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Golf Shores Fun Center: A hole in one for family fun

August 27, 2008
Gas prices got you down? Don't know of any way to beat the heat? Think affordable family fun is a thing of the past? Well, if you're in need of some welcome distractions, look no further than your own backyard. Residents of Crawford, Floyd and Harrison counties will be pleased to learn that there are plenty of interesting places to visit within the tri-county area that don't require a lot of money for admission or traveling. In a new weekly column, the Clarion News will feature places that you can take your family for a good time on the cheap. This week we'll be featuring Golf Shores Fun Center.

The outdoor course at Golf Shores Fun Center offers a challenging and fun game of putt-putt for both first-timers and veterans. The use of a lot of shrubs and water features also creates a beautiful and calming atmosphere which may make those frustrating bogies seem less frustrating. (Photos by Nick Simpson)
For those of you who love the game of golf but just don't like how long it takes to play a full game, or for those of you who excel at the short game but just can't get that driving thing down, you're in luck because close to home you'll find a golf course that has all the best elements of golf compressed into a smaller scale.

Golf Shores Fun Center in Corydon offers what some say is the best miniature golf in the region at a reasonable price, and the best part is that you only have to carry around one club.

The three-year-old business is the brainchild of New Salisbury residents George and Patti Ethridge who wanted a place where friends and family can come together to have a good time and experience the joy of mini-golf that is usually only reserved for a small few who happen upon near a hotel while on vacation, such was the case for the Ethridges.

"When we vacationed with our kids, we would always look for the hotels with mini-golf because that was something the kids could play no matter what age," Patti Ethridge said, "and it was something you never got to do except on vacation."

Over the years, the idea of a mini-golf course close to home began to grow in the Ethridges' minds, and when the kids grew up and moved on, the opportunity presented itself.

Under the spray of a nearby waterfall, two golfers face a tough Hole 10.
The Ethridges decided to buy a vacant building and property on Landmark Drive in Corydon. The building, which was once a restaurant, provided the infrastructure and a jumping off point for their dream business of running a mini-golf course. The location was chosen for both its close proximity to the hotels in Corydon, as well as its closeness to the Ethridges' New Salisbury home.

After purchasing the old building, the Ethridges proceeded to fix the place up and enlisted the help of nationally recognized Harris Miniature Golf Course Inc. to design and build the mini-golf course.

The Ethridges wanted a course that could prove to be both easy for the younger crowd, as well as challenging for the older crowd. They also wanted a course that was handicap accessible, a feature they thought was lacking on some courses they had visited, so that even kids and adults in wheelchairs could enjoy a fun game of mini-golf without the hassle of stairs.

The outdoor course has proven to be both fun and competitive, with Golf Shores hosting an annual $500 Harris Tournament that sees winners going on to a national tournament with a purse of $10,000. The most recent tournament was held Aug. 17, where the winner ended up gong eight under with a score of 34. The tournament was held not only as a qualifier for the Harris Cup, but also as a fundraiser for the local YMCA.

Here's an example of some of the amazingly vibrant artwork a golfer will find glowing on the black light indoor course at Golf Shores. All the artwork was done by children from seven local schools.
Providing an excellent outdoor course might be enough for some mini-golf entrepreneurs but not the Ethridges. They also wanted an indoor course, so that their business could remain open year-round. This move was not only a good financial decision for their fledgling business, but beneficial to the children in the community. They wanted a place where kids with mid-winter birthdays could have parties, too, Patti Ethridge said.

So, the Ethridges decided to build an indoor course, but not just any indoor mini-golf course. They wanted a black light course. The inspiration for the course came from a vacation the Ethridges took to San Jose, where they encountered an indoor black light mini-golf course with all sorts of neon and fluorescent artwork adorning the walls of the course. Ethridge thought at the time that school children could do better artwork, and so when it came time to build the indoor course, they enlisted the help of children from seven local schools to paint the walls and design sculptures out of mortar. The youngest artist working on the project was 9.

The course took the kids the entire summer of 2005 to decorate, but the end result looks phenomenal and the students got to sign their names to their artwork. Ethridge said she still has kids come in who helped decorate who want to show off their name to relatives or friends.

Illustration by Alisha Sonner
In addition to the two golf courses, Golf Shores Fun Center also has a well-stocked video arcade. They have recently added a coffee shop and Internet lounge as well where golfers who bring their laptops can surf the web with free WiFi.

As mentioned before, Golf Shores does hold fundraisers for local groups like the YMCA, but they also serve the community in other ways. They are regular hosts to a wide variety of church and youth groups, not to mention birthday parties, as well as a popular field trip site for local schools. With four private party rooms and an extra-large conference room upstairs, the center is big enough to host even the heftiest of family reunions or church congregations.

* * *

Cost: First 18 Holes - $7

Senior Citizens - $6

Additional 18 Holes - $5

Play All Day Pass - $15

Group Rates are Available.

Children under 6 get in FREE with paid adult.

Military discounts available.

For more information: www.golfshoresfuncenter.com

Hours: Open 7 Days a Week

Sunday-Thursday: 9 a.m. - 10 p.m.

Friday & Saturday: 9 a.m. - Midnight

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