WHITEHALL, NY—Claiming that the dilapidated, sun-bleached recreational facility had been on its last legs for years, local residents told reporters Monday that this has to be the summer that the Putt King miniature golf course on Route 22 finally closes its doors.
“I honestly have no idea how that place has stayed in business—I don’t think I’ve seen one car in its parking lot in the last five or six years,” said Whitehall resident Kevin Forenza, 22, who claimed the miniature golf course had been “sad and run-down” as long as he could remember. “Last time I was there, the turf on half the holes was so warped you couldn’t even set the ball down to hit it without it rolling away. And a lot of the bricks along the borders of the greens were missing, so the ball just ran right off the course and onto the dirt. It’s really bad.”
“And that must have been back in 2005, so it has to be even worse now,” added Forenza of the facility that has reportedly not been renovated or updated in any way since the early 1990s. “I mean, Christ, look at it.”
Locals unanimously agreed there was “no way” the 18-hole course and self-styled “Family Fun Center” could be making any profit whatsoever, citing in particular the Putt King’s sagging chain-link fencing and its faded, nearly illegible rules and regulations sign. Additionally, only a handful of residents were able to confirm that the crumbling, nondescript mound of gray cement and exposed rebar at the end of the final hole had once been painted to resemble a king’s castle and that patrons once putted through a drawbridge to finish their rounds.
According to sources, adding to the facility’s sense of sadness and impending demise was a large wood cutout on Hole 12 that featured a crude and “embarrassingly bad” hand-painting of what appears to be Yogi Bear.
To the astonishment of local residents, however, the length of chain that hung across the entrance to the Putt King’s cracked parking lot was reportedly removed in early May, signaling that the weathered and overgrown facility had somehow opened for another season.
“I brought my son there for his tenth birthday a few years back, and all the water hazards on the course were completely dry and covered in old, peeling blue paint,” said Ray Klingensmith, 43, who noted that the tunnels on several of the recreational facility’s holes were full of leaves. “In fact, the only place where there was any liquid was in a few of the cups themselves, which had about an inch of dirty standing water that you had to dip your fingers into to get the ball.”
“And it was pretty frustrating because some of the hole numbers were gone, so you didn’t know if you were doing them in the right order,” Klingensmith added. “It wasn’t much fun, so we ended up just quitting and leaving after the hole that I think might have been a lighthouse or a windmill that had lost its blades.”
While several older residents claimed to have occasionally seen people eating at the Putt King’s burger and ice cream stand long ago, they confirmed that the timeworn one-room structure next to the parking lot had closed at least a decade earlier, having since been replaced by a single vending machine. According to reports, a Pepsi-branded plastic menu board remains attached to the former Snack Shack’s exterior wall, still offering a chili dog for $1.35, 85-cent onion rings, and what appeared to be a “Junior Soft Serve,” though due to numerous missing letters, sources noted it was no longer possible to be sure.
When questioned by reporters, however, not a single resident was able to recall a time when the facility’s batting cages, now thick with ankle-high weeds and covered by a severely drooping protective net, were ever operational.
“The saddest part is that the owners have to know how pathetic and depressing the place looks,” said local woman Tori Babbits, who speculated that the Putt King earns “maybe $235” each summer. “And now they probably can’t even make enough money to make the place nicer or even just prop up the leaning fiberglass statue of a king holding a putter that’s out by the roadside.”
“I know it doesn’t cost a lot to operate, but I just wish it would be put out of its misery,” she continued. “At this point, it’s hard to even drive past without feeling sad.”
At press time, the middle-aged man behind Putt King’s rental booth was still there with a row of putters neatly lined up on the counter in front of him.