Arrrh! Lake George’s Pirate’s Cove a mini golf adventure

At Pirate's Cove, mini golfers get traditional colored balls, but they also get an education about g
Lily Mulholland, left, and sister Molly check the stocks at the Pirate's Cove miniature golf course in Lake George. (Jeff Wilkin/Gazette Reporter)
Lily Mulholland, left, and sister Molly check the stocks at the Pirate's Cove miniature golf course in Lake George. (Jeff Wilkin/Gazette Reporter)

Pirate’s Cove

There will be no escape for the pirate imprisoned in Lake George.

It’s much too late — tattered clothes cover skull and bones, and what’s left of his arms are chained to a wall. Pieces of copper and silver lie at his feet, pennies, nickels and dimes left by the merciful.

The scene is one of the diversions at Pirate’s Cove, an 18-hole miniature golf course on Route 9, just north of Route 9N. There are no giant lobsters or miniature windmills on the greens; company-described “adventure golf” puts people under a waterfall, on fishnet-covered bridges and atop steep hills where a quick putt means a long roll down.

Like other miniature golf courses in the area, the Cove will attract summer crowds of parents and small kids, high school kids, college students, senior citizens and couples on first dates.

“I think it’s the mystery of the pirates and the portrayal of pirates in the movies, that gives you a little bit of an excitement about being on the course,” said manager Frank Cabana, a former Queensbury High School teacher and coach, explaining part of the popularity.

The courses are popular in 13 other states besides New York. There are 25 Pirate’s Coves currently in operation. The Lake George course has been open since 2001; another local course — on Route 9 in Queensbury near The Great Escape amusement park — started in 1997.

Players get traditional colored balls, but they also get educations about guys who made bandanas on heads and knives in teeth fashionable. Placards that offer pirate legends and facts — such as their reputations for sea raids and poor culinary choices — are scattered around the lush landscape. Pirate scenes, like pirates drinking in taverns and spending their loot, are other attractions.

The most famous part of the Lake George Cove is the blue-tinted waterfall in the center of the course. Golfers walk into a small cave and find themselves behind the cascading water. Holes in the cave’s front wall offer players the chance to look through the falls.

Nobody on a miniature golf course ever seems to be in a bad mood. “I just like playing the game because my grandfather golfs,” said Lily Mulholland, 10, of Glens Falls, on the greens with her sister Molly, 8, and their friend, baby-sitter Nora Borgos.

For some people, “adventure golf” becomes an exercise in nostalgia.

“We just wanted to play some miniature golf,” said Luke Olivieri of White Plains, walking the course with a girlfriend. “I think there were one or two of these places in Cape Cod I used to play as a kid.”

For younger people, the pirates and their antics are the major draw. “It adds a lot of flavor to the course,” said Ramansh Pokharel, 13, of downstate New York. “It really adds to the scenery.”

Pirate trinkets are available after the 18th hole. Kids and adults also can stick their hands and heads in punishment stocks for photographic souvenirs.

The Cove charges $8.95 for adult golfers and $7.95 for kids. Cabana said dollar-off coupons can be found in several local publications.

“It’s something the whole family can do,” Cabana said. “And skillwise, it’s something everybody can do, whether you golf or not. I used to golf with my kids and they used to beat me, so there’s some luck involved.”

Here’s a link to all the stories we’ve written about fun things to do this summer. And share your ideas for Summer Days at or at [email protected]

Categories: Life and Arts, News, Schenectady County

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