Opened seasonally in 1964, Funspot’s 19 hole course is built on the theme of historic New Hampshire landmarks. The first hole has a scale model of the Mt. Washington cruise ship which was built by Jim Clough of Winnisquam and has been maintained and rebuilt over the years by Funspot maintenance foreman Cal Hahn. Other historic landmarks include the Spindle Point observatory; the Jackson covered bridge, the West Alton Railroad station, the North Conway Railroad station and the Cog Railway.
“My brother John and I designed the course to be as challenging as possible,” says Funspot owner and General Manager Bob Lawton, “Yet we made sure it was possible for a player to get a hole-in one on every hole.”
It is not believed that has ever been done. Surely not by any one of the Mathsons, and certainly not on this day. It was an unusually cool and windy day for August as the family took their turns on the Funspot course. Margaret, much to the friendly chagrin of her father and brothers, emerged the winner of this round.
“That means we have to buy her dinner,” laughed Paul. “Then again, we always buy her dinner.”
As much fun as the Mathson’s have with their annual tournament, it is still a sign of great family values as they make sure to get together for the event every year even though they have become separated by miles. Paul Sr. still lives in Massachusetts and Margaret, Paul and John now all reside in different parts of New Hampshire. There is no sign of the tournament waning over the years as the children have kids of their own who are now growing up and ready to participate.
“Some of our kids feel they are ready to challenge us,” said Paul. “But we do have a strict qualifying guidelines.” A player must shoot at least one stroke below par to qualify.
“They’re all getting better and I’m sure they’ll be here competing with us in the near future,” said John. “We hope that the Funspot course will be around for years to come as our family, and our tournament grows.”
The Funspot Mini-Golf closes after Labor Day. They do have a Retro Mini-Golf Course inside which is open all year. It is a reproduction of the original mini-golf that Bob Lawton built with his brother John above Tarlson’s Arcade in Weirs Beach in 1952. It is perfect for all ages and is completely self-service.