There were laughs, fist pumps and a few groans during rounds of free mini-golf at McArthur Island.
What’s old is new again as the City of Kamloops has revitalized the 18-hole mini-golf setup at the former McArthur Island Golf Course.
The mini-course re-opened earlier this month and has attracted large numbers of people, with putters and golf balls in hand.
They included the foursome of Phil and Denise Clough and Bob and Jannette Fisher, who were all smiles as they wrapped up the final hole just ahead of a bout of rain and wind.
The Cloughs, from Kamloops, said they wanted something interesting to do with their friends from London, Ont., during their last day in town. They decided to try mini-golf after hearing the course had re-opened.
Though it was previously a paid amenity, playing the now city-run course is free of charge, requiring only that users supply their own putters and balls to play the unmanned course.
The course was busy over the weekend as multiple groups could be found on the pitch at once.
City parks manager Jeff Putnam told KTW re-opening the mini-golf course has been one of the most overwhelmingly well-received projects from the public in his 15 years working for the municipality.
“People have just been saying it’s so nice to have an amenity the whole family can do, that all incomes, ages and abilities can participate in,” Putnam said, noting compliments have been pouring in from all over — social media, phone, email and in person.
The city was in a unique position to be able to offer free-mini golf, having been in possession of the old golf course since its former owner, Bill Bilton Sr., decided against renewing his lease in 2017.
Putnam believes free mini-golf is unique to Kamloops and would be surprised to see other municipalities offering it.
“I’m not aware of any municipally run mini-golf courses,” he said. “It’s a great amenity for people visiting for sports tournaments … It’s something for their families to do, too.”
The mini-golf facility had become overgrown with plants and clearing them away was one component of renovations ongoing at the west end of McArthur Island.
Having budgeted $10,000 for repairs, Putnam said the city ended up using less than $1,500 in labour costs to spruce up the course.
The putting surface remained in much better condition than originally thought and did not have to be replaced.
As for maintaining the free course moving forward, Putnam said it will become part of the general maintenance the city conducts on McArthur Island.
• The mini-course is right next to the former McArthur Island Golf Course, which is now home to an 18-hole disc golf course and trails, both of which are free to use by all residents.