Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Putt-Putt - a Childhood Passion

One of the things I used to enjoy doing most as a child was playing miniature golf, especially at the Putt-Putt facility that once was located on Lomas Blvd. directly southwest of I-40 (i.e., just as Lomas crosses over the freeway). I even had my own putter, and I tried to create my own miniature-golf courses in our back yard and even inside our house. (I wonder now how my mother could stand my banging golf balls incessantly off her baseboards.) I remember that Mom paid for me to have a birthday party once at Putt-Putt; my memory is a little hazy, but I think it was my 9th birthday in May 1968. (I invited several kids from my third-grade class at school, including Brenda Burns -- see my earlier post about my fifth-grade year.) During the summers, I often went to "Dollar Day" on Mondays at Putt-Putt, which got you all-day access and a can of soda. (I also used to like to watch the PPA [Professional Putters Association] broadcasts on TV on Sunday afternoons; I think the PPA still exists in some form and may even be shown on TV on some obscure channel, although the mere notion of a person getting paid for playing miniature golf these days seems absurd.)

There was another miniature-golf facility further west on Lomas called "Twin-Putt," which I think was originally called "Putt-Putt," at least until the owner either lost his franchise or was forced to change the name due to trademark infringement. I never really liked Twin-Putt, however, as it seemed antiquated, ragged, and somber compared to the brighter atmosphere of Putt-Putt. As it turned out, both the original Putt-Putt and Twin-Putt closed down, and the respective parcels of land became part of automobile dealerships (the Twin-Putt property now consists of an extremely large, unoccupied metal pavilion). Another Putt-Putt eventually opened on Lomas northeast of I-40, this one with an arcade (a hit in the days of Donkey Kong and Pac-Man), but it too finally closed sometime, I think, in the late 1980s. There apparently still is a "Putt-Putt Golf and Games" in Albuquerque, on north San Mateo Blvd. -- the only other miniature-golf facility in town that I'm aware of is the Hinkle Family Fun Center, which is fairly close to our house and is located on the corner of Tramway Blvd. and Indian School Rd. However, miniature golf doesn't hold the same fascination for me as it once did, and so I can't really even remember the last time I did it.