Played May 30, 2013
Reviewed by The Pink Putter
For years, I’ve had this great memory of a mini golf course that my dad took me to as a kid. I remember classic holes like windmills, bowling pins and rink-a-dink bells. I also remember an ice cream stand where I tried my first root beer float (and immediately decided I didn’t like it). Flash forward to late May this year, Mr. Tee and I found ourselves in Pennsylvania for my friend’s wedding. With a few days of free time, I grilled my dad on what and where this magical course was. I’m not sure if he shared my same fond memories, but he concluded that it must have been Heisler’s Cloverleaf Dairy. So we got in the car for what I thought would be a quick drive into the PA countryside. About two hours later we arrived to the most scenic course we’ve played to date.
Birdie – I did a little research and found a great history of Heisler’s online. The dairy bar had become a huge success in 1957, so shortly after, the mini golf course was added. The builder was Holmes Cook, who had built and operated a number of courses along the east coast including Coney Island. Although Heisler’s has since demolished and re-built the original course, the one that lingered in my childhood memories, this destination still rose to the occasion. It’s a gorgeous hilltop vista overlooking farmland and blue skies complete with two mini golf courses, an old-school dairy bar that boasts 40 flavors, an arcade, gift shop, driving range and a picnic pavilion. Both courses are regionally themed. “Black Diamonds Fairways” references coal mining and “Lewistown Fairways” makes reference to the old milling industry. A note on the scorecard indicates that these greens were built in 2003. At 10 years old, they were immaculately clean and superbly maintained. Overall, game play was fairly straightforward although some holes had fun challenges including pipes, hills, jumps, tiered play, rocks and water hazards. While not quite as classically kitsch as it remains in my memory, the underlying themes came to life through pristine landscaping, props and thoughtful names for each hole (i.e. Mahanoy Tunnel, Carbide Canyon, Zehner’s Grist Mill, Schoch’s Spring, etc.). My dad insisted on using his real metal golf putter, which in combination with his cautious putting strategy boded well for him in the end, seeing as he beat Mr. Tee and I both by at least 5 strokes. While Heisler’s is a top notch day-trip destination, the mini golf itself falls just short of a hole-in-one.
Clean and well-maintained greens
Challenging and varied play
Beautiful scenic views
Full Dairy and Hot Food bar
Set in the middle of nowhere (far drive from major cities)
- two 18-hole courses
- Lewistown Fairways – Par 46, Black Diamond Fairways – Par 45
- A hole-in-one on hole 18 yields a 2 point deduction of final score.
- Full dairy bar, arcade, gift shop and picnic pavilion on site.