Mini golf at Lac Pelletier a pretty experience
Probably one of the best kept secrets of a visit to Lac Pelletier Regional Park is hidden between a variety of trees and shrubs planted more than 50 years ago by a founding member of the park.
The 18-hole miniature golf course appears to have sprung up from between the lush growth of spruce trees, poplars, olive bushes and overgrown lilacs, with a tree even growing in the middle of the course at the third hole.
It has been owned and operated by Keith and Linda Allan since 1994, when they started their miniature golf business. It includes a games arcade and a gift shop that also sells soft serve ice cream.
“I call us the prettiest little mini golf in southwest Saskatchewan, if not Saskatchewan,” Linda said proudly.
It is located just behind the park’s main office on a site that was completely overgrown when they decided to develop a miniature golf course.
“When we decided to build it and asked the park about it, it was just a jungle,” Keith recalled. “We needed to clean it all up. It just had been abandoned for so long. So we had this dream that we could make it into something for the kids.”
He designed the course layout with the aim to keep all the trees that were already on site. Many of the trees were planted by Alphonse Pelletier before the official creation of the park in 1964, including a circle of spruce trees.
“I think originally he had set that up maybe for group camping or picnicking,” Keith said. “He sure was a visionary. … He was the one that envisioned that it could be something for everybody, a park. He gave up a tremendous amount of his time to do the planting of all these trees.”
The Allan family has been involved with the development of Lac Pelletier Regional Park since its establishment. Norman Allan was a member of the original board in 1964 and Keith followed in his father’s footsteps when he served on the board for about five years during the 1980s.
Keith was part of the board’s planning for the Heritage subdivision and the modernization of camp sites.
“I really enjoyed it,” he said. “I guess I’m kind of a dreamer because I like to see things keep on happening to turn something that wasn’t there into something nice.”
He and fellow board member John Froese came up with the idea of a miniature golf course and they built it by hand.
“Our whole family was here when they were doing the cement,” Linda recalled. “We were all putting in bolts.”
She was employed for about 12 years by the regional park. Initially there was not a camp office where campers could pay their fees.
“So I went and collected camping, my son and I did it,” she said. “We sat at the gates for hours and hours and then we drove around to collect camping three times a day.”
She eventually managed the camp office for a number of years and at the same time helped to take care of the family’s miniature golf business.
“It was a little much,” she said. “So I quit that part and retired from there and just did this.”
In addition to its attractive setting among the trees, the miniature golf course has many interesting features.
Players must hit the ball underneath a miniature church to reach the sixth hole and the ball travels through a spiral on the 15th hole.
The water from a fountain on the 13th hole runs down a slope to create a challenging water crossing on the 11th hole and then carries on to the eight hole, where it turns a water wheel.
To avoid the pirate ship at the 16th hole requires a shot straight down the fairway and there is a bridge crossing between the teeing ground and the putting green at the 17th hole.
Linda said visitors would often comment about how different this miniature golf course is.
“We had a funny group come this spring that said they were touring all the mini golfs and they went to quite a few last year,” she mentioned. “They said they’ve never seen any with trees like this in there, they haven’t seen any like that at all.”
The couple, who also runs a mixed farming operation at Neville, is now thinking about retiring from their summer-time business in the park.
“In a way we will miss it,” Keith said. “It’s a really nice way to spend the summers, but we’ve done it a long time and maybe we’re at the age where we want to do something else in the summer.”
via SW Sask News – Prairie Post – Prairie Post http://www.prairiepost.com/news/sw-sask/item/4547-mini-golf-at-lac-pelletier-a-pretty-experience.html