Pro golfers Rory McIlroy and Jim Furyk worry about long putts and sand traps.
Amateur players Fanter Lane and his sister Finn must consider the giant red lobster and tall tan kangaroo when they try to conquer the greens in Lake George. Harry C. Horn’s seasonal employees are still on the job.
62 Days of Summer
Horn, a Lake George businessman who died in May at age 91, opened his twin miniature golf courses on Beach Road (across from the Lake George Steamboat Co.) in 1953. Generations of kids and their parents have hit orange, red and blue balls at “Around the U.S.A. in 18 Holes” and “Around the World in 18 Holes.”
The courses are well maintained, with grass and hedges neatly trimmed. But the vacation set cares more about the layouts. There’s a working windmill on the premises — windmills and moving sails are favorites at many miniature courses — but Harry jazzed up his U.S.A. course with a casino roulette wheel for his Las Vegas hole, a working miniature oil well for his Texas exhibit and a portion of the Churchill Downs race track — complete with lif size horse — for ol’ Kentucky. The lobster is a stand-in for smaller relatives in Maine.
The world course offers three giant brick pyramids for Egypt, a Viking ship for Norway and Paul Bunyan as Canada’s representative — although Paul is more closely associated with American folklore. The kangaroo, with red boxing gloves, is Australia’s champion. Ideally, the ball ramps up into the kangaroo’s pouch, and exits his long, extended tail toward the hole.
“It’s all hand-made,” said Ruenrudee Horn, Harry’s widow and now the complex owner. “People who come here say ‘I was here when I was a kid, and now I’m bringing my kids.’ ”
Many of the characters have been in place for decades. Ruenrudee added that each hole offers some education about world and country, like languages, monetary systems, capitols and nicknames. “We try to teach a little, too,” she said.
Fanter, 16, and Finn Lane had no problems golfing from state to state. “They’re all pretty fun, they’re all pretty different,” said Finn, 13.
“Part of coming up to New York is coming to this miniature golf course,” said the teens’ mother, Cary Lane. “It’s part of their anticipated vacation.”
Kids like some holes better than others, like the oversized yellow sombrero that brings golfers to Mexico. Gabby Vaisey, 13, of North Warren and three friends lined up, and Gabby punched her red ball up the green and into the hat opening. The ball rolled around the interior of the hat “brim” and entered the fairway. She had just missed a spectacular finish.
“Almost a hole in one,” said Riley May, 13, a member of the foursome.
Either course costs $7.95 for adults and $6.25 for kids aged 2 through 11. If golfers play one course first, the second course can be played at a reduced rate. Free parking — and a nearby ice cream stand — are other perks.
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Categories: Schenectady County