1591 Osgood Street (Rt. 125), North Andover, MA, 01845
(Across the street from Osgood Landing)

Golfland USA in North Andover begins the 2011 season under new management. Stew Pruslin has worked as a teacher and youth counselor and looks forward to the challenge and excitement of running Golfland.

The following is a reprint of an article in the Eagle Tribune from 2009 which talks about the history of Golfland.

August 11, 2009

As miniature golf courses become fancy, Golfland is the same as it was 40 years ago

By Crystal Bozek

NORTH ANDOVER — Most miniature golf courses today have waterfalls, dinosaurs, jungle creatures, electric-powered windmills, caves and swinging blades.

Not Golfland.

Chris Adams' 18-hole course looks the same as it did when he first opened it on the side of Route 125 — an old wooden covered bridge, loop the loop, sand trap and a blue ocean wave are some of the bigger attractions. That was 1969, the same summer a man walked on the moon and Woodstock made the headlines.

A young Adams went in on this miniature golf venture at 1591 Osgood St., tickled by the idea that people would pay 50 cents for a putter and ball, and then give it back.

"This was advertised as the Cadillac of mini-golf when it opened, you know," Adams said, picking up a putter and giving it a swing over the green carpet that surrounds each hole. "We had golf tournaments. It was the place to be."

Adams, now 75, is amazed to be standing on the same course 40 years later.

He's had his ups and downs.

He had to lease out and then close down the course for a couple of years after a string of illnesses and surgeries left him unable to effectively run the business. But Adams regained his health, and in April he reopened Golfland with Lawrence resident Ray Maclean, who saw an ad in the newspaper.

The two men restored everything in the park, but they didn't change a thing.

"It was more of a restoration than a renovation," Maclean said. "We wanted to keep the classic course. We thought that was important."

Adams said he refuses to bend, no matter how fancy the competition becomes.

"This is mini-golf as it was meant to be," he said.

The course, across the street from Osgood Landing on Route 125, next to Jimmy's Famous Pizza, has outlasted many of its neighbors. Offices, gas stations, stores and restaurants have all come and gone.

"We've had to change our score cards several times," Maclean said. "It was 'opposite Western Electric,' and then AT&T and Lucent, and now Osgood Landing."

Adams said people shouldn't be fooled by the course's simple look. It's challenging, even for regular putters.

"Everyone is dropping millions into courses, with waterfalls and fairylands," Adams said. "But there is no better course than this in terms of skill. This is a putting course. It's possible to get a hole in one here, but it's improbable you will."

Adams likes to brag that if a miniature-golfer can land a hole in one from a point several yards away, he'll give them $500.

"I haven't had to hand many of those out," he said, laughing.

Everything at Golfland seems to be from another time, which adds to its charm for many people. Inside the ticket booth is a smiley-face clock, and a sign by the course reads, "Profanity is prohibited."

"It looks the same from when I was a teenager," said Maureen Donovan, of Lawrence, who was there with her nephews recently. "Really, nothing has changed."

Holes are named Dog Leg, Mole Hills, Round the Mountain and Double Trouble.

There is a mishmash of trinkets around the park, everything from fish fountains from Mexico to a windmill from the Amish in Pennsylvania.

And while other miniature-golf courses have arcades, playgrounds and batting cages, Golfland has the Gyro.

The Gyro is made up of three colorful giant rings connected to each other.

People are strapped in the middle of the rings and move around by shifting their weight.

Adams claims his Gyro is the original one used by NASA astronauts to train their bodies to maneuver in space. Johnny Carson rode it on the "Tonight Show."

"It spins you in three different directions," Maclean said, with a laugh. "You probably shouldn't eat before getting on it."

Most adults who come to Golfland have memories from when they were children, Adams said. Maclean can remember bringing his wife to the course years ago when they were dating.

"Parents come in here and they'll say their parents used to bring them here," Adams said. "It's a tradition."