Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Miniature Golf at Disneyland
Daveland reader Ross was kind enough to share his score card and photos from the beloved Golf Centre/Miniature Golf Course that used to be at the Disneyland Hotel. Here are Ross' memories:
The DL Miniature Golf Course was visible from the monorail station at the DL Hotel. It depicted Disneyland in miniature and was there from the late-'50s/early-'60s to around 1981. It was owned and operated by the Wrather company, which of course also ran the DL Hotel. And that's probably why it had fallen into some disrepair by the mid-'70s when I first visited it.
It was my first experience with miniature golf and is still high on my list of all-time favorite miniature golf courses. It's also among my all-time favorite Disneyland attractions. As far as where it was, throughout the '80s and '90s there was a strawberry field in its place with a parking lot next to it (the original parking lot for the golf course) across the street from Disneyland and separated from the Hotel by a minor street (Cerritos). Thus, certain features of it (particularly the miniature Matterhorn) could be seen from the monorail station as well as by people exiting Disneyland's parking lot on the hotel side.
I remember a lot of the holes, but there are also a lot that I don't remember at all (e.g., the octopus lair, skull rock...). I see that the Mickey Mouse fountain is listed as the last hole. My memory is that it was visible at the beginning.
Other memories: there was music from Disney films played in the different areas. For example, "Alice in Wonderland" music was played at the putt related to that attraction. (The putt itself had obstacles: large cards standing up that you had to maneuver the ball around.)
Main Street, U.S.A. consisted of the train station and I believe store fronts. At Sleeping Beauty Castle, you had to get your ball over the castle drawbridge. I vaguely remember the Moon Rocket (a facsimile of the TWA/McDonnell Douglas rocket, which was absent from Disneyland by the time I started visiting the golf course) and Autopia (where I seem to recall road signs and a cloverleaf). As I mentioned, I don't recall Octopus' Lair; however, I have spoken to another person who went there, Mike Oppenheimer (who would play there while his father, renowned golfer Joe Oppenheimer, practiced on the traditional golf course, which was on the same premises). He recalled the octopus being brownish (like the one on Submarine Voyage), and you had to thread the ball between the arms.
The Painted Desert was an area where I especially noticed signs of disrepair. There were holes in the fiberglass cliffs. The Frontierland hole featured a miniature of the Mark Twain Steamboat. Monstro has always stood out in my memory and was a miniature version of the one at Disneyland. You were supposed to hit your ball into his mouth.
In the 1990s I tried to research the golf course and actually corresponded with a few Disney Imagineers (e.g., David Mumford) who remembered it from their own childhood. I never could find out if Disney was involved in designing it.
Many thanks to Ross for sharing his memories and images!
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