News Photo by Steve Schulwitz
Bennett Van Duinen works the counter at Lee’s Miniature Golf Course in Alpena on Friday. The golf course was recently purchased and will be open this summer. This year it is celebrating its 60th anniversary.
ALPENA — For the last 60 years, Lee’s Miniature Golf Course in Alpena has graced the shores of Thunder Bay.
There was concern the popular attraction would not open this year, but those doubts were short lived, as Dr. Dave Dargis recently purchased the business and is operating it.
For generations, Lee’s has provided an affordable way to pass time and enjoy the outdoors in Northeast Michigan. Dargis said he understood how important the course is to the community, and how popular it is for tourists.
That is why, he said, he had to act to ensure it stayed open.
“Some of my memories, and many people’s memories, are of coming to the course with our families and playing miniature golf,” he said. “You have Americana, well this is Alpena. Places like this mean everything to our community. It’s part of our history, part of who we are, and a part of our childhood.”
Dargis said the design of the course will remain as it has for more than a half century, and the fresh paint and putting surfaces are the same color people are accustomed to.
He said changing things would take away the charm, familiarity, and challenge of the course.
“We are going to make sure this place is in as pristine condition as possible, but we have no intention of changing anything. We are going to keep it Lee’s Miniature Golf like it has been for the last 60 years.”
Jonny Dargis will be a familiar face at the business, which also features an arcade. He said as word spread that the course was sold, and open, people went out of their way to show their appreciation for making sure its legacy lives on.
“A lot of people thought it was going to be gone, so they are relieved and very happy,” Jonny Dargis said. “Lee’s Miniature Golf is a tradition and part of every summer that people treasure deeply.”
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