There you are – in the heart of Africa, amid savage jungle beasts.
Or, there you are – in the graveyard at midnight, amid ghouls and monsters.
Looking for a game of minigolf? here are some places in the area to try.
- Bogota Golf Center: 30 Cross St., Bogota. 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. $7, children $5. 201-489-2400 or bogotagolfcenter.com.
- Closter Golf Center: 153 Homans Ave., Closter. 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. $6, children under 12 $5. A $10 deposit or photo ID is required. 201-768-0990 or clostergolfcenter.com.
- Dynamite Falls Adventure Golf: 400 Fairfield Road, Fairfield. 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday and Monday, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. $7.75, children ages 3 to 11 and seniors $6.75. 973-808-0300 or dynamitefalls.com.
- Essex County Safari miniGOLF: 9 Cherry Lane, West Orange. 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. $7, seniors and children 12 and under $5. 862-520-5024 or essex-countynj.org.
- Monster Mini Golf: 49 E. Midland Ave., Paramus, 201-261-0032. Noon to 9 p.m. Monday to Thursday, noon to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, noon to 8 p.m. Sunday. $8, kids $7. monsterminigolf.com.
- Monster Mini Golf: 194 Route 46 east, Fairfield, 973-244-0026. Noon to 9 p.m. Monday to Thursday, noon to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, noon to 8 p.m. Sunday. $8, kids $7. monsterminigolf.com.
- Paramus Miniature Golf: at the Paramus Golf course. 314 Paramus Road, Paramus. 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, weather permitting. $8, seniors and children $6. 201-447-6079 or paramusborough.org
- Willowbrook Golf Center: 366 Route 46 Service Road east, Wayne. $8, seniors and children $7 (18 holes); $12, seniors and children $10 (36 holes). 7 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. daily. 973-256-6922 or willowbrookgolfcenter.com.
— Jim Beckerman
Good thing you brought your putter, and your Day-Glo golf ball. Because what you are going to want to do, in this supreme moment of crisis, is sink a putt or two. Especially now that miniature golf — in its prime season now that summer is in full swing — has become, like restaurants and amusement parks, “themed.”
“This is glow-in-the-dark – it’s cool,” said Robbie Ciringione, 16, of Westwood, who was playing at Monster Mini Golf Thursday.
In this black-lit indoor amusement center, off of Route 17 in Paramus (a sister franchise is located in Fairfield), golfers are chasing balls through a maze of tombstones, skulls, pumpkins and leering trees in lurid oranges, greens, blues and purples.
“I like that monster over there,” said Ciringione, pointing to a Shrek-like ogre with green skin and fangs.
Don’t like to have your blood curdled as you try for a hole in one? A more cheery alternative is situated nearby, at the outdoor Paramus Miniature Golf, part of the borough-owned Paramus Golf course. This one is themed to “New Jersey Landmarks.”
You can pursue your ball around the Statue of Liberty, the George Washington Bridge and a “Jersey Shore” sand trap, while sculpted caricatures of Bruce Springsteen, Frank Sinatra and Danny DeVito look on.
“It might be advisable to bring a camera,” says spokesman John Tornell. “You might want to pose with one of the celebrities. But please don’t ask for an autograph.”
Or you can slake your thirst for adventure at West Orange’s Essex County Safari miniGOLF, adjacent to the Essex County Turtle Back Zoo, where you putt your ball around model elephants, crocodiles and representations of Mount Kilimanjaro and the Congo. But watch out for that Sahara Desert!
All of this is a far cry from the windmills and lighthouses that are the more traditional ornaments of miniature golf, or “minigolf,” as the World Minigolf Sport Federation insists on calling it. It’s an understandable bid for respect, considering that miniature golf has been, through the years, referred to as “midget golf,” “goofy golf,” “crazy golf,” “Putt Putt” and “Tom Thumb Golf” (the latter two are trademarks), among other less dignified terms.
Such names reflect minigolf’s origins in the Roaring Twenties, the decade of wacky fads. the fact that this one survived, while flagpole sitting, dance marathons and airplane weddings went by the wayside, says something about its genuine – if somewhat mysterious — appeal. In New Jersey alone, there are more than 80 courses.
“It’s a soft introduction to golf,” Tornell says. “It can be an incentive to go to a higher level.”
Some have traced minigolf’s beginnings still further — back to 1867 Scotland, where the midget course of the Ladies Putting Club of St. Andrews allowed women – barred from the main course – to whack a ball in an acceptably ladylike manner (it was considered unfeminine for women to raise a golf club back past their shoulder).
But it was beginning in 1922, when the felt artificial green was developed, that miniature golf became a national craze in America. On city rooftops, it was particularly popular: there were said to be 150 courses in New York by the end of the 1920s. there were even early attempts to make it a regulated, competitive sport — the first National Tom Thumb tournament in 1930 offered a first prize of $2,000.
