IMG_2257It’s 1986 and you’re about to enjoy a first date with your future betrothed.

You have some options.

Either catch a movie at the drive-in on Sunrise, enjoy an open skate at Bay Shore Roller Rink, or play a round at Bay Shore Mini Golf.

The theatre and roller rink met their demise at some point in the last 20 years.

The latest to face its end is Bay Shore Mini Golf, which will be shuttering forever at 11 p.m. on Labor Day, Sept. 5.

Owners Jody and Alicia McNulty of Brightwaters have no other choice but to close, as the owners of the property that housed the mini golf course since 1959 declined to renew the lease for the business, citing other plans for the land.

According to Jody McNulty, the original mini golf course was built as a Putt-Putt franchise in 1959 and was owned by local businessman Anthony Evans.

Evans managed the course himself for 57 years before eventually retiring, Jody McNulty said.

Evans then supported its upkeep by extending leases to a variety of proprietors who expressed interest in keeping the mini golf course going, with varying degrees of success.

“He was a wonderful man, almost like an uncle to me,” he said. “He lived in Florida, but we talked on the phone two or three times a week.”

After Evans died last year, his family assumed control of the property, which also includes the Taco Bell restaurant that separates the northern edge of the mini golf and Main Street.

While disappointed in the new owners’ decision not to renew the lease for mini golf, McNulty said that he certainly understands why.

“The property is almost three acres, and it’s worth a lot more money,” said McNulty,

Specific plans for the land are unknown to them, he said.

Both the McNultys are employed elsewhere. She is a teacher in the Connetquot School District, and he works in the oil industry.

So why did a couple from Brightwaters decide to breathe new life into an abandoned, crumbling mini golf course?

It was a visit to the site a little more than five years back that put the idea in motion. The mini golf had been abandoned by a former tenant and had gone into a state of disrepair.

“We looked through the fence… and we saw something,” said Alicia McNulty.

Despite the fact that nature had begun to reclaim the course, the nostalgia was too strong to ignore. The McNultys played mini golf here as teenagers. Their children grew up playing mini golf at the course.

“Our grandchildren play here,” she said.

The McNultys replaced old, warped plastic bumpers and mold-encrusted artificial turf with brick pavers and new carpeting from a mill in Georgia. Each of the spotlights was given a fresh coat of white paint, obstacles were updated, and the landscaping was engineered to provide a more cheerful, friendly atmosphere.

“It was a labor of love,” she said. 

Today the mini golf is bright, with an abundance of potted flowers, lush greenery, and creative water features.

It’s hard to imagine that everything will shut down in less than a week.

“We put in a lot of time with our four children. It was a family project to get it up and running,” she said.

Inspired by a documentary about the spotlessness of Disney World, Jody McNulty explained how he worked tirelessly to keep each of the 27 holes of the mini golf clean and neat.

When asked if there were any plans for a goodbye celebration, Alicia McNulty shook her head.

“We’re going to go quietly,” she said.

Anyone wishing to play one last round at Bay Shore Mini Golf has the rest of the week to do so. The hours are 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.

Adults can play for $9. Children under 5 and Seniors play for $8.