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DISCOVERY

If Golf Is Nothing but Puttering Around for You, Here's a Valhalla

March 16, 1989|PATRICK MOTT | Patrick Mott is a regular contributor to Orange County Life

Do you fancy the game of golf, but you panic whenever you have to take a club longer than a putter out of the bag?

If so, and if you aren't the sort who insists on grass underfoot, you were born to be a miniature golf wizard, and a little plot of land, just north of the Riverside Freeway in Anaheim, is your Valhalla.

That spot, just off Kraemer Avenue, has been known since 1971 as Camelot Golfland. It is to the miniature golf nut what the French Alps are to the ski bum.

Contained within Camelot's boundaries are 90 miniature golf holes--five separate 18-hole courses, covered with a mosaic of brightly colored indoor-outdoor carpet and an array of putting problems that range from the maddeningly simple to the truly diabolical. It is the largest miniature golf layout in the county.

"I don't believe it was ever designed this way, but it turns out that there is a distinct degree of difficulty in each of the five courses," assistant manager Joyce Mc Affee said. "You could golf each course and have a different hole every time."

There are challenges that would probably give Tom Watson fits, particularly on Course 2, which Mc Affee said is the most difficult of the five.

"It's the hardest," she said, "because it has more loops. And it certainly has a lot more narrow passages that go over water, and a lot of mechanical difficulties. There's a windmill with doors that open and shut, and another spot where an ax comes down."

There also are leaps over small bodies of water, tiny ramps over streams, holes that resemble Skee-Ball lanes and geometric nightmares of curves, angles, dips, rises, keyholes and anthills.

There is, however, one overriding obstacle that is built into all the courses: They all undulate. A level putt is almost unknown.

"The terrain is what presents the real difficulty," Mc Affee said.

But, she added, such obstacles have not stood in the way of the popularity of Camelot, even over the course of 18 years.

"We haven't ever seen a decline in interest," she said. "There doesn't seem to be a saturation level with miniature golf, especially on a beautiful day. Especially in the summertime, every day's Saturday."

For those who have putted themselves into a state of blind frustration, relief--of a sort, anyway--is at hand at Camelot's game arcade, which contains 250 electronic games, the largest assortment in any arcade in the county, Mc Affee said. Food is available at the pizza parlor next to the arcade.

And, for summertime visitors, a large water slide is open next to the golf courses.

The courses, Mc Affee said, are accessible for wheelchairs, particularly Courses 1 and 5.

CAMELOT GOLFLAND AT A GLANCE Where: 3200 E. Carpenter Ave., Anaheim. Hours: Open daily at 10 a.m. Closes at 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Closes at midnight Friday through Sunday. Open until midnight every day throughout the summer season. Prices for 18 holes of golf: Adults, $4.50; children 12 and under, $3.50; seniors, $1.75; children 4 and under free. Replays, $2. Family night on Mondays from 5 p.m. until closing, $2.50 for all ages. Package prices available for groups of 10 and more, by reservation. Information: (714) 630-3340.

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