LISBON — In the 15 years Cary Palmer spent walking behind a hydro-jet watering golf courses from Maine to Florida he couldn’t help but notice: A lot of golfers could use a little help with their putting.

A few months ago, Palmer, 67, opened an indoor course in the Midtown Plaza strip mall that’s part putting range, part mini-golf without the windmills. The key is 18 staggered greens, 12- to 40-feet long with two holes each.

His target audience: The novice golfer, families, large groups and practice putters.

“I know that I don’t play good golf,” he said. “Here, I can be competitive with anybody. Everybody can putt. Grandpa can putt, an 8-year-old can putt.”

Palmer has built his Palms Course in a former hardware store on a raised frame filled with 2-inch thick polyurethane Styrofoam with specially contoured, movable bumps, then topped with turf. He said he wanted a slightly spongy feel underfoot, like the real thing.

Play in one direction and the green feels like it’s sloping slightly uphill; play in the other, and it feels slightly downhill. Small gaps, the equivalent of gutters between each green, stop most balls from skipping over to neighboring turf.

His nephew, Nick Curit, assembled the course and painted a giant mural of trees, a lake, mountain and sand pit along one wall.

“The course is par 36 but nobody pars it,” Palmer said. Two insider tips: “You don’t want to go long because it’s a penalty, like going in the water. The other thing: You don’t always want to try to get a hole in one. You’re better off to understand that par 2 is the way to win the game.”

He designed the business, he said, with the idea of affordable family fun. The cost is $5 per person for an hour of play. Group rates start at $75 for a party of 20. A team of two players can usually make it around the course in 25 minutes. People can bring their own putters and balls or use his.

“Kids will make noise in here and that’s what I’d rather have than a golfer raising his hand for quiet,” Palmer said.

Palms Course is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week and later for groups on request.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: