Mini in Maine

Tony officially enters dynasty status as #MiniInMaine comes to a rainy end

“What are you guys doing out there playing in the rain?” 

As Mike, Tony and Alex putted around a well-worn, but charming campground mini golf course in southern Maine late in the AM hours on a Monday in early June, there was a passerbyer that couldn’t help but stop what she was doing to question how we got to this point. It’s understandable. But for us, it’s a place we couldn’t be happier to be in. Being there in that moment was about our commitment to the dream of celebrating our friendship, miniature golf and the American dream. This year our five days in Maine were amazing. We shook the hands of longtime small business owners. We unexpectedly learned from legends of the game. We continued our commitment to the journey. 

This morning the journey wasn’t exactly easy - it rained through all three courses we played. One of them wasn’t open, so we had a heck of a time trying to find the maintenance worker who (thankfully!) let us in. But it was, of course, another memorable day. The highlights were meeting the owners of Mountain View Golf in Sanford, Maine and Salmon Falls River Camping Resort and Shipwrecked Mini Golf in Lebanon, Maine. These people are passionate about the sport, looking to make a difference in their community and showed us an overwhelming amount of hospitality.

Mountain View Golf has largest lobster on a mini golf course

Mountain View will definitely go down as one of our favorite courses. The owner designed some really unique holes that you’ll find nowhere else. One was the cousin of Winnie the Pooh, Willie the Poop, as he poops the ball out if you hit your first shot (which Tony did...). Another memorable one is pictured above where we posed with a huge lobsta. He knows the exact size and weight of that Maine-inspired monument. He also awarded Tony a medal for winning the round. 

Tony is leaving with more than just that medal and a trophy he won at Dolphin Mini Golf the day before. He’s leaving with that same ring he came with as he dominated this tournament for four of the five days, while very rarely claiming the title of course loser. It’s four straight years for the tall man, and it’s time to officially call his run a dynasty. 

Ultimately, that’s just a side show. The trip to Maine was an incredible one for the three of us. We were honored by the people who showed interest in our stories. We were inspired by the high level of dedication the owners of these courses had. We continued a lifelong friendship with each other that’s only grown deeper as we’ve continued along our journey, through rainy times like today and the sunshine. 

Thank you to Maine and all the wonderful people we met along the way! To relive the good times, we urge you to get on and follow us on Instagram. While on our page, you can sort through some of the best highlights, including sections dedicated to hole-in-one’s, animals we met along the way and much, much more. You can also expect to learn more about our travels by bookmarking this website. We have no idea where 2019 will take us, but we can tell you there are 40 states left to be explored, and we won’t stop until we get to all of them!  

Follow us on Instagram - @TheMiniGolfGuys 

 

A legend is met on day four of #MiniInMaine

The Mini Golf Guys have been to many courses. MANY courses over the years. We’ve met some great people, we’ve seen many grates over water hazards and tonight we met one of the most legendary people in all of mini golf.

Meet Lee Stoddard. U.S. Pro Mini Golf Hall of Famer, owner of a U.S. government-recognized mini golf course in Maine and all-around hell of a guy. Lee Stoddard’s bio on the ProMiniGolf page states, “Stoddard’s love for mini golf drove him to open his own course, Dolphin Mini Golf in Boothbay, Maine 25 years ago. He joined U.S. Pro Mini Golf Association in 1997, and held one of the USPMGA’s most prestigious tournaments: The US Open.” It was actually the first time the tournament left its home in South Carolina. 

This guy was a wonderful host, told some great stories and even showed us how to score a hole in one on the tricky 18th green. The Dolphin Mini Golf course was completely designed by him and his family, with attention to detail throughout the course. For being a 25+ year old course, it was quite impressive. The best part: He knows the trick to get a hole in one on every hole. To us, that’s how mini golf should be played. The hope for a hole-in-one needs to always be there. Huge thanks to Lee!

In other highlights of the day, we thoroughly enjoyed a visit with Mary at Rockport Mini Golf. It’s a course that’s been open for more than 40 years, and in her family for more than two decades. The course was classic, but challenging. It was well taken care of, with some gorgeous shrubbery throughout the course. She told some memorable stories about her history with the sport, including a tragic story about the course’s original designer. He tragically passed away while designing his second course, but “he died doing what he loved,” Mary said. It was a moving conversation with the long-time mini golf enthusiast. 

Day Four of Mini Golf in Maine Side Notes

  1. The Rockport Mini Golf Course is for sale, if you’re interested in getting in the business, please make the purchase to keep this classic course kicking. Details: http://www.loopnet.com/Listing/773-Commercial-St-Rockport-ME/6445810/
  2. For the biggest fans of The Mini Golf Guys, a little preview: We shot video interviews with Lee and Mary. We’ll get those out to you guys during the off season. You’ll love those videos. 

In other news, we enjoyed some more Gifford’s Ice Cream at Deb’s Ice Cream & Mini Golfs, and we finished the night at Poland Springs Resort, and its creative nine-hole course. Shoutout to Pearl and Megan at Poland Springs, who stayed up for an extra hour for us. 

As for results - the ugly got uglier. Tony has basically clinched the 2018 title, making it four straight years he might win, for seven wins in total, for the first 10 years we have played. More to come on that tomorrow. As we finish up our trip with three courses on Monday morning - Shaw’s Ridge Farm Ice Cream, BBQ Barn & Mini Golf, Mountain View Golf Range and Salmon Falls River Camping Resort / Shipwrecked Mini Golf. 

The Mini Golf Guys with Mary at Rockport Mini Golf in Rockport, ME.  

The Mini Golf Guys with Mary at Rockport Mini Golf in Rockport, ME.  

The Mini Golf Guys make TV debut

Day two of #MiniInMaine brought things to a new level - we were lucky enough to meet three of the ~40 people who work at the corporate office at Gifford’s Ice Cream in Skowhegan and we made our small screen debut as we met Morgan Sturdivant from WABI TV5 in Bangor. 

Sturdivant took the time to take a shot on the course with us, and did a great job telling our story. It played on the 5, 6 and 11 p.m. news on the local station, and the full story can be found on the WABI website. There’s even a teaser video of what showed up on the 5 p.m. news. Big thanks to Morgan, Angela and everyone else at WABI for showcasing our story. 

The stop at Gifford’s was cool for us as JC, Sadie and Sam made time to welcome us to their original course, which the family business took over more than 30 years ago. JC and Sadie joined us for a group photo, the one you see above. We also visited their course in Waterville, but were unfortuantely rained out before we finished it. The ice cream, though, was delicious (Tony enjoyed the Maine Wild Blueberry flavor with Caramel Sea Salt Truffle). We are also enjoying the t-shirts and hats they gave us. Thanks guys! It’s cool to see a brand like that, which is the official ice cream of the Boston Bruins, following our experience.

We also visited Benton Family Fun Park, Blackbeard’s and The Sports Arena, which were all awesome. We met the owners of the first two and spent time with a great bartender, Brent, at The Sports Arena, who recognized us the moment we talked in from our WABI TV5 appearance earlier in the night.

As for results - more of the same. Tony is up by nine over Alex and 25 over Mike. The fourth consecutive year of Tony winning is looking more and more realistic. As a whole, we have just under 2,000 strokes through two days. That’ll slow as we have a short day coming around tomorrow, before the marathon day on Sunday, and another short day Monday. More to come!  

Reminder - follow us on Instagram for great updates all tournament, @TheMiniGolfGuys

Morgan Sturdivant, from WABI TV5 in Bangor, joined us today on the course for our first TV interview!

Morgan Sturdivant, from WABI TV5 in Bangor, joined us today on the course for our first TV interview!

Maine - exceeding all expectations through day one

One heck of a first day for #MiniInMaine! ... of course Tony is winning, but more on that later. The people and the courses have been amazing so far. We played eight rounds at seven locations, rolling into Maine from Boston and playing our way north to Auburn. Below are a couple of the best highlights of the first day. 

Wells, Maine offers two incredible courses  

We started off our trip by going to the Wells Beach Resort Campground and Wonder Mountain Fun Park. Both courses were creative and taken care of by people that genuinely care about the sport. The resort campground was especially of high quality - great little challenges throughout as it was designed by a former NASA engineer. A huge shoutout to Andy at Wonder Mountain, who let us play all 36 holes before the place was actually open. That course includes some unique, classic holes, and a mountain that provides fun challenges. If you only get to do one of their courses, we suggest Mountain Mania. 

Schooner’s giant boat was a first for us

Donna and her husband run a great mini golf ship down in Saco at Schooner’s Miniature Golf as they live and work at the course, which features a giant boat for hole 11. It was a cool thing to see, and the slight movement of it offered a forgiving host to Mike as he won that round. They were great hosts for us, and that’s definitely a memorable course.

Tabers offers the best view with mini golf we’ve seen

Overlooking Lake Auburn, Tabers On the Lake is a restaurant and golf center that was an amazing final stop for us. We talked extensively with the course’s owner Dan, including getting some interesting behind-the-scenes looks at the business end of things. Dan and his wife revamped the course completely a couple years ago, and their passion for running a great business was obvious. If you go, definitely get yourself a double cheeseburger and the onion rings. They were both to die for. 

Final notes on Day 1

Of course, Tony is winning. He slow played it, but kept within striking distance.  Then he struck, winning the final round of the day by four strokes to take the lead. He’s one stroke ahead of Mike and six on Alex. His hope of going back-to-back-to-back-to-back is still alive.

More important than that, we have a new and better way for people to connect with us. Our Instagram story was a blast today, and we’re looking forward to keeping that going tomorrow as we hit two Gifford’s Ice Cream courses, hopefully get together with a reporter from WABI-TV5 in Bangor and of course, much more. 

FOLLOW US ON INSTAGRAM - @TheMiniGolfGuys

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The Mini Golf Guys explored Maine Indoor Karting, which has a neat indoor nine-hole course in its facility. Alex won that round, one of two rounds he won on the day. 

Planning is done, the tourney starts Thursday

The planning is in, and The Mini Golf Guys are ready for the 2018 trip! We have nearly 30 courses planned, starting in the southern tip and heading toward Bangor / Bar Harbor. Below is a quick look at the courses and agenda. If you have any great ideas for things we should do, be sure to comment on our Instagram, comment on this story or e-mail one of us! 

Wednesday

Arrive in Boston where we’ll stay downtown. The only plans for the night is to check out Boston’s oldest bar, Bell in Hand Tavern. 

Thursday

We’ll be hitting up a bunch of courses on this day as we get started and enter the great state of Maine for the first time as a group. A couple exciting highlights for this day include some really unique looking eastern seaboard courses in Schooner and Martel’s, and we’re very excited about our stop at Tabers. The owner mentioned that some of the locals who play in a league at the course might be joining us. Hopefully more details to come! It should work out well for us, as we’re spending the night on a riverfront home in Auburn. 

Mini Golf Courses in Wells, Moody, Saco, Portland and Auburn areas

  • Wells Beach Resort Campground (Wells, Maine)
  • Wonder Mountain Fun park (Moody, Maine)
  • Schooner Miniature Golf (Saco, Maine)
  • Pirate’s Cove Adventure Golf (Old Orchard Beach, Maine)
  • Martel’s Ice Cream (Saco, Maine)
  • Maine Indoor Karting (Scarborough, Maine)
  • Roys Allsteak Hamburgers and Golf Center (Auburn, Maine)
  • Tabers Restaurant and Golf (Auburn, Maine)

Friday

The pace will keep up on the second date, but really the highlight of the trip should be the first media interview in The Mini Golf Guys history as we’ve been in touch with a reporter out of WABI TV5 in Bangor. Additional fun should be checking out Gifford’s, which is the official ice cream of the Boston Bruins, but also home of two old school roadside attraction type of courses that should be memorable. The Benton Family Fun Park is another that should be a wonderful time, as the owner Tim contacted us and invited us to reach out to him prior to our arrival. One thing we could use some help with, does anyone know anything about Deb’s Ice Cream & Mini Golf in Randolph? We can’t seem to get an answer when we call. Hopefully they’ll be open! We’re excited not just to be interviewed for TV5, but we’ll be staying locally that night. No doubt they’ll have three eager chaps watching anxiously. 

Mini Golf Courses in Randolph, Benton and Bangor areas

  • Deb’s Ice Cream & Mini Golf (Randolph, Maine)
  • Gifford’s Mini Golf & Batting (Waterville, Maine)
  • Benton Family Fun park (Benton, Maine)
  • Gifford’s Ice Cream (Skowhegan, Maine)
  • Blackbeard’s (Bangor, Maine)
  • Traditions Golf Center (Holden, Maine)
  • The Sports Arena (Hermon, Maine)

Saturday

Our lowest key day of the trip will be the slide south from Bangor to Bar Harbor, where we’ll be spending Saturday night. There are only two courses on the route, meaning we might get a couple rounds in at each. More importantly for that night, all sources look like we might be enjoying some local lobster while on the island. Yum. Checking out Acadia National Park should be pretty amazing two.  

Mini Golf Courses near Bar Harbor 

  • Wild Acadia Fun Park & Water Slides (Trenton, Maine) 
  • Pirate’s Cove Adventure Golf (Bar Harbor, Maine) 

Sunday

This looks to be the busiest day of the trip as we head clear across Maine back to where we started. We’ll be spending the night in Saco, and hitting nine courses en route, likely starting with some A.M. golfing in the lovely city of Rockport. One of the highlights of the trip will be Steamboat Landing, which looks from the outside to be the coolest course we’ll hit on the trip. The place looks gorgeous. 

Mini Golf Courses near Rockport and Brunswick

  • Golfer’s Crossing (Rockport, Maine)
  • Rockport Mini Golf (Rockport, Maine)  
  • Dolphin Mini Golf (Boothbay, Maine)
  • Bath Golf Club (Bath, Maine)
  • Sandbaggers Driving Range & Mini Golf (Brunswick, Maine) 
  • Poland Springs Resort (Poland, Maine)
  • Steamboat Landing (Naples, Maine)
  • Point Sebago (Casco, Maine) - if we can get in, private club..
  • Seacoast Adventure (Windham, Maine)

Monday

The final day will have no letdowns as we’ll be finishing with some pretty classic courses. The first of which is Shaw’s Ridge. The place appears to have all of my favorite things - barbecue food, ice cream and, of course, mini golf. They’re offering us exclusive access to the course even though it will be closed, which is amazing. The year will finish with the famous Shipwrcked Mini Golf in Lebanon where the ring will be passed to the next winner.  

Mini Golf Courses in Sanford and Lebanon Maine

  • Shaw’s Ridge Farm Ice Cream, BBQ Barn & Mini Golf (Sanford, Maine)
  • Mountain View Golf Range (Sanford, Maine) 
  • Shipwrecked Mini GOlf at Salmon Falls River Camping Resort (Lebanon, Maine) 

 

It’s not too late to help us making this trip even better! E-mail mhbabcock9@gmail.com with any suggestions on places to stay, comment on this story or comment on one of our Instagram posts, @TheMiniGolfGuys. 

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