Ace in the hole: Mini-golf courses adapt to COVID-19 safety protocols

  • Prospect Heights resident Timothy Laskiewicz, 12, watches as his golf ball shoots out from the roller coaster toward the hole at the Par-King Skill Course in Lincolnshire. Unfortunately, it wasn't a hole in one.

      Prospect Heights resident Timothy Laskiewicz, 12, watches as his golf ball shoots out from the roller coaster toward the hole at the Par-King Skill Course in Lincolnshire. Unfortunately, it wasn't a hole in one. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Mini golf at Par-King Skill Course in Lincolnshire is now back, with extra safety protocols in place because of COVID-19.

      Mini golf at Par-King Skill Course in Lincolnshire is now back, with extra safety protocols in place because of COVID-19. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • An armored knight statue stands guard at Novelty Golf in Lincolnwood.

    An armored knight statue stands guard at Novelty Golf in Lincolnwood. Courtesy of Novelty Golf

  • The Downers Grove Park District opened Miner Mike's Adventure Golf in McCollum Park for the 2020 season on June 15. It closes on Sunday, Aug. 16.

    The Downers Grove Park District opened Miner Mike's Adventure Golf in McCollum Park for the 2020 season on June 15. It closes on Sunday, Aug. 16. Courtesy of Downers Grove Park District

  • Carol Stream Park District's Coyote Crossing Mini Golf in West Chicago features waterfalls and other obstacles for mini golfers.

    Carol Stream Park District's Coyote Crossing Mini Golf in West Chicago features waterfalls and other obstacles for mini golfers. Daily Herald File Photo

  • Mini golf at Par-King Skill Course in Lincolnshire is now up and running.

      Mini golf at Par-King Skill Course in Lincolnshire is now up and running. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 7/23/2020 2:55 PM

It makes sense the British use the term "crazy golf" to describe what Americans have come to call miniature golf. On a traditional 18-hole golf course, it would be weird if you encountered wacky putting obstructions like a model-sized roller coaster or candy-colored castles.

But for many outdoor suburban Chicago mini-golf courses that have reopened amid the global coronavirus pandemic, the expression "crazy golf" can be related to the times we're living in.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"This year has been crazy-different," said Josh Williams, an athletic supervisor who manages Miner Mike's Adventure Golf for the Downers Grove Park District. "We've had to take a lot of different precautions when it comes to the safety of the players."

Extra cleaning precautions have been put in place at area miniature golf courses amid the coronavirus pandemic. A rack of colorful golf balls at the Green Valley Golf Range awaits mini golfers.
Extra cleaning precautions have been put in place at area miniature golf courses amid the coronavirus pandemic. A rack of colorful golf balls at the Green Valley Golf Range awaits mini golfers. - Daily Herald File Photo

This year, mini-golf courses had to wait until mid-June to open for the season. That's when outdoor recreation was deemed acceptable under Phase 3 conditions of the Illinois Department of Heath's "Restore Illinois" reopening guidelines. Extra cleaning precautions also came into play.

"After each game, the handles are sanitized on the clubs and the golf balls are dunked in a sanitizer a couple of times and then they're washed off in addition," said Chris Boznos, the manager of Par-King Skill Golf in Lincolnshire.

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"All of our employees are wearing masks, and the customers are required to wear masks as they enter the indoor part of our facility," Boznos continued.

Mini golf at Par-King Skill Course in Lincolnshire is now back and ready to welcome mini golfers.
  Mini golf at Par-King Skill Course in Lincolnshire is now back and ready to welcome mini golfers. - Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

Some courses aren't as strict about masks while guests are playing outdoors. But they may limit the number of people per golf party. And players are also advised to observe proper social distancing with six feet being the suggested space to be separated from each other.

"It's been going smoothly," said Boznos about the Par-King's summer season so far. "My impression is that everyone just wants to come out and play mini golf to get their mind off what's happening out in the world."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Where to mini golf

Here's a partial list of Chicago-area outdoor miniature golf courses. As with all activities amid the coronavirus pandemic, it is advised to call ahead or look online for hours, safety restrictions, reservations or admission limits before visiting in person.

Clocktower Commons Mini Golf & Skate Park

100 Naperville Road, Wheaton, (630) 665-4710 or wheatonparkdistrict.com.

Congo River Adventure Golf

1325 Barrington Road, Hoffman Estates, (847) 843-1778 or golfcongoriver.com.

Coyote Crossing Mini Golf

27W650 North Ave., West Chicago, (630) 784-6100 or csparks.org.

Diversey Driving Range

141 W. Diversey Parkway, Chicago, (312) 742-7929 or diversey.cpdgolf.com.

Green Valley Golf Range

26W101 Lake St., Hanover Park, (630) 289-6600 or greenvalleygolfrange.com.

Holes and Knolls Miniature Golf

845 Pershing Ave., Glen Ellyn, (630) 469-7888 or gepark.org.

In the Game Hollywood Park

5051 Cal Sag Road, Crestwood, (708) 389-7275 or crestwood.inthegame.net.

Jus-Fun Amusements

0S480 Route 83, Oakbrook Terrace, (630) 530-1313 or jus-fun.com.

Kristof's Entertainment Center

421 W. Rollins Road, Round Lake Beach, (847) 546-2512 or kristof.net.

Lost Mountain Adventure Golf

1535 75th St., Woodridge, (630) 985-4653 or lostmountainadventuregolf.com.

Miner Mike's Adventure Golf

McCollum Park, 6801 S. Main St., Downers Grove, (630) 963-8793 or dgparks.org/miner-mikes-adventure-golf.

Mountain View Adventure Center

510 E. Algonquin Road, Des Plaines, (847) 391-5733 or dpparks.org.

Novelty Golf & Games

3650 W. Devon Ave., Lincolnwood, (847) 679-9434 or noveltygolf.com.

Par-King Skill Golf

21711 Milwaukee Ave., Lincolnshire, (847) 634-0333 or par-king.com.

PGN Fun Village

8125 W. 95th St., Hickory Hills, (708) 430-7900 or pgn-fun.com.

Pioneer Park Mini-Golf

7135 N. Harlem Ave., Niles, (847) 583-2746 or niles-parks.org.

Putter's Peak Miniature Golf

950 W. Lake St., Addison, (630) 233-7275, opt. 4, or addisonparks.org.

Skokie Sports Park

3459 Oakton St., Skokie, (847) 674-1500, ext. 3100, or skokieparks.org/skokie-sports-park.

Stone Creek Miniature Golf Course

101 North St., Geneva, (630) 232-4542 or genevaparks.org.

Wilderness Falls

145 S. Clow International Parkway, Bolingbrook, (630) 378-8888 or wildernessfalls.com.

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