bocce ball, corn-hole toss and miniature golf. “Our target date was to be open and ready for OlympiActs 2019 and
Adventure Golf & Sports did a phenomenal job of making that happen for us,” says Michael Synczyszyn, the Mid-Atlantic Regional Director of Real Estate and Project Management for Acts Retirement-Life Communities, Inc.
“We wouldn’t have met the construction schedule if it had not been for the use of the (AGS) Modular Advantage system,” says Synczyszyn. “It had advantages over poured concrete as a base material and advantages over sand. Sand can erode over time and lose its shape. Concrete obviously can crack and fall. And you have higher upfront costs and a longer construction schedule with concrete.
“The feel underfoot is such that you would not have a sense of exactly what is underneath the turf. There’s no flex or give when you walk on the course.”
When the renovation of a building at Granite Farms caused the removal of a legacy putting-green style course with platforms built out of wood, Elmer Heiland, the Executive Director of Granite Farms at the time, worked with the resident Grounds Committee, Garden & Greens Committee and an Exterior Committee to propose an upgraded 18-hole course.
Given Heiland’s 15 years’ experience at various country clubs and personal horticultural studies, he began to put together a list of famous golf course holes that might be replicated on a smaller scale. As Heiland recalls, “we were interested in creating something that would become another legacy community area with a walking path, benches, gardens and the like along the golf course.”
Due to space challenges, including changing the plot site when a pipeline was run through the original site of the course, 18 holes became nine and then became six.
The “celebrity” golf holes selected for the final six-hole course were:
#1 – TPC Scottsdale Stadium Course #16 (par 3)
#2 – Harbor Town Golf Links #18
#3 – Mauna Kea #18
#4 – Merion Golf Club East Course #5
#5 – Grand National Links Course #18
#6 – Spyglass Hill Hole #18
Besides the challenge of scaling the original holes down for a miniature course, Heiland and the resident committees paid great attention to recreating the “look” of the holes. They selected plants and trees that could emulate the original geography of the holes while discouraging plants appealing to deer, since the 55-Acre Granite Farms property includes 30 natural acres in the Brandywine Conservancy. For example, a Chinese Windmill Palm helps resemble a tropical setting and certain winter-hardy cactuses were planted for desert settings.
According to Synczyszyn, “we communicated to Adventure Golf & Sports the holes we wanted to duplicate. They did a preliminary layout and then it went to McCloskey Faber for the landscape architecture piece. So it was a collaborative effort. Adventure Golf handled the golf holes and the water features. There were a number of other contractors that worked on the project as well, including Samuels Asphalt Maintenance, Tusi Brothers Electric and Galbally Landscaping. These organizations had to come together and work under a very tight project schedule timeline in order to make it successful and it really was a great effort…and Adventure Golf wasn’t responsible for simply their timeline. Their timeline had to overlay the other people that had to come in behind them and the sequencing.
“Adventure Golf was phenomenal to work with. I say that because this was a highly-complex design, for one; and they brought to bear their skill set to make that a reality. It’s one thing to draw a picture on paper; it’s another thing to have it be constructible in the field.”
Although Heiland had been transferred to another Acts retirement community before the miniature golf course was completed, residents kept him apprised of progress. “One (resident) even did a walking tour video and sent it to me. I got very nice responses from them. I know they are truly enjoying it.”
“It really is just spectacular” said Synczyszyn. “We received very glowing remarks about the course from the residents.”
Adventure Golf & Sports is an international design/build company offering the widest line of miniature golf products and services in the world. It also provides numerous complementary products:
- Multi-use game court systems for bocce ball, croquet, lawn bowling, shuffleboard, bean bag toss, and other activities
- Pickleball and paddle tennis courts
- Golf practice centers, ranging from single golf hitting bays to courts for multiple players
- Putting greens for indoors and outdoors, either permanent or portable
For more information about the Modular Advantage® Mini Golf System and other unique miniature golf course installations, email firstname.lastname@example.org, call (231) 922-8166 or visit www.AGSGolfandSports.com.