A big red dog watches over the Potsdam mini golf course | Best Stories


POTSDAM – Monday afternoon, Michael L. Boulrice, Altona, rang a bell to celebrate a hole in one at Swing Time Golf, 7065 Route 11, Potsdam.

The bell, a family heirloom from owner Beth Robinson, is just one of the surprising delights of the six-year-old miniature golf course.

Towering over Mr. Boulrice as he rang the bell was the newest addition to the course, a giant, red, wire-shaped plush dog.

“Who wouldn’t want a big red dog?” Mrs. Robinson asked. “But it’s a bit big for my house, so there you go.

The sculpture was created by Doug Shatz, who teaches at SUNY Potsdam.

Mr Shatz has exhibited sculptures nationally and internationally in numerous solo and group exhibitions where he has exhibited large-scale outdoor works, as well as smaller and more intimate sculptures, according to his website.

The large red dog, over 20 feet tall, was originally covered in burlap and set on fire as a performance piece, Ms Robinson said.

The sculpture was a bit of a project when Mrs. Robinson took possession of it. It was in pieces in Mr. Shatz’s garage.

“Everything was rusty and there was no map to put it all together,” she said.

They discovered it and put it together, then took it apart to paint it.

Ms Robinson used a sock dipped in paint to completely cover the wire. Later, neighbor Randy Trim hung the pieces up and spray painted the last coat of red.

“Randy made sure it was done correctly,” Ms. Robinson said.

Family and friends helped reassemble it and set it up at the top of the course near Highway 11. Ms. Robinson leaves the sculpture as is and has no plans to cover it up.

“I like the negative space,” she said.

The course usually opens when the weather permits, but last year, New York State’s COVID-19 restrictions prevented the course from opening until July 6.

Despite the late start, 2020 has been one of its best seasons, Ms Robinson said.

This year is also proving to be a good one, she said.

“People are desperate to go out and do something,” she said.

The pandemic, she said, made the course known to locals who couldn’t travel, and those outside the region found it on Yelp and Trip Advisor.

The Boulrices, who changed their trip from Massachusetts to Niagara Falls because of Hurricane Henri, discovered Swing Time when a route earlier in the trip was closed.

“We went to Google and found this one,” Boulrice said.

The course is open Monday to Friday from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday from noon to 7 a.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 a.m. A round of golf costs $ 8 per person for adults and $ 6 for children aged 4 to 12.

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