PORT ANGELES — Mini-golf and eye candy aren’t terms that normally entwine, but in Richard Moon’s mind, the correlation is logical and necessary.
His success depends on it.
Moon, who has a conditional use permit now, is constructing two 18-hole mini-golf courses on 7.77 acres of land on South Barr Road off of US Highway 101 about 8 miles east of Port Angeles — one for kids and families, the other for more serious adult golfers. And he wants the family course, which will occupy the lower 1.5 acres of his lot, to stand out like, well, eye candy.
He expects to open in 2023 or 2024.
“When people drive by, I want them to see eye candy and say, ‘Wow,’,” said Moon, 60, who will call the new venture by him and his wife Janice Moon “Wonderworld Miniature Golf Family Amusement Park.”
“It has to look really good from the highway,” he said. “Visibility is everything for this.”
Added Janice, 37, an employee at Avamere Olympic Rehabilitation of Sequim: “When people leave after playing golf, I want to hear them say it’s been fun and the best time of their lives. We want to bring families together to make some great memories.”
Chances are they will, given the variety of whimsical amenities with which Richard intends to adorn his golf holes.
They’ll be chipmunks, a sphinx, a pyramid, a huge frog with mushrooms, a water wheel, a stage coach, a pirate theme with treasure chest and much more.
“And one of the nicest-looking holes will be a gingerbread house layered with candies and lollipops,” said Richard, who has lived in Clallam County since 1975.
Though he hasn’t ventured into the mini-golf arena to this extent before, Richard — who spent 20 years as a courier for local banks and pharmacies in his former life — is novice mini-golf aficionado. For years, he ran portable mini-golf courses at the Clallam County and Puyallup fairs, but he tired at having to regularly unload and pack up his equipment.
“I’ve always had mini-golf courses, but I never had the land like I do now to build full-sized courses,” he said. “The portables were fun, but you’re limited on what you can do transportation-wise. With this much land, I can build the courses as big and as elaborate as I want because I don’t have to take them back down.”
The land the Moons purchased 11 months ago — for $115,000 — sits next to property owned by Katrina Haymaker that is home to shuttered Midway Metals.
Haymaker has tug-of-warred with Clallam County and Washington state for years over solid waste code violations and shut down the business in early 2021 to try and clean up the property, which was only partially completed, according to Clallam County Sheriff Bill Benedict.
“It’s very ugly at the moment, and there are lots of complaints,” Moon said.
Mini-golf patrons won’t see the site, however, because Moon plans to block the view with a two-story facade of a saloon and hotel that will double as a focal point for Wonderland.
“The size of the facade will make it impossible to see Midway Metals, and I will also build a fence that will encompass the area,” Richard said.
And within the fence, the two golf courses will be as different as night and day.
The family course will be fancifully geared toward fun and whimsy; the 1/2-acre adult course — mimicking in some ways a full-sized regular course — will be for more serious golfers.
A hybrid series of putting greens will contain sand traps, short-and-tall turf, and hills and curves that will test the mettle of linksters and add a bit of variety to their experience.
“It’s just that they won’t have to walk miles as they would on a regular course,” Richard said.
Richard expects the project to cost around $100,000 when all’s said and done, and if it’s successful — as he said he expects it to be — he’ll think about building another course on his acreage with animatronics.
But that’s in the future.
For now, his mind’s set on getting his property logged and leveled, applying for a slew of permits in addition to the conditional use permit he received recently from Clallam County, and building more of the amenities that will grace each of his golf holes.
“There’s a lot of permitting going on now that must be approved though the fire department and the county,” he said.
The Moons, who currently live in a fifth-wheel trailer until their manufactured home arrives on site, will charge $9.95 per person for each 18-hole course, offer golf balls — tiny replicas of eight balls, basketballs, footballs, soccer balls, tennis balls and baseballs — and putters.
To ready for the future grand opening, Richard purchased several thousand golf balls.
“That was quite the expense right there,” he said. “They’re not cheap.”
But that’s the price you pay for family entertainment — even if you’re not rich.
“I don’t understand why billionaires don’t invest in family entertainment,” Richard lamented. “The world — especially now — needs something for fun. If I can give people one hour of good family entertainment, that will make me happy.
“There’s not a lot of smiling going on right now, but there will be here.”
Paul Dunn can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected]