Planned course will bring mini golf indoors

Visitors to a planned miniature golf course in Fort Dodge may start their game in the living room and end it in an upstairs bedroom.

During the game, they’ll putt around appliances and send their ball rolling under tables.

The new course, to be called The M Project – Mini Golf Like You Have Never Seen It, will be entirely indoors in a three-story house at 912 First Ave. N. It will be owned by the Ruhland family of Fort Dodge.

”We’re hoping it draws people to Fort Dodge,” Russ Ruhland said Tuesday.

He and his wife, Michelle, along with their two children, will own and operate the course. It is expected to open late this summer, according to Russ Ruhland.

The city’s Board of Adjustment gave the golf course plan a boost Tuesday by approving the special exception needed to open it downtown.

Angela Torres, the associate city planner, recommended approving the special exception because the project will have no apparent negative impact on surrounding properties and will help to revitalize the downtown.

Board member Jeanne Gibson was absent from the otherwise unanimous vote to award the special exception.

Following the board’s action, Russ Ruhland said his family will now conclude its purchase of the property from Betty Habhab, of Fort Dodge.

The house was built in 1893, according to online records of the Webster County assessor’s office. It housed the Magnusson Agency, an insurance business, from 1987 to 1998, but has been vacant recently.

The idea for the project emerged about three years ago when the Ruhlands began thinking it would be nice to have an indoor miniature golf course where people could play all year.

Russ Ruhland told the board that the family looked at a couple of different sites before settling on the First Avenue North location.

He said the course’s name came about because the family engaged in a little bit of secrecy while planning it. He said they referred to it as The M Project so no one else would know what they were talking about.

The golf course will occupy two floors of the building. The windmills and other obstacles commonly found at outdoor miniature golf courses won’t be part of the indoor one. Instead, the obstacles will be household items like furniture and books.