SIOUX CITY | Miniature golf options have been embraced for decades in Siouxland. Not as many courses dot the area now, and a notable one in Sioux City has been wiped away.
But before that, the Floyd Park Miniature Golf Course was a hugely popular option for four decades on South Lewis Boulevard. The course, owned by Leo Tracey, was a stone's throw south of another Sioux City icon, the Sergeant Floyd Monument obelisk.
The facility opened in 1954, and many who grew up through the 1990s used the mini golf course as the place for dates, family outings and challenging friends to see who could get the lowest score. Armed with putters, they would compete to move golf balls through a series of obstacles, with the chance to win a free game on the extra 19th hole.
A windmill was on hole No. 10 and a fish pond presented a challenge on No. 17.
Some considered it the Pebble Beach of area mini golf courses. The borders for each hole were framed in bright concrete. Before the days when mini golf courses had Astroturf, the fairways of limestone and sand were well maintained.
For a time, in addition to a wide variety of concession snacks, people could enjoy root beer served from the tap of a wooden barrel.
A Sioux City native, Tracey and his family briefly relocated to southern California in the early 1950s. Tracey became aware of the mini golf craze on the West Coast and decided to build one, constructing Sioux City's first such course.
He built it on family property, liking the placement that allowed viewing of the Missouri River to the west.
"He felt blessed to have a business that made other people happy," daughter Andree Tracey, of Minneapolis, said of her father in 2011.
She recalled during the boom years when people waiting to play lined all the way to the highway. At one time, the course operated a competitive league, with weekly standings published in the Sunday newspaper.
In January 1994, Tracey sold the mini golf course and retired. Today the city of Sioux City owns the property, which remains largely undeveloped.