This Saturday, May 12th, America celebrates National Miniature Golf Day — and Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, Historic City News readers can play a round of carpet golf at the Bayfront Putt-Putt for free; compliments of Ripley’s Believe it or Not Odditorium and Ripley’s Red Sightseeing Trains.
You may not realize that miniature golf has a long history that dates back to the 1800’s, even though they did not begin to pop up in America until the early 20th century.
During the Romantic Era in Scotland, the Ladies’ Putting Club had a miniature golf course in St. Andrews — an 18-hole putting green exclusively for women.
Miniature golf courses in the United States were often located at hotels and private resorts, so they were not yet available to the masses.
In 1916, James Barbar of North Carolina designed “Thistle Dhu,” the first quintessential miniature golf course. The course was neo-classically designed, similar to the Tuileries Garden at the Louvre in Paris.
The Great Depression is credited for the growth and popularity of miniature golf in America at a time when a game of putt-putt cost less than going to see a movie. Miniature golf continued to grow steadily in popularity during the Depression and beyond.
The Bayfront Putt-Putt course that is owned by the City of St Augustine and has been operated by Ripley Entertainment over the past 5 years was first opened in 1949.
Ripley’s is offering free mini golf at the Bayfront putt-putt on Friday, May 11th through Monday, May 14th.