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Putting Zoo mini golf

 Putting a round at Pinafore Park


   Putting Zoo is a hole in one for seven local athletes who play a round

   at the new mini golf course in St. Thomas


  August 7, 2023


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By Rob J. Ross

ST. THOMAS - The jungle has come to St. Thomas.

No need to panic, all animals are stationary and miniature. Except for the spider out there.

The Putting Zoo, an 18-hole Himalayan-style mini golf course has opened next to the main entrance to Pinafore Park, in southwest St. Thomas.

There are no clowns or windmills as obstacles and no walls exist along either side. The open layout features river rock beds, ponds, bridge obstacles and about a dozen animals, including an elephant of course.

It's a first outdoors mini gold course for the Railway City. An indoor course, Railway 1856, opened in Elgin Mall earlier this year.

Seven local athletes took on the course in July.

"They did a really nice thing with this space here. It'll bring some attention to the town," said Jack Weisz, a WOSSAA wrestling champion who advanced to OFSAA, the high school provincial championships this year. "It's very kid friendly. I can see it becoming a big thing. It already is. Look at all the people here today."

Brett Gustavson enjoyed not only playing, striving to keep up with his older sister, 10-year old Brooke, but the animals around the course. Brooke, a young hockey and running star, listed hole 10 as her favourite.

Jaimie Staulbaum, the Thames Valley Regional Athletics South Division Ms Basketball player of the year, who led the East Elgin Eagles to OFSAA, also had hole 10 down as her favourite.

"I got a two on that one," laughed Staulbaum. "I like the theme. I like the animals too. It's good for the kids. It'll get them interested in it. It's very visually appealing."

Tayah DeSousa, a track and field athlete with St. Thomas Legion and Long Beach University, in California, specializing in long jump and the 100-meter hurdles, had to stay on her game against her younger sisters, Ava, seven and Anya, nine.

"It was fun playing against them, but they are both talented and competitive, so I actually had to try," laughed Tayah. "I liked the course and it was definitely unique. I haven't seen another course that doesn't have boundaries around the outside, so it made it more difficult but it was fun."

Anya and Ava both participate in track and play basketball with St. Thomas Shock.

Tayah and Anya agreed hole 14, featuring a bridge in the middle of the horseshoe shaped hole as their favourite.

"The last one (18) and the very long one with the elephant (11)," replied Ava, on her favourites.

All participates said they would return. If fact, it wasn't the first round this day for Brooke.

Putting Zoo is open daily.





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