Summer Travel Quest #10

Play the Oldest Mini Golf Course in the U.S.

Allison’s Mini Golf in Geneva-on-the-Lake, Ohio, hasn’t changed its layout in almost a century. Hole 12 has been driving people crazy for just as long.
by Doug Mack

Doug is a travel writer and the author of the book Europe on Five Wrong Turns a Day.

Finally, you can beat your sports-nut relative at something.

For the purest, truest embodiment of the game’s appeal, head to the touristy main drag of Geneva-on-the-Lake, Ohio. Tucked between a snack bar and a lemonade stand is Allison’s Mini Golf, which dates to 1924 and is the nation’s oldest mini golf course in continuous operation. Even the layout hasn’t changed in 90 years.

INSIDER TIP

“The course looks easy, but it’s quite difficult,” says owner Georgette Allison. Hole 12 is the toughest, due to a tricky hill. Allison’s advice: “A nice, easy stroke is all it takes. If you hit it too hard, the ball will bounce back.”

The 18-hole course is quiet and shady, with planters full of flowers and, for a mid-round break, a gazebo tucked between two towering trees. No erupting volcanoes or animatronic pirates here, just well-kept greens and timeless obstacles: a loop-the-loop at one hole, dangling bowling pins guarding the path at another, and all manner of tough-to-read slopes and angles.

It’s good old-fashioned family fun, plain and simple, with prices that have, fittingly, stayed the same for a decade: $4.50 for adults, $2.50 for kids nine and under. The course itself is a family affair, with three generations of the Allison family—who bought the course in 1981—working here every summer.

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Doug Mack is a travel writer and the author of the book Europe on Five Wrong Turns a Day.

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MORE SUMMER TRAVEL QUESTS

8) Get an Ice Cream Headache at the National Ice Cream Festival

9) Be Superman in Metropolis, Illinois

10) Play the Oldest Mini Golf Course in the U.S.

11) Sit in the Bleachers at Wrigley Field

12) Shop for the Holidays in July

>> All 99 Summer Travel Quests

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Use the hashtag #99SummerQuests to share your own summer travels, and follow along with us at @MapQuest and Instagram.

How to become a mini golf master
How to become a mini golf master
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