The new Glowgolf that opened this week in Linden Square is the only public miniature golf course in town, but Wellesley actually has a rich history of mini golf courses over the years, starting in the 1930s. (The town also has a rich history in full-fledged golf, with Nehoiden’s start going back to the 1890s.)
Thanks to a prompt by Wellesley History blog’s Josh Dorin, I took at look through the Wellesley Townsman archives and found a number of references to early courses.
The action seemed to start in 1930. A Townsman editorial in August of that year exclaimed: “IT’S HERE AT LAST!” upon the Selectmen receiving several applications for businesses looking to address “the craze for miniature golf.” A public meeting was held about “this new thing in this part of the country.” Four applications were accepted.
Shortly after that, the first course opened in Wellesley Hills Square, and was a Tom Thumb designed course along the lines of the one shown here. An ad for the course in the Townsman in 1930 said: “Here you will find a full 18 hole course with tees, greens, hazards, all complete. Every hole physically different—every hole scientifically designed.” The add assures readers that mini golf is everyone’s game — men, women and “even children”.
The Townsman’s “golfing editor” got right out onto the course and gave a blow-by-blow account of his game in a piece headlined “Pee wee golf is raging”, and promised to return in an effort to win a prize (an automatic cigarette lighter).
Other course locations included where the Odd Fellows building stands in Wellesley Square as well as in Lower Falls and on Rte. 9.
In 1934 the Townsman ran an ad for a couple of houses to rent, including a mini golf course.
It looks like mini golf might have fizzled a bit over the next couple of decades, but the Wellesley Miniature Golf course did open in 1955 on Rte. 9 near an old restaurant called Chin’s Village.
I couldn’t find anything on when courses closed, just when they opened.