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Two years planning is down to two weeks of waiting.

Roger Nyquist, owner of Lakeshore Lanes in Albany, will open an 18-hole miniature golf course next to his bowling facility in early May.

“It took about a year’s worth of research and another year going through the process, but we’re very close now,” Nyquist said. “We’re looking at a soft opening around May 8 and then a grand opening over Memorial weekend.”

Nyquist said the idea stemmed from a need for an outdoor activity that would fit well with bowling. His research showed that 70 percent of people who play miniature golf also bowl regularly.

“Bowling does really well for us in the winter, but in summers people want to be outdoors,” Nyquist said.

He thinks the golf course is the ticket. Set right next to Lakeshore Lanes off the south parking area, it will, Nyquist thinks, appeal to both young and old.

“That’s what we want to stress,” he said. “It’s something families can do together.”

Nyquist plans to offer family packages to promote just that kind of atmosphere. He said family and group packages work well at the bowling alley, and he envisions the same with the mini golf.

He said that more and more people are choosing to spend time locally in an effort to save money.

“This provides an attractive option for having fun at the local level,” Nyquist said. “It’s something kids love, and it’s just challenging enough to make it interesting for adults too.”

The course will be the only miniature golf layout in Linn County. Construction began  less than two months ago on Feb. 15.

Nyquist said that Big Sky Miniature Golf is handling the installation, and he expects it will be visually appealing to everyone who plays.

Waterfalls and a rocky, mountainous look will be featured throughout the course. Holes will be between 30 and 40 feet in length, with the usual hazards adding to difficulty.

A gazebo and stand-up bar will hold equipment and refreshments.

During his research, Nyquist travelled to similar bowling-golf combination facilities and was impressed with what he found. He said an indoor-outdoor activity center in Bend does very well and helped convince him it was the right move.

“We had the property and it all added up,” Nyquist said. “When the weather gets nicer people look outdoors.”

Nyquist said he expects he will have to add a couple of positions to man the golf course and thinks he could get plenty of requests to work the course from those already on staff.

“There are a lot of people who like the idea of moving outdoors for the summer,” Nyquist said, laughing. “The good news is we probably won’t have to lay any crew off for the summer.”

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