Friday, October 06, 2006

What Silver Spring Needs - Mini Golf

I’ve decided that Downtown Silver Spring needs a miniature golf course. While all the new restaurants and movie theaters are great, we need some additional recreational options in that area. This is a outdoor activity that everyone can do and is great for dates, birthday parties, etc. I don’t remember this, but I was told that the building that used to house Champion Billiards was previously home to an indoor mini-golf course.

In recent years, development in MoCo has come at the expense of courses that were somewhat convenient to Silver Spring:

- The mini-golf course at White Flint Golf Park (which I played quite a bit) in Rockville was turned into a parking lot, which I presume is just a precursor to becoming the location of more "luxury" condos. Hell, that's not even Rockville anymore, it's "Bethesda North". The course is still viewable on Google Maps (for now).

- The Putt-Putt further up Rockville Pike, at which I attended many a birthday party as a kid, was leveled for condos as well. (Pic)

There are still a few options left, but none of them are particularly convenient to DTSS:

- You can drive way up 29 to Laurel to the Rocky Gorge course.

- Mid-Atlantic Golf center, nominally in Silver Spring, has one, but that's a bit of a hike as well.

The only other mini-golf courses in MoCo, at least to my knowlege, are in Gaithersburg , Germantown, and Kentlands. But why would anyone want to go all the way up there?

Interestingly, the District is home to one of the oldest, if not the oldest, mini-golf courses in the U.S. at East Potomac Park. Some claim that the East Potomac Park course is the oldest operating mini-golf course in the country, athough there are other courses that make the same claim. Of course, Hains Point, is literally the farthest away from Silver Spring you can get in D.C.

Where would the mini-golf course go in DTSS? What would be great is to put it on top of City Place, but that space is now taken. The future ice rink could be converted into Mini-Golf for the warmer months. I believe that's what they do at the Kentlands rink. Anyone have any other ideas?

UPDATE: Ballston is getting a mini-golf course. If they can build one, so can we. [Thanks to Dan @ Just up the Pike for the tip.]

It'd also be great if Silver Spring had its own Lucky Strike, but let's be honest, if they instituted the same dress code as the downtown location, no one in Silver Spring could get in...

Of course we did have a bowling alley right downtown for quite a long time, but it was ultimately closed because "Silver Spring's new, more affluent crowd will want sushi instead of bowling". It's now an expensive health club. You can still go play duckpin bowling in White Oak, at least.


Twoste said...

I'd be down with a driving range, especially one that was outdoor and BYOB like they have in California and Japan. On a sunny afternoon in the summer, nothing could be better.
Love driving the ball, but hate golf. Go figure.
Putt-putt would never work, people would steal all the little clubs all the time or use them to participate in muggings. Plus it would flood SS with more little children than are currently present on the globe. Yes, children from other planets would come to SS to play on our course.

Silver Springer said...

Put it on top of something but don't take up precious land. This is an urban area afterall. Jessup Blair park or Fenton Park? Maybe take part of the soccer field for it?

Twoste said...

Noooooooo! Not the soccer field, although I never get to play anymore b/c stupid Joe Ferg pulled the league due to "lack of interest." Uhhhh, hello? We have a lot of hispanics and africans in SS and they lova da futbol, as do I. Next year Joe Ferg. Next year.

thecourtyard said...

There are similar plans to open a mini-golf course in Ballston. Maybe we should talk to them and see what they're doing . . .

Sligo said...

Good find on the Ballston course.

Rfustero said...

I'm for a driving range and batting cages.

urbannomad said...

I'm all for a bowling alley I'd love that, but not so much on the mini-golf. Just seems like something some suited for far-out suburbia, not in an urban area like downtown silver spring... but if they did it right I suppose it could work.

Sligo said...


I think mini-golf is great for urban areas, as it can be done on rooftops of the buildings, which otherwise might be useless.

According to Wikipedia, there were over 150 rooftop mini-golf courses in New York City.

choateward said...

Yes, they turn the ice rink into mini-golf in the Kentlands (or at least they used to), but that makes for a pretty small mini-golf course AND takes away a potential performance area for summer concerts. I'd agree that the top floor of City Place might have made better sense, if it weren't being converted into office space (or a wider range entertainment venue like Dave & Busters).

Robin Ficker said...

We already have a mini golf course in Silver Spring. It's called the Sligo Creek Golf Course and Sligo Creek Parkway. They clipped it when they built the Beltway a few years ago. The Schweinhaut Senior Center is sitting in the middle of the old seventh fairway. I've played both courses hundreds of times. Once I got a double eagle 3 on the ninth hold by hitting over the trees behind the eighth tee.

Anonymous said...

Love the mini-golf idea. On a completely unrelated note, StoreHouse is set to close in December. I read about it in today's WaPo.

I wonder what will go in there next?

Terry said...

What about putting a putt-putt or batting cage place up on top of a building? Big old nets around it of course.

Anonymous said...

Anybody heard anything lately about plans for the civic building/ice rink? I hear park and planning is fending off any public statements when asked about what's going to happen with the green...

groovything said... golf?!

Anonymous said...

Sligo, so why are you okay with MoCo but not SoPo ??

If Rockville can become North Bethesda, Germantown can become North Potomac, why no SoPo ?

Sligo said...

It's not the abbreviation itself but the making up of a neighborhood. ("South Point")

Anonymous said...

"No Sweats or Athletic Wear." Does that prove once and for all that bowling isn't a sport? What about golf--mini or otherwise?

charles edwards said...

Mini golf is fine unless there is space for a pitch and putt or a driving range and a full size course would be perfect, the important thing is that the local community has access and reaps the benefits, mini golf can be fun but so can a driving range and it also gives serious golfers somewhere to practice. Currently at Polaris World I find that any kind of course or range can be of benefit to a community in many different ways.

Anonymous said...

I miss Monte's over in College Park.

Keith A. Grant said...

Simply look for the one you require over the web or converse with a neighborhood golf truck repair master close you.

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