Marcophiles: Why not double our putt, putt pleasure

CHRIS CURLE
This rendering is of the proposed putt putt golf facility at 902 Park Avenue next to Madison Eye Associates. Courtesy / City Zoning Administrator Joe Irvin

This rendering is of the proposed putt putt golf facility at 902 Park Avenue next to Madison Eye Associates. Courtesy / City Zoning Administrator Joe Irvin

This artist's rendering shows how one of the proposed putt putt golf courses might look, on Winterberry Drive next to Sasso's Restaurant. Courtesy / Attorney Fred Kramer

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This artist's rendering shows how one of the proposed putt putt golf courses might look, on Winterberry Drive next to Sasso's Restaurant. Courtesy / Attorney Fred Kramer ................................................................

Now we know why a lot of miniature golf courses are called “Putt Putt.” With two putts. It’s because sometimes they show up in pairs, at least conceptually, at least on Marco Island.

What are the odds that two entities would propose building miniature golf courses on Marco at virtually the same time? Don’t misunderstand; we like the idea of a putt putt course here, but why just one?

If we understand the situation, one bunch wants to build a course near Veterans Community Park and another group favors its project on Winterberry Drive near Sasso’s Restaurant.

Apparently some people think City Council must choose between the two. We suggest they approve both. Here’s why: Having two or more of almost everything is a Marco tradition, as old as naming at least four streets “Elkcam.” Speaking of roads, we have two Lamplighters, one a drive, the other a court and two Colliers, one the boulevard, the other a court.

The list of ‘twos” would make Noah proud.

We already have two regular golf courses, the Island Club and Hideaway. We’re fortunate to have two auxiliary post office branches; at least as of this writing.

We have two Rotary Clubs, one sunrise, one noon, two dog parks at Canine Cove, one for little doggies and one for big dogs. Other twofers in town include Fifth/Third Banks, Subway stores, 7-11s, Ace Hardware stores, Walgreens, Publix, Sunshine Booksellers and two real barber shops.

Also we used to have two Bank of America branches here, one of which is now city hall. We once had two Dollar Stores in town. And of course we have two bridges to the mainland, one of which is a twin span. It’s all rather dizzying.

So we vote for two “little golf” establishments. Not only would they continue our tradition of twofers, but other advantages abound.

n The two mini-golf centers would evolve into natural rivals. Islanders gradually would develop loyalties to one over the other.

n How long would it be before players formed “clubs” and challenged putt-putters from the other golf center to tournaments? Soon we would have a cross-town rivalry on our hands.

That might give a new and exciting meaning to the term “shotgun start.” Before we know it each club will have its own colors, with players wearing knickers and Tam o’shanters bearing their own insignia. Women’s clubs would sprout at both facilities, with their own distinctive designer golf gear.

n One day the rivalry and fan base would get so heated the atmosphere would be as lively as the Jets versus the Sharks or the Bloods and the Crips.

n Putt-putt graffiti would get so creative and prolific that the Art League would sponsor an annual Putt-Putt Paint-off.

Might Marco someday host the Putt Putt World Series

Eventually the whole island would get involved, neighbor against neighbor, creating rival putt-putt allegiances. Flags, the type that people put on short poles attached to their homes, would flourish. But the “Go Bears” and “Notre Dame” banners would be replaced with pennants for the “Park Avenue Putters” or the “Winterberry Whiffers.”

With some pluck and a lot of luck, promoters of Marco’s nascent putt-putt industry could make our island the home of the Putt-Putt World Series. We’d be as famous in our “sport” as Williamsport PA is for the Little League World Series

Within a few years we could build a Putt Putt Museum, housing the Miniature Golf Hall of Fame.

The highlight every year would be the Marco Ultimate Danger Drop Championship, in which players would wade into a gator-stocked water hazard. The Braveheart who emerged with the most recovered balls and the most limbs intact would be America’s Putt-Putt Prince.

And the big payoff to all this would be Marco’s economy, prospering with its year-round tourist Mecca, full of wedge-ready jobs.

Chris Curle is a former news anchor for CNN and for ABC-TV stations in Washington, D.C., Atlanta and Houston. E-mail chris@chriscurle.com.

Don is a former ABC News correspondent and bureau chief and a former news anchor for CNN and ABC-TV in Atlanta. His Farmer File column appears Fridays in the Naples Daily News. E-mail: don@donfarmer.com.

© 2011 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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