I’ve always loved to play miniature golf and without question my favorite course was Smuggler’s Quay Adventure Golf which was located on Central Avenue between Grant & Sherman in Seaside Heights.

That was the same site that once housed the Barnegat Ice Plant and later Rainbow Rapids Water Park.  Built and operated by the Macchiaverna Family, Smuggler’s Quay opened in 1989 and featured two 18-hole courses.  It became a favorite of mine along with my brother Brian and later my son Brandon.  Our goal was always to shoot a 36 which I don’t think we ever did. I remember a couple of times where we were close before losing it late in the round.

The course closed in 2006 and the “mountain” it was built on was torn down and eventually replaced by condos but Smuggler’s Quay is back, sort of.  The new version is located as part of the Breakwater Beach complex at Casino Pier and while the name is the same they pronounce it differently: Kway not Key.

Regardless I had to play that course before it officially opened this Saturday so thanks to Marketing Manager Maria Mastoris I had the opportunity to do so this past Monday.  I was joined by Chris Varacchi of our sister station 105.7 The Hawk and for me it was like a stroll down memory lane.  The names of the two courses (Buccaneer and Privateer) remain the same and there are some striking similarities to what was down the street a decade earlier.

What makes Smugglers Quay (I’m sticking with the old name) so great is something you’ll have to see for yourself.  The layout and design is awesome with some really amazing scenery and props and several of the holes present real challenges.  For what it’s worth I lost to Varacchi by two shots but he had all the advantages and I’ve demanded a post-Labor Day rematch.

The official grand opening of the new Smuggler’s Quay is this Saturday from noon-2 p.m. but before that starting at 9 a.m. there will be a Mini Golf Tournament with foursomes invited to participate and compete for prizes and more.  Pre-registration is required and proceeds will benefit Ocean of Love.  Simply go to casinopiernj.com for details and registration.