Seeking Information on Goony Golf of Red Bank

Friday, November 1, 2013 - by Harmon Jolley

Memories Readers, I need your help. 

I promised a friend who is a Red Bank historian that I would find information on the Goony Golf that was once located beside Red Bank United Methodist Church on Dayton Boulevard.

My dilemma is that this is one of several topics where I walked away from the Local History/Genealogy section of the Public Library with little information.  There were two related newspaper clippings on file, but only one of them on Goony Golf, and I have not found any photographs or other memorabilia, not even a score card, of the Red Bank Goony location.

Here’s what I was able to find.

·       Goony Golf was a chain of miniature golf courses developed by Earl K. (“Dutch”) Magrath and other executives and investors of Golf Players beginning in 1960.  The chain grew to 44 courses in 12 states, as of the date of the lone Goony entry in the library’s clipping file.  The article appeared in the May 21, 1972 Chattanooga News-Free Press.

·       The course at 5952 Brainerd Road, which is still operating today, opened in 1962.  Red Bank Goony began turning its wind mill in 1963.  I regret that I did not take time to determine what was on the site prior to Goony Golf opening in Red Bank. 

·       The Red Bank location last appeared in the 1975 Chattanooga City Directory.  I recall golfing there around 1974.

·       The March 19, 1979 Chattanooga News-Free Press reported that the Red Bank City Commission would be meeting with the Red Bank Recreation Board regarding the city’s parks, including city land formerly owned by Goony Golf.  There was interest in securing federal funding for parks.

·       A park is located today on the former home of the Goony Bird, Goonysaurus, and Silly Bear.

·       Earl K. Magrath, Jr. passed away in 1999.

Goony Golf operated during a time of rapid suburbanization and maturing of the Baby Boom generation.  So, it is very possible that some of you have family photos of you and others trying to get a hole-in-one into Leaping Lena the Kangaroo’s pouch.

If you have memories or photographs of Goony Golf of Red Bank, please send them to me at jolleyh@bellsouth.net.  I will update the article, to make it more detailed and up-to-par.


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