When Ben Sabin was called up to play with the Montclair High School varsity golf team as a freshman, the newcomer had to be introduced to the rest of the squad by then-assistant coach Jeff Gannon. and as part of a six-member starting lineup that featured five seniors, he had to stand out.
“I kept telling him we were going to nickname him ‘Next,’” said Gannon, now a co-head coach of the MHS golf squad along with Pat Quarto. “We were going to be losing everyone else on that team, so it was like, ‘You’re next.’”
Next became now in short order, and two years later, Sabin is making his mark on the area golf scene.
Last Tuesday, April 24, the junior shot a six-over-par 76, good for a three-way tie for third at the Essex County championships at Newark’s Weequahic Park. Sabin was three strokes behind senior Steve Piela of the Montclair Kimberley Academy, who took home the county crown.
Finishing in the top five was a point of pride for Montclair’s team captain, one that he hopes he can equal or better at the Super Essex Conference-American Division championships, which will be may 29 at Essex County Country Club in West Orange, about a 10-minute trip southbound on Prospect Avenue from Montclair’s home course, the Montclair Golf Club in West Orange.
“I was pretty happy with my score,” Sabin said. “The day before [in a regular-season match with MKA], I didn’t play well. and coach Gannon and coach ‘Q’ were joking with me, telling me to get all the bad golf out today, and I’ll go low tomorrow.”
Sabin shot a 37 on the front nine of the short Weequahic course, which has its own challenges in terms of club and shot selection. Scores were high across the board on a windy, cold day in Newark, adding another difficulty.
“I was more impressed with Ben than he was with himself,” Gannon said. “We’ve played courses where you can stand up, hit your driver 300 yards off the tee, and go from there. You can’t do that at Weequahic. You have to do more than you might do on another course. It’s not driver-nine iron, it’s really about figuring out what club you need.”
Last season, Sabin closed out the year strong, shooting a 76 and taking fifth at the SEC championships at the challenging Canoe Brook course in Livingston. with regular practice, the Mountie duffer has shown steady improvement over the past year, and will look to improve on that finish.
Sabin began golfing sometime between age 6 and 7, when his father taught him the game. He said he started taking the game more seriously at age 11, when he started to receive lessons from a pro at Greenbrook Country Club in North Caldwell. Sabin has a technically sound swing, which allows him to drive the ball 270 or 280 yards off the tee, despite “not being the biggest guy on the course.”
SOARING BUYER INTEREST IN NEW “NORTH SIDE” RESIDENCES LEADS TO A FLURRY OF SALES ACTIVITY AT VIZCAYA « Cahn Communications’ Real Estate Round-Up
WEST ORANGE, N.J. – Pent-up demand for new homes in the main building of Vizcaya, the luxury gated community in West Orange, has caused a flurry of recent sales activity.
Buyers are responding to the debut of the new North Side Penthouses and Residences by showing up in record numbers to tour the architecturally-striking main building, with many wasting little time before purchasing their favorite homes. the opening of the North Side residences marks the completion of construction on the main building, which has been one of the most exciting luxury residential options in new Jersey since opening in April 2009. amidst all of the sales activity, even the furnished model home in the recently relocated sales center was sold, forcing the sales staff to happily relocate once again.
“Sales here at Vizcaya have been so strong recently that we have even sold our sales center,” said Lisa Macchi, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Millennium Homes, the Developer of Vizcaya. “Recent housing data has been encouraging and that is certainly reflected in the increased interest we are seeing from buyers who show up to tour our North Side Residences and Penthouses, as well as our Maisonette homes. these savvy buyers realize that with the spring sales season approaching, limited inventory and a strengthening overall housing market, now is an excellent time to make a decision on a new home.”
Located in one of the most exclusive residential areas in the state, Vizcaya offers home buyers the experience of living in a country estate right in the heart of suburban Essex County. the main building rises majestically above a tree-lined ridge top, offering sweeping views of the horizon and a location right in the middle of landscaped walking paths, manicured gardens, tennis courts and charming cul-de-sacs with luxury townhomes. the building incorporates a traditional stone façade with gleaming white trim, stylish railings, rows of bay windows, elegant dormers and a brilliant grand terrace.
The Residences and Penthouses at Vizcaya are known for their lush interior spaces as much as they are for their ideal location in peaceful western Essex County. Homeowners enjoy richly-appointed great rooms, gourmet kitchens and exceptional master-suites with spa-inspired baths.
