April 4, 2013

Off Beat: Putting scene with mini-golf tourney in Kennebunk

In Kennebunk, organizers are hoping their library mini-golf fundraiser is a hit.

By Ray Routhier rrouthier@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

As it gets harder and harder to raise money in a tight economy, a lot of people raising money for good causes are getting more creative.

click image to enlarge



WHEN: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday

WHERE: Kennebunk Free Library, 112 Main St.

HOW MUCH: $8; $5 for children ages 2 to 12; free for children under age 2

INFO: kennebunklibrary.org;


For a concrete example, take the Trustees' Mini-Golf Tournament in the Kennebunk Free Library on Sunday.

That's right -- it's IN the library. A miniature golf course set up in the library. People will be putting beside the periodicals, through the stacks, around the children's books, and up and down the stairs.

But how, you may ask, will the folks at the Kennebunk Free Library create an 18-hole mini-golf course among all those books?

Simple. They used their research skills. They went online and found libraryminigolf.com.

"Our director (Jill LeMay) was just looking for different kinds of fundraisers that might be fun, and she found this," said Janet Cate, assistant director of the library and an organizer of the event. "It's going to be interesting to see it all built."

Library Mini Golf's founder, Rick Bolton, says greens and putting surfaces will be built all over the library, taking advantage of the "natural flow" of the place. He envisions a pipe that carries balls down the staircase, as well as greens and obstacles all through the stacks.

Cate said the library trustees -- who are paying for the cost of setting up the fundraiser -- will also buy and bring in their own obstacles, including a statue of Buddha.

So with the trustees funding the fundraiser, all the proceeds will go to the library. The admission for 18 holes will be $8 for adults, $5 for children ages 3 to 12, and free for children ages 2 and under. There will also be face painting, raffles, games, food for sale, and a visit by Baxter the Cat, the official Maine library mascot.

So what's the potential for such a novel fundraiser? Well, the first one Bolton was involved in was at his hometown library in Trumbull, Conn., in 2005. The folks there were looking for ways to raise money for libraries devastated by Hurricane Katrina along the Gulf Coast.

The idea started when some involved misheard "gulf" as "golf," and because winter was coming on, that morphed into mini-golf.

And because the folks in Trumbull are proud of their library, that morphed into mini-golf inside the library.

That first event earned $10,000 for the library and launched the company Library Mini Golf, which Bolton runs with other family members. They've since set up more than 85 mini-golf fundraising events at libraries all around the country.

On Saturday afternoon, a crew from Library Mini Golf will drive from its operations center in Dartmouth, Mass., to begin building a course inside the Kennebunk Free Library, Bolton said.

They'll be bringing about 3,000 pounds worth of stuff to transform the library into a mini-golf haven.

"We'll bring in loopty loops, ramps, platforms and inflatable palm trees," said Bolton.

Who says that going to the library can't be fun?

Staff Writer Ray Routhier can be contacted at 791-6454 or at:


Twitter: RayRouthier


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