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Port Jefferson Putt & Pub Crawl features mini golf at restaurants

Debbie Engelhardt, past president of the Port Jefferson

Debbie Engelhardt, past president of the Port Jefferson Rotary Club, and her husband, John, at Ruvo East in Port Jefferson ahead of the club's annual event that features indoor miniature golf at village restaurants and bars.  Credit: Newsday/John Paraskevas

You can tee off right in the dining room when the Port Jefferson Rotary Club takes its Winter Golf Classic indoors for the 3rd annual Putt and Pub Crawl through nine restaurants and bars in the village of Port Jefferson on Saturday.

“We needed to differentiate ourselves because everyone does a golf outing," says event chair Michael Sceiford. "I thought, ‘What if we did a miniature golf outing?’”

HOW IT WORKS

Players gather at Danfords Hotel, Marina and Spa where they get a welcome packet filled with a course map, golfing gloves, tees and pens. Foursomes move through the 9-hole course, with each stop located inside a restaurant or bar that will serve appetizers such as sliders or mini tacos. Each golfer gets three drink tickets and additional beverages can be purchased for $5.

“People are eating and drinking while they are waiting their turn,” says Sceiford. “They get a taste of Port Jefferson while they play.”

Teams are encouraged to bring their own putter (some will be available for borrowing) and dress in a theme to compete in a costume contest. There’s even a hole where players can go head-to-head with a local golf pro. A mid-course halfway house will act as a fun photo-op spot.

GO TO THE HOLE

Each miniature golf hole has been handcrafted and designed by the restaurant owner or an outside contractor.

“We plan each hole based on the location,” says Sceiford. “They all have a different theme and range from par 3 to par 5.”

Michael Philbrick of Port Jeff Brewing Company decided to build a hole based on his business and even created it out of recycled materials from the brewery warehouse.

“Our hole resembles an ‘S.’ We wanted to avoid giving the golfer a straight shot,” says Philbrick. “We put some kegs in the middle to bank a shot off while simultaneously cutting off any angles that could be used.”

At Gourmet Burger Bistro, owner Mike Napoli decided to go with a skee-ball motif for his hole.

“It’s the same setup as skee-ball where you have to hit the ball down the green between two breaks on the green, up a ramp and into the middle can hole which takes you to another green for the hole-in-one,” says Napoli.

C’est Cheese owner Joe Ciardullo built a uniquely shaped hole that even manages to incorporate his signature product.

“It’s based on a dogleg left golf hole with multiple options for the golfer to decide on. The easy shot is one that avoids the looming square cheese box centered just down the ‘fairway’ but requires two, three or possibly more shots to hole out,” says Ciardullo. “There are various obstacles in the way, several pieces of cheese and a large magnum beer bottle, that hinder a straight line shot into the hole.”

Port Jefferson orthodontist Pat Sabo is famous for the course’s most difficult hole located at Tommy’s Place.

“It’s multilevel,” says Sabo. “The ball has to go up a ramp. If it veers to the wrong side, it will travel down a slope bringing the ball back to your feet. People get pretty frustrated.”

CLOSING OUT 

The event wraps with a reception where there are food stations and various awards are given out such as lowest score (best golfer), best dressed team and highest score (worst golfer). Raffle prizes, featuring all inclusive resort vacations and date night evenings out, are announced.

Money raised at the event benefits the Port Jefferson Rotary Foundation, which distributes the funds to aid for the homeless, scholarships for local high school students, Camp Pa Qua Tuck in Center Moriches, Gift of Life, Habitat for Humanity of Suffolk and the Port Jefferson Historical Society.

“The whole event is like a little staycation in Port Jeff,” says Sabo. “You get to eat at restaurants you might not have been to before and play a social game of golf. It’s a fun time.”

WINTER GOLF CLASSIC — PUTT & PUB CRAWL

WHEN|WHERE Begins 10:30 a.m. at Danfords Hotel, Marina and Spa, 25 E. Broadway in Port Jefferson on Saturday, Jan. 25 at nine village bars and restaurants. Ages 21 and over.

INFO squareup.com/store/pjrotarygolfclassic

ADMISSION $125 per golfer

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