Corydon’s new destination: Golf Shores
Golf Shores Fun Center ‘ a magnificent 36-hole mini-golf facility set to open in June at the site of the former Country Folks Buffet ‘ is 20 years in the making.
Actually, from the time construction began a few weeks ago to when the business will open is just a couple of months.
But the project itself ‘ which will cost just shy of $300,000 ‘ teed off two decades ago, and the ball is just now rolling into the cup.
‘The timing was just never right,’ said George Ethridge, 46. ‘Now our three kids are raised and we have a little more time to devote to something like this.’
The center will be located behind White Castle on Landmark Way north of Corydon. In addition to a pair of handicapped-accessible, 18-hole courses ‘ one set up indoors at the former Country Folks Buffet building and the other outdoors ‘ Golf Shores will have an arcade, a snack bar and four party rooms.
‘We literally played dozens of mini-golf courses and saw things we liked and didn’t like,’ Ethridge said. ‘What we didn’t want was a course with a clown face and a windmill. Their appeal is limited. We wanted something that adults, teens and pre-schoolers could take part in and have fun.
‘We saw a lot of what wasn’t allowed, and we want to focus more on what is allowed. We want people to have fun.’
The indoor course will be atmosphere-oriented and high energy, with nine holes and an underwater theme (and under a black light) and nine more holes with a jungle motif. Lights, sounds and other surprises await players as they meander through the building.
The course is a retired, prefabricated unit shipped in from Louisiana.
The signature hole is the last one in the ‘jungle’ area. The hole will be in a room all its own and will feature a seven-foot high volcano inspired by the North Harrison Marching Band’s 1998 state finalist show, ‘Nature’s Inferno.’
Depauw artist Deb Niermeier will do much of the glow-in-the-dark artwork on the ‘underwater’ holes. She’s also coordinating an effort to get local high school artists involved in the project as well.
‘It’s something the kids can take a lot of pride in. They can sign their names to the wall and come back here 20 years from now and say that they did it. It’s also a good project to put on a resum’, if that’s what they’d want to do.
‘This is a community, and I want people in the community to understand that this is their place. Outside of the outdoor 18 holes ‘ which is specialized ‘ every part of this project is being done by local contractors.’
The outdoor course will be low-key but still a challenge. It’s more of a typical golf experience, with sand traps, rough and water hazards (for the hackers, no need to worry about the golf balls sinking into the water: they float). There will be a few surprises outdoors, Ethridge promised. Just remember that course management is the key.
‘We don’t want to give everything away, but I can promise that there won’t be many holes-in-one,’ Ethridge said. ‘We’ve got a huge waterfall that will lead to a couple of ponds and a fountain spraying water 12 feet into the air, too. It’s going to be pretty nice.’
Ethridge couldn’t give a definitive answer on what the overall par would be for the two courses. He guessed that most holes on the outdoor 19 would be a par-3.
‘We want it to be a challenge,’ he said. ‘There’s a reason why there’s going to be a practice green.’
The snack bar will have light fare (‘No fried food,’ said Ethridge), including nachos, hot dogs, maybe soft ice cream, and all-you-can-drink fountain sodas.
‘We don’t want to compete with anyone in terms of the flavor of our ice cream. We want something as unique as the golf courses,’ Ethridge said. ‘On the drinks, we’ll give customers the cup and they can have as much as they want.’
The party rooms vary in size and can be rented out for birthdays (with cakes available from Madelyn’s Bakery and Cafe, just down the street), reunions, Christmas parties or corporate gatherings. Party-goers would receive a discount on golf.
Prices for a round (without a discount) would probably be $7, Ethridge said. ‘But we’re not sure if that’s going to be for 18 or 36. We’ve still got some things to figure out between now and June.
‘We’ll be pretty liberal with $1-off coupons for the groups at the schools in the area. Large groups will get an additional discount and will probably go for about $5 a person.’
‘We’d like to get on the PGMA (Professional Miniature Golf Association) Tour at some point,’ Ethridge said. ‘So we’ll have league play and go from there.’