Everybody knows Alton Towers don't do golf courses by half, and that was true even back in the 70s. So don your best plaid trousers and prepare to travel the world on your very own golf tour. But don't worry, you don't need to worry about those expensive air fares when at Alton Towers you can travel the world on a single course as you play a round on the park's very own Miniature Golf.
Only in Fantasy World could such a course exist, separated from the nearest Pirate Ship by an Alpine Bobsleigh, and just over the way from a coaster into a Black Hole.
The Life and Times
Alton Towers' first golf course opened to the public during the 1970s, just south of the Springfield Restaurant, in the area that would become known as the Springfield Centre. The course seems to have originally opened as a typical Crazy Golf course, with minimal theming surrounding its puzzling holes, on an area that had formerly been one of Alton Towers' coach parks.
Whilst the Miniature Golf was the earliest attraction to operate in this area of the park, it soon gained several neighbouring attractions as the area rapidly developed during the late 70s and through the early 80s, when the course received its iconic theming of famous landmarks from around the world. Throughout the rest of its time at the park, guests were invited to take a putt around Big Ben and through the legs of the Colossus of Rhodes amongst other landmarks, though the highlight has to have been the 20ft replica of the Eiffel Tower that sat alongside the Turbo Star.
It is likely these landmarks were added in 1984 when the Springfield Centre was transformed into Fantasy World, a transformation that seems to have also led to the Miniature Golf being redesigned and slightly shortened in order to make way for the Turbo Star, one of the park's new thrill rides, as well as additional shops near the Springfield Restaurant.
What Happened Next...
One thing that all golf courses have in common is their notoriously low throughput and the Miniature Golf at Alton Towers was no exception. At Alton Towers however the early 90s were a dangerous time to be an attraction with low throughput and inevitably as larger crowds started to arrive drawn by Mine Train and Haunted House the writing was soon on the wall for the Miniature Golf.
The course ceased operation along with the neighbouring adventure playground at the end of the 1993 season. The Gravitron, which had replaced the Turbostar next to the course had also been removed the previous season leaving a rather large wasteland at one end of Fantasy Land, which was ripe for redevelopment.
Redevelopment was slow to arrive though and for several seasons the site of the Miniature Golf Course sat unused, until 1997 when the bottom of Fantasy World became an enigmatic and rather impressive building site. The rest is history and where once guests could take a gentle round of golf, they now plummet into Oblivion; the drop of the coaster sitting roughly on the former site of Big Ben.
But the story didn't end there... as the tale of Miniature Golf at Alton Towers did not have its final chapter in 1993. Indeed some 14 years later, the park would revisit the idea of having a golf course as part of its line-up when Extraordinary Golf opened as the latest resort attraction in 2007. Beyond featuring the game of golf, this new Adventure Golf course couldn't have less in common with is predecessor, consisting of two courses of highly landscaped and challenging holes that are mostly heavily themed around attractions that could be found in the park at the time.
And whilst the original course may have been torn up during the 90s, the attraction's theming was not all destroyed as part of its demolition. Some of the attraction's most iconic features instead made their way to a local reclamation yard, not 5 miles from its original location, and so to this day in a field in the Staffordshire Countryside the miniature Eiffel Tower still stands proudly as a local landmark, nearly 20 years after its removal from the park.