Retired teacher Pam Finkle held a pink golf ball in one hand and a putter in the other while waiting for her turn on the first hole at
With her grandchild by her side, Finkle discussed the importance of a family-oriented, fun business in the area.
“When the grandchildren come to be with us, we have something special that they can do,” she said. “This place is very well kept, it’s reasonably priced, and there aren't many like it around…We’re very happy to come here.”
The Turcott family opened the restaurant in the fall of 1995 and the miniature golf course opened the following summer. The business is built on a rundown former greenhouse on eight acres at 345 Oxford Road, Route 67.
Owner/operator Al Turcott designed the course and restaurant. While on vacation in the early '90s, the former real estate agent had a vision of what he could do with the property he just bought. He considered keeping it a greenhouse or possibly running a restaurant.
“Then I thought I wanted something fun, so I said, 'That’s it! We’re doing a miniature golf course and restaurant,” he said.
The epiphany has proved to be good, as the business has been a success year after year for the Tucott family, which prides itself on selling top-of-the-line food and keeping its food and golf prices low. The cost for 18 holes of mini golf, for example, is $7 an adult, $6 for a senior and $5 for a child.
“When I did go up, I only went up 50 cents five years ago,” he said. “People appreciate that we keep our prices at a minimum.”
The family business faced a setback last year, . It wiped out the parking lot, a few holes and much of the landscaping around the property. But Turcott said friends and family chipped in to get the course back into tip-top shape for this season.
“I had no doubts that we would be ready to go this year,” he said.
This Sunday marks the final day of the 18th season at Olde Sawmill. Pretty soon, Al Turcott will place the well-known “gone fishin’” sign out front and close until Memorial Day.
“That first year, I put (the sign) out front because I didn’t know what else to write,” he said. “And now, people look forward to it. When they see it, they know that winter is right around the corner; when it comes down, they know summer must be here.”