Looking for a top-notch miniature golf course on the Jersey Shore? Rich Lahey, president of an industry-leading design and construction firm, suggests a course with “rippling mounds in the greens, sand traps and water features, but no clowns or kitsch windmills”.
Kitsch clowns and windmills? This can only be a reference to miniature golf of the 1950s and 1960s. But, thanks in part to Harris Miniature Golf in Lahey, the industry has (mostly) left behind its image as a hokey roadside attraction.
Harris courses appear along the coast and throughout New Jersey, as well as in 49 out of 50 states and other countries around the world.
What are the best, newest and most exciting Shore courses to check out this summer? Experts weigh in.
CAP MAY COUNTY
Harris VP Kaitlyn Conaboy particularly likes the 18 holes Island Miniature Golf in Wildwood (4501 New Jersey Avenue) for its family atmosphere. “It’s such a beautiful course with a big cave and a waterfall,” she said.
Another Harris favorite is the 19 hole Medieval-fantasy mini-golf on the Ocean City Boardwalk, performed in a black-light room and outdoors in a covered area.
Leaning into the Wildwoods Doo Wop architectural style is Starlux Mini Golf (4800 Ocean Avenue), featuring three nine-hole courses with a giant sand dune, plastic palm trees and a fire pit to enjoy boardwalk delights.
Since 1938, Stockton Golf on the grounds of Stockton Hostels in Cape May (809 Beach Avenue) offers miniature golf. Harris has rebuilt the course with gardens and over 150 different species of plants that attract native birds and butterflies.
In downtown Stone Harbor, Miniature Golf Club 18 (9505 Third Avenue) spans five different levels. Children can play while their parents shop.
There is no place more iconic than Atlantic City Miniature Golf (1 Kennedy Plaza), built in 2000 on the famous promenade, the oldest in the country. Kerri Lahey-Alexander, who manages several Harris courses, calls the design “very garden-like”, with a Victorian flair, and adds: “The boardwalk is great for people-watching.”
Recently opened in AC East North Beach Mini Golf (120 Euclid Avenue) across from the Absecon Lighthouse in Atlantic City. Reflecting AC’s varied past, the course features a smuggling theme, nautical elements and even a craps table-shaped hole.
The nautical theme is well worth seeing Jen’s links to LBI at Barnegat Light (501 Broadway), which Harris COO Glenn Lynn describes as a “breathtaking high-end course” overlooking Barnegat Bay. Both 18-hole courses feature greens played through a shipwreck, around a fishing village, beside waterfalls and rolling cliffs, and through caves and caverns.
For 55 years, a 25-foot bearded giant has dominated the ninth hole of the Barnacle Bill Miniature Golf at Ortley Beach (1968 Route 35N). After Hurricane Sandy, he watched Harris rebuild the course in 2013.
Imaginatively designed on several levels, the two 18-hole courses of Castaway Cove Miniature Golf at Jenkinson’s Boardwalk at Point Pleasant Beach (300 Ocean Avenue) offer ocean views and shaded sections as respite from hot summer days.
Uniquely created for people with special needs, the Toms River Field of Dreams (1505 North Bay Avenue) opened this spring with a nine-hole miniature golf course. The public is welcome from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. every day.
Top among enthusiasts is Bluegrass Miniature Golf next to Monmouth Park Racecourse in Oceanport (175 Oceanport Avenue). Twice in the last decade, the ProMiniGolf Association has played its national championship on the two 18-hole Bluegrass courses. Jersey Shore BlueClaws mini-golf enthusiast Greg Giombarrese says, “It’s tough, but the game is fair.
The rebuilt 18-hole course Shipwreck Island Mini Golf is located along the Bradley Beach boardwalk (800 Ocean Avenue). The shipwrecked ship S.S. Sandyis a nod to Hurricane Sandy, which leveled the old course in 2012.
Asbury Eighteen Mini-Golf adjoins the Asbury Park boardwalk and is next to the popular Silverball Museum Arcade (which made our list of 52 things you must do in New Jersey).
Looking for more Shore fun this summer? To verify New Jersey Monthly’s list of the best things to do.
North Beach Mini Golf, Asbury Eighteen Mini-Golf and Castaway Cove were built by companies other than Harris Miniature Golf.
Click here to leave a comment