Putt-A-Round Chautauqua is Ready for 2019 at Midway State Park


The Friends of Midway State Park continue to support and enjoy the miniature golf course at Midway State Park on Route 430 in Bemus Point. Since 2014, the all-volunteer nonprofit group has been worked with the New York State Department of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation and Adventure Golf Services of Traverse City, Michigan to plan and create a preliminary design for an all-new, local theme-inspired mini-golf course that will completely replace the current aged and deteriorated course. According to Robert Wooler, President of the Friends of Midway, “The new course incorporates themes and structures inspired by Chautauqua Lake and local culture, including a tribute to lake fishing, the Bemus Point-Stow Ferry, the Chautauqua Institution Miller Bell Tower, and the Lucille Ball comedy tradition.”

The construction of a new mini-golf course follows on the heels of the successful restorations of the Chautauqua Choo-Choo train ride and the 1946 Herschell Carousel from 2011 to 2013, both of which were spearheaded by the Friends of Midway. “The overall goal with all of our restoration activities,” continued Wooler, “is to re-create a true atmosphere from the park’s heyday in the 1950s. Miniature golf exploded in popularity in the 1950s, so it will be a thrill to bring back a first-class course for visitors to the park to play.” When completed for the beginning of the 2016 summer season, Midway State Park officials see the potential of longer opening hours for the course and a longer season of play.

“The first order of business,” noted Peter Sullivan, a member of the Friends who has been leading the design effort, “is to thank and honor the hundreds of generous donors who contributed the money needed to fund the new course. While much of the raw material and labor was contributed through the state park system, the success of the course depended on the financial support of those who love golf and love Midway, and they came through with glory.” As of August, 2016, generous donations from over 200 individual donors and a host of foundations including the Johnson Foundation, Chautauqua Region Community Foundation, Lenna Foundation, Sheldon Foundation, and the Snow Family Foundation have brought our fundraising total to $270,000.

During the summer of 2016 the course played host to almost 6,000 players of all ages and generated almost $6,000 for the purchase of future rides and attractions at the park from the proceeds from evening play. Over the past two years the course has attracted a steady stream of visitors of all ages, offering challenges and fun while building the fund for future rides and attractions. For 2019, Putt-A-Round Chautauqua will be open from Memorial Day weekend through the month of September.