Four distinct home types are available. Penthouses with two and three bedrooms, 2.5-3.5 baths and up to 3,466 square feet of living space are priced from $1.3 million. Three-bedroom, 3.5 bath Maisonettes with 3,237 square feet of living space are priced from the $900,000s. Residences with two to three bedrooms, 2.5-3 baths and up to 2,662 square feet of living space are priced from the low $800,000s. Four-bedroom, 3.5-bath Townhomes with up to 2,895 square feet of living space are priced from $799,990.
All residents of Vizcaya enjoy unparalleled amenities and white glove services. Popular amenities include a spa, sauna, steam room, massage rooms, fitness room, yoga/aerobics room, tennis court and heated indoor and outdoor pools. Community game rooms, parlors and terraces in the main building provide residents with hours of additional entertainment.
Residents also enjoy 24-hour access to a concierge, gated security and valet parking for themselves and their guests. Residents who choose to travel frequently or leave for the winter can enjoy a stress-free vacation knowing that their home will be safe and the concierge is only a phone call away if they need anything.
Vizcaya’s location is both peaceful and convenient. Manhattan is a short, 30-minute car ride away, while new Jersey Transit rail stations are nearby in Millburn and South Orange. many of new Jersey’s best theatres, art galleries, restaurants and golf courses are also just a short drive away.
For more information or to schedule a tour, please call (973) 325-6712 or visit Vizcaya’s website at vizcayanj.com. the Sales Center is open daily by appointment from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., six days a week (closed on Thursday).
To Visit Vizcaya
Take GSP North/South to Exit 145. Follow signs to Rte. 280 W. take Rte. 280 W to Exit 6A (Laurel Ave. S). Follow exit around onto Laurel Ave. After 1/4 mi bear left onto Shrewsbury Dr. Follow Shrewsbury Dr. 2.5 mi to 2nd traffic light (Northfield Ave.). Make left onto Northfield Ave. and proceed to 2nd traffic light (Vizcaya/JCC). Make Left onto Vizcaya Blvd. and follow up hill to Sales Pavilion on left.
About Millennium Homes, a Division of BNE Real Estate Group
Millennium Homes, a division of BNE Real Estate Group, has been dedicated to building quality homes that reach the highest industry standards for design. for more than 50 years, BNE Real Estate Group has been building communities nationwide. Whether apartment residences, condo flats, town homes, single family or homes for active adults, BNE Real Estate Group understands the elements that make a development a true community. BNE Real Estate Group has envisioned and completed over 100 communities that stretch from new Jersey south to Florida and west to Texas and California.
If you are at Verona Pool today and there’s a loud horn followed by a flashing light, get out of the water immediately: Verona’s new lightning warning system is sensing trouble nearby.
Late last week, Verona installed a saucer-shaped antenna on the roof of the main pool building designed to sense a lightning strike well before it can be spotted from the lifeguard’s chair. made by a company called Thor Guard, it senses changes in the electrostatic properties of the atmosphere that can predict a lightning strike. A similar antenna has also been installed on the roof of the Verona Community Center, to watch for lightning strikes at the current and future recreation fields on the western side of town. The system has been set to offer about 8 to 20 minutes of advance warning of lightning.
“I’m thrilled with it,” says Recreation Director Jim Cunningham of the Thor Guard system. “this has been on the wish list since I got here, but the idea has been in the community for years.”
Cunningham knows all too well the dangers of lightning strikes. when he was working in the West Orange recreation system a decade ago, lightning struck and killed a baseball player during a high school game. It was a cloudy day, but not one that seemed ripe for a lightning strike to a casual observer.
Thor Guard takes the decision making out of human hands. For most of the early years of the Verona Pool, we relied on human observation of lightning to whistle swimmers out of the pool, sometimes with close calls. more recently, Verona tracked weather radar over the computer. The Thor Guard system, which is in place at several area golf courses, including the Montclair Golf Club, Essex Fells Country Club and Crestmont County Club, uses technology to sense changes in the local atmosphere that can predict lightning strikes well before lightning is visible or thunder is heard.
If the Thor Guard system sees reason to predict a strike, a horn will sound and the location’s strobe light will begin to flash. when the danger of lightning has passed, there will be three horn blasts and the strobe lights will go off, which means we may be back in the water or on the field sooner. currently, the Verona Pool mandates 20 minutes out of the water after every clap of thunder.
According to Cunningham, the system cost about $20,000. If it works well at the first two locations, it may be extended to other locations, such as Everett Field or the public schools. Posters at the pool describe the system and what the public needs to do if lightning is predicted, and that’s not just getting out of the water. You’ve got to clear the cement deck and grass that surrounds the pool, and taking refuge in the gazebo is not an option. Cunningham wants you all the way inside the main pool building or, better yet, in your car with the windows rolled.
Says Cunningham: “we have another tool to enforce with the public that lightning is a danger and we should not take it lightly.”
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