• Terri and Wayne Hameetman, along with Traci Gordon, are ready to welcome families to the renovated Bear Creek Adventures Mini Golf in Ranger, which opened Saturday. Photo by SAMANTHA SINCLAIR

SCOUTING AROUND: Mini golf gives Ranger families a place to gather

   Terri Hameetman thought her husband was crazy when he introduced the idea of owning a mini golf course.
   “For the simple fact this was going to be our retirement area,” she said.
   He was looking on the computer for property to start a new business in Murphy when he came across the listing for the mini golf course at Peddler’s Village in Ranger. Since they already owned a house in Ranger, he recognized the property.
   “It’s all here, why not just bring it back?” Wayne Hameetman asked himself before answering in the affirmative.
   They thought the mini golf would be great for the community and families, since when they purchased their house four years ago they saw little for families to do together.
   “I want families to spend time together,” Wayne said.
   He started with his own family, as his daughter, Traci Gordon, moved here a few months ago to help run the new family business. She’s been running the social media for the business and has seen how excited people were for mini golf to return to Cherokee County.
   “They are happy in general they can have a place for kids, and it’s not too far away,” she said.
   Bear Creek Adventures Mini Golf opened Saturday morning, with both local residents and tourists enjoying the rebuilt course.
   “It’s wonderful for us to have something on this side of Murphy to enjoy,” said Angela Henningfeld, who was excited to see the golf course opening after driving past it every day on her way to town. She and her son, Leo, were the course’s first customers.
   The Purcell family of Hiwassee Dam also enjoyed mini golf Saturday.
   “It’s something good for families to do together,” Tiffany Purcell said.
   The Hameetmans bought the property about three years ago, but didn’t get started on renovations until last fall, when they were finally here full time. Because the property was vacant for at least seven years, lots of renovations were needed on the property.
   Many of the plants were overgrown, some so much that entire walkways along the course were blocked. They had to replace all the carpet on the greens, and changed the entrance to the course.
   Inside the building, they changed the counters, replacing the knotty pine with barn metal. They also added a sitting area, with ceiling fans on the back deck, for parents and grandparents to watch their kids golf.
   While Wayne said the worst part of the renovations was cleaning up the landscaping – it took a crew a few days to complete – he said the best part was seeing the results of their hard work and ideas to improve the property. He described Bear Creek Adventures as a more adult course, since there are no buildings like windmills as hazards along the course. Instead, there are rocks, trees and designs to increase the difficulty of each hole.
   “Some of the holes are kind of basic, and some get more complicated,” he said.
   The Landymore family visiting from England weren’t expecting the complicated areas of the course, which made their family competition more interesting.
   “This is a great little course,” said Mark Landymore, as his son, Liam – the one most eager to try it out – took a few attempts to tap the ball into the 18th hole. “You don’t realize how difficult it really is until you start playing.”
   Hameetman’s favorite hole is Hole 11, which is shaped like a figure 8. It also was 7-year-old Leo Henningfeld’s favorite because of the tunnel for the ball to roll through.
   Nine-year-old Rachel Purcell liked seeing the blue water throughout the course, especially at the hole near the waterfall. She’s played mini golf while on vacation in Florida and South Carolina, but this one near home is her new favorite.
   “It’s 100 percent better because it’s bigger,” she said.
   Even though the course opened Saturday, Hameetman has more planned for the future. In the space by the bathrooms, he’d like to add a pavilion with gem mining by next year. He’d also like to add a shelter where the course bends after Hole 11 that could house a snack stand. The nearly 9-acre property also includes the land down the hill from the course, and he’d like to do something with that someday, too.
   For now, Terri is looking forward to meeting everyone in the area.
   “I hope everyone enjoys themselves,” she said. “We’re real happy with the way things are turning out here.”
   They plan to work with the community, and already have been asked about hosting charity events and fundraisers. Wayne also is open to suggestions for when the course should be open – he would like to be open only six days a week, since it’s just the three of them working at the course, and as of now are closed Wednesdays. He would like to keep the business open at least through Thanksgiving, and perhaps all winter, if the weather stays mild.

School supply lists are available
   Cherokee County schools are opening later than usual this year, and the school supply lists for each school were prepared on schedule for the late start. The supply lists were due to Central Office on Thursday, and are available for families to start getting ready for the new school year.
   Each school has copies of its supply list available, and all of the lists were sent to Walmart for its display. Ranger Elementary/Middle School also posted its supply list on social media. Cherokee County Schools plans to post the supply lists on its website as well.
Samantha Sinclair is the Scouting Around columnist for the Cherokee Scout. You can reach her by email, scoutingaround@cherokeescout.com; fax, 837-5832; or by leaving a message in the office at 837-5122.