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Downtown golf event planned for summer



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May 18, 2011 - Mini-golf is usually made more entertaining by increasingly eccentric courses, and thanks to the diversity of Lake Orion's downtown businesses, this truism sparked an idea for DDA Executive Directer Suzanne Perreault.

"I thought it would be really cool to turn the entire downtown into a golf course," said Perreault. "Instead of the DDA coming up with 18 different holes, we thought it would be cool to have each business come up with their own using items from their store to make their hole feature their business."

The idea of the course would be to spread holes out throughout the downtown area (after Streetscape has finished) and allow passers-by to play for free. This would encourage visitors to the downtown to explore areas they haven't and learn about services they may not have known existed.

Thanks to the sponsorship from Wood Wynd Country Club, located at the corner of Gunn and Adams Road, supplies for building each hole will be provided to the business free of cost.

"I think it's a unique thing we will be bringing to the downtown that's family friendly and incorporates our businesses," said Perreault. "We have around five or six businesses that have committed or shown interest so far, and I'm really not worried about finding 18 businesses that would be interested in this.

"We would plan to do this again next year as well when the senior open is taking place at Indianwood Country Club, so it really syncs up well with events in the area as well."

Suzanne first expressed her idea to Village Councilmember Michael Toth, and she said he really took an initiative. According to her, Toth was responsible for finding the sponsor, and even helped build the first hole which represents the government of downtown Lake Orion. The hole, which was on display on May 11 on S. Broadway, features a jail and a donut, to represent the LOPD in a tongue-in-cheek manor, and the iconic arches in front of the downtown offices.

"When Perreault first told me about it, I asked her to keep it a secret until the DDA board approved the idea because I didn't want any other community or municipality to take the idea," said Toth. "It was such a unique idea, I wanted to make it Lake Orion's and no one else's, and I'll admit it - I was being territorial of this event.

"It's free to participants, it's free for the businesses outside of what they want to use of their own materials, and it's a great way to experience the downtown."

They way Toth described his envisioning of the course as starting with people coming down to eat or visit just one business before leaving. Once they're done eating, they would notice the golf course and be incentivized to play because it's free, and because of that, potentially discover a business they didn't know of. After playing 18 holes, participants can vote for who they think made the best hole, with the winner getting a corporate membership to West Wynd - valuing around $5,000.

Chritine McKenna, co-owner of Little Monsters Toy Store is looking forward to presenting her course, which she says is going to be "very unique."

"We're going to have to experiment a little to see if we can do what we want to," said McKenna. "I thought the idea was a very creative was to do something new. Right now we're just trying to figure out a way to make the thing lighter.

"I can't reveal anymore," she added, laughing.

The mini-golf event in downtown Lake Orion is tentatively planned for the third or fourth weekend in July.

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