Monday, July 10, 2017

Rainbow Golf Gardens Ad – July 4, 1930

During the summer, many people think of heading out to play a round of miniature golf – perhaps in Vermilion at Romp’s.

I had always thought that miniature golf (what we sometimes refer to as Putt-Putt) was something that first became big in the 1960s and 70s. Well, here’s an ad that shows that it was popular in Lorain much earlier than that.

The above ad for the Rainbow Golf Gardens ran in the Lorain Times-Herald on July 4, 1930.

According to this Wiki entry, miniature golf courses had become quite popular by the end of the 1920s, thanks to the development of suitable artificial greens. The sport became so popular that rooftop courses became very common.

In Lorain, the Rainbow Golf Gardens had two locations: 1520 West Erie (just east of Lakeview Park) and 710-14 Broadway.

The business was owned by Frederick A. Koegle and William Seher.

As the Wiki article indicated, the Depression wiped out most of the early miniature golf courses in the U. S. by the end of the 1930s. It looks like Lorain’s mini-golf courses were victims of bad economic times as well.

Available city directories at the Lorain Public Library indicate that the Rainbow Golf Gardens (at West Erie only) was still open in 1933, but had closed by the time of the 1937 edition.

Speaking of miniature golf, I happened to drive by the former Putt-Putt on Route 57 near Route 2 recently. The sign is still in great shape, but it looks like windmills would be the least of a golfer’s problems on that course today.


lsrx101 said...

Do you know anything about that Put-Put course on RT57? I recall that it appeared there in the mid 70s and was gone by, maybe, the early 90's. I think I may have doffed a round or two there, but I could be mistaken. The condition of the sign probably led me to think it was open much longer than it really was.

Dan Brady said...

I didn't have time to research it before this post, but during my next library visit, I'll establish a timeline for the Putt-Putt and post it here as an update.

Dan Brady said...

Well, I did a little research on that Putt-Putt Golf Course out on Route 57 near the highway. Its address was 41186 Beechwood and it first showed up in the 1978 Elyria phone book, sharing the “Golf Courses – Miniature” category with Tiny Pines. The Putt-Putt boasted three 18-hole courses and continued to show up in the phone book until it disappeared in the 1998 edition.

Marty said...

There were two putt putt courses on the north end of Elyria in the 1980's. The first one is the one with the sign that you have pictured, if it's the one that was on 57 tucked in by the turnpike. I remember that one having contests announced as you played, with a free game if you got a hole in one if your ball color matched the one they lit up on the board (blue, red, yellow, or green). Also they gave away small stuff if you had a dollar bill that matched the last couple of numbers on the serial number. I remember winning a styrofoam cooler one night. And the other was Tiny Pines, right next to the Oh-Boy. I remember a lotto/beer type store in front, and the putt putt and driving range in back, with a little pro shop too.

Anonymous said...

I Dan, I remember the 1st Putt-Putt being at the corner of North Ridge Rd and St Rt 57. It was where the u-hall rental business is now. That was in the mid to late 1960's Bill N