Boyne miniature golf course to mark 25-year milestone
Brian Williams stands along his Boyne Rapids Adventure Golf course with dog Dottie. (Ryan Bentley/News-Review / June 25, 2013)
It was 25 years ago, in 1988, that Brian Williams opened the miniature golf course along M-75 South in Boyne City.
Originally from the Ann Arbor area, Williams obtained a degree in recreation and park design from Eastern Michigan University. He became familiar with Northern Michigan -- where his father served as director for Camp Michigania on Walloon Lake -- while growing up.
"I always wanted to live in this area," he said. "It was a matter of how to figure out how to make a living up here."
Having seen miniature golf courses become established in other Northern Michigan towns, Williams sensed that one could be a good fit in Boyne City -- providing families with an opportunity for affordable fun.
Developing the course involved placing slopes, water features and a walk-through cave on what had previously been a flat field.
In the process, numerous truckloads of sand and natural stone were hauled to the site, and railroad ties from a track that ran near Pellston were re-purposed to line the cave's interior walls.
"We've been told countless times that we're the prettiest miniature golf course that (visitors have) ever seen," Williams said.
Williams added another attraction -- batting cages -- to the business in 1993. A par-3 golf course opened there in 1996. Tourists make up roughly 90 percent of Boyne Rapids Adventure Golf's customer base, Williams said, with the rest consisting mainly of area residents.
The business typically operates from May through September, employing about seven people. At other times of the year, Williams' work life focuses on tasks such running a seasonal firewood business and bartending.
An Advance resident, Williams is married to Valerie and has two daughters and two grandchildren.
While Boyne Rapids Adventure Golf reflects the fulfillment of a dream for Williams, he's looking toward retirement within the next few years and keeping an eye out for potential buyers for the business.
Boyne Rapids Adventure Golf will mark its 25-year milestone with a float in Boyne City's Fourth of July parade, and with an anniversary event to take place sometime this summer. For more information about the business and its offerings, search for Boyne Rapids Adventure Golf on Facebook.
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