Would you like to improve your miniature golf game?
“If you can hold a golf club and follow any kind of instruction, you can play miniature golf,” said Bert Ayers, owner of the Red Barn Village, Newton Township, Clarks Summit, who offers miniature golf enthusiasts a “Top Ten List” of suggestions to improve their game.
Bert and Nancy Ayers opened the miniature golf course on Memorial Day 1979. Construction got underway the preceding summer. Initially, there were 18 holes, including the last hole where players lose their ball or win a free game. A few years later, they added a 19th hole to the course.
“I was absolutely convinced it would work. I saw it on television show, but I had never played. It was such a cool thing,” explained Ayers, whose father, Carl, was a bit skeptical at first.
“He was a little resistant to getting it off the ground,” he said of his father’s reaction to his plan. “We proposed it to my father in the spring, 1978. I got a flat response.”
What people may not realize is no matter how old you are or who you are, you can play miniature golf, according to Ayers, whose customer base is multi-generational.
“People constantly tell us ‘I played here when I was 12 and these are my kids,’” he said.
“The idea is,” he added, “not to lift that ball, to get it to roll along the carpet.”
And “the name of the game is to keep it (the ball) inside the boundaries.”
When teaching a young child, he advises, “The object of the game for a young child in the 3 to 4-year-old age range is to keep the ball inside the boundary. It doesn’t matter how many strokes it takes. Regardless of the number of strokes it takes to get the ball in the hole, give them (children) the par noted on the card and then they can play along and feel they’re part of the game.”
He also noted that miniature golf is “a good way to teach children discipline. It’s really not that difficult. With traditional miniature golf courses, skills can be developed.”
Ayers encourages folks playing miniature golf to read the rules prior to beginning a round. Signage is provided at the course for anyone who needs a reminder.