Saturday, August 7, 2010

Miniature Golf in Memphis — An Update

Posted By on Sat, Aug 7, 2010 at 10:41 PM

PuttPutt-WSHSyearbook1961.jpg
Over the past year or so, I've posted a photo or two of miniature golf courses in Memphis, which have generated a lot of comments and discussion from readers. The Putt Putt on Perkins certainly caused some dispute, since nobody could agree, it seems, precisely where it was located.

Well, Audrey Smith, the former owner of that establishment, and — at one time or another — all the other Putt Putt golf places in town, has contacted me to set the record straight. Here's what he had to say:

"The Putt Putt was at 555 Perkins Extended and was owned by R.D. Buie of Hickory, North Carolina. [This would have been on the WEST side of Perkins, at Southern — Vance] They lost their lease in 1963 and I purchased the entire course on October 1, 1963, and ran it for one month before closing it. That winter I negotiated a lease across the street at 560 Perkins Extended where Chili's now sits. That winter and spring I moved everything including the sod (weeds) across the street and rebuilt the Putt Putt, which opened that June of 1964. It remained there for seven years. That Putt Putt sign (above) was at that Putt Putt. In 1966 I also built the Putt Putt at 5484 Summer Ave that is still there to this day in 2010, though remodeled several times."

Aubrey then sent additional information, about all the other miniature golf courses that were built in Memphis over the years. See if you remember some (or all) of these:

"My previous comment should clarify the 560 Perkins Extended and 5484 Summer Ave locations, but the Mt. Moriah location was built around 1975 and was closed in the late '90s, when I sold the property. The waterslide was at the Golf and Games location at 5484 Summer Ave in the early 1970s and was there for four years. It sat exactly where the bumper boats are now. The waterslide was owned by Dan Wilkinson, Milton Knowlton, and Richard Kramer, who leased the spot from me. I never owned the waterslide, but was only the landlord. The unfortunate accident occurred in the first year of operation during a private party for Libertyland employees. About 14 [people] fell 40 feet through girders and concrete and miraculously NO ONE DIED. There were a few broken bones and one serious injury to a young lady who was paralyzed. The next year the slide was purchased by David Martin, who ran it for three years.

"As for other miniature golf courses that I remember in Memphis in past years, in the 1950s there were at least two on Lamar: Fran-Ricks and Pla-mor. In the 1960s and 70's Cherokee Bowling Lanes had an indoor Putt Putt. Cloverleaf briefly had a miniature golf. Summer Ave. had one in the 50's, where Imperial Lanes now is. Libertyland had one. Of course both Als locations had courses. Putt-n-Stuff was at Perkins and I-240 for a few years.

"Imperial Bowling Lanes had an indoor course for awhile. More recently there were Bogey's and Celebration Station, both recently closed. The Putting Edge at Peabody Place may still be open, I'm not sure, but it would be the only miniature golf course now in Memphis besides my Golf and Games Family Park Putt Putt and Incredible Pizza. — Aubrey Smith, owner, builder and operator of Golf and Games Family Park at 5484 Summer Ave, Memphis, TN"

Thanks for the information and memories, Aubrey!

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