It doesn’t have a name yet or an official opening date, but a miniature golf course on Nolan’s Point is just a couple of months away—complete with miniature models of several Lake Hopatcong landmarks.
“We hope to have some of the lake’s most notable points of interest represented via models set around the course,” said Bela Szigethy, head of Camp Six, Inc., which owns the property, the Main Lake Market, and—in the interest of full disclosure—this publication. “Right now we’re thinking of incorporating models of the yacht club, the Main Lake Market, the Raccoon Island Ferry, and a few historic points of interest like Bertrand Island Amusement Park’s roller coaster, Allen’s Pavilion—which used to stand right here at Nolan’s Point, and one of the old ferry boats that ran on the lake.”
The dam at Hopatcong State Park might also be incorporated into one of the course’s waterfalls. The plan also calls for a historical placard at each of the 18 tees.
"We've got a good sense for what models we'll be using," property manager Jim Bayle said. "Now we're just figuring out the sizes of each of them."
Szigethy anticipates the course opening this summer, with a full snack bar and mini-golf kiosk that will sell t-shirts, sweatshirts, and lake souvenirs. The remainder of the building, which is located at the southern end of the property, will be office space.
A parking lot on Nolan’s Point Park Road is just about complete, as are docks and about three dozen boat slips that will mostly be used for short-term parking for the golf course and for Alice’s Restaurant (which is located across the street from the course and owned by Szigethy’s wife, Alice). “The current plan is for about 10 of the interior slips to be rented out seasonally starting in 2012,” Szigethy said, “but that depends on how much demand there will be for short-term parking this summer.”
Snow and cold weather slowed down construction over the winter, particularly work on the underground drainage systems that have occupied most of the efforts for the last year. The N.J. Department of Environmental Protection requirements for storm-water control are extensive, Szigethy said, and required significant excavation and even some blasting. “But we’re almost finished with all that, and now we can concentrate on the construction above ground.”
A name is still in the works, and although the price of a round of miniature golf has yet to be determined, Szigethy said it would be competitive with other courses in the area. Hours are already set to be open until 10 p.m. during the summer, which should accommodate people who want to get some putts in before or after dinner at Alice’s or the Windlass.
“I’m expecting boatloads of kids along with their parents, young people out on a date or group outing, senior citizens looking for a little light exercise,” Szigethy said. “In other words, all age groups, all day long.”
That source of recreation will take Nolan’s Point back to its roots as a hub of entertainment during the lake’s heyday in the early 20th century, when an amusement park, movie theater, and dance hall were among the lakeside diversions at the same location.
Early planning for the course met with some resistance from local residents, but Camp Six made some changes, including the location of the building, in response to those concerns. Now the construction is plugging along, and miniature golf enthusiasts can arrive by boat or by car for 18 holes in the breeze, overlooking the main lake, sometime this summer.
“[We wanted] to create some fun on the lake,” Szigethy said. “Since Bertrand Island closed in 1983 there’s really been no place to go on the lake just to have fun. And for the most part everybody enjoys a round of miniature golf. So we’re giving it a shot.”
The latest sketch of the miniature golf course at Nolan's Point; some alterations are planned.