Steamboat Landing named top mini-golf course

(From left to right) Cathy McIntire, of Portland, poses with her granddaughter, Kate Pelleiter, 9, of Gorham, while Judy Murphy stands behind her granddaughter, Abbie Bouse, 8, of Yarmouth. The group was enjoying a game at Steamboat Landing Miniature Golf on Tuesday. (De Busk Photo)

(From left to right) Cathy McIntire, of Portland, poses with her granddaughter, Kate Pelleiter, 9, of Gorham, while Judy Murphy stands behind her granddaughter, Abbie Bouse, 8, of Yarmouth. The group was enjoying a game at Steamboat Landing Miniature Golf on Tuesday. (De Busk Photo)

What: Steamboat Landing Miniature Golf, which was named as top 15 miniature golf courses in U.S. by “Men’s Journal”

Where: 15 Steamboat Landing Road, off Route 114, about one-quarter mile from the Naples Causeway

Hours: Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sunday, noon to 10 p.m. Closed for the season after Labor Day

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

NAPLES — There is no set-in-stone prime time for miniature golf in Maine.

In other words, it is hard to predict when the miniature golf course will be hopping with putters. The weekdays see as much traffic as the weekends.

But, the owners of Steamboat Landing Miniature Golf in Naples know for certain that busy days will fall between Independence Day and Labor Day.

Another thing owner Rich Cebra can count on is seeing people who have been coming to Steamboat Landing since they were children or young adults. There are many familiar faces that make miniature golf part of their summer ritual.

“We have a local family that has been coming here for 35 years. They get together and come here on the Fourth of July weekend and on Labor Day weekend. They have huge tradition,” Cebra said.

“They have a sign and every time they cross out the previous year and write down the (current) year. Then, they have a mini-golf tournament. The winner gets to hold the sign for a photo. They have a lot of fun,” he said.

This spring, Cebra got a pleasant surprise when he heard that the magazine, Men’s Journal, had named Steamboat Landing as one of the top 15 miniature courses in America.

He was not aware that writers from the magazine had played the nine Maine-themed holes.

“We don’t know when they were here. They must have come and played, and sort of did it like a restaurant critic,” he said.

“Some golfers came in and said, ‘We saw you in Men’s Journal,’” Cebra said.

“This was surprising, and at the same time very cool,” he said.

Eight of those courses are located in New England. The other top contender in Maine can be found in Boothbay Harbor.

Cebra purchased Naples-based Steamboat Landing from Bob and Grace Simms 14 years ago.

Simms “built this place out of the woods, and ran it for 21 years. He was a retired cabinetmaker and engineer. He made everything in the workshop here — very Maine themed and low tech,” Cebra said.

For the most part the authenticity has been maintained. Although, a bear carved from wood was retired to a flower garden on the premises. Other themes include a covered bridge, a ski jump and a sawmill. One new addition is the yellow fisherman statue that once stood on the Causeway’s miniature golf course.

The Maine Turnpike tends to be a hands-down favorite.

“People like the turnpike. There are little Lego guys in the toll booth. They remember it from when they were kids,” he said.

Tucked away from the main drag, this miniature golf course is cool in the noontime sun — thanks to the shade of tall trees. The running water and landscaping creates a relaxing atmosphere.

“Our best thing is word of mouth. Now-a-days, people are finding us more and more often online,” Cebra said.

“Most of the people who come here have been coming here their whole life,” he said.

The business’ FaceBook page attests to this trend.

“I have been going there every year for my birthday at the end of July for as long as I can remember. It is a great family place to go mini golfing and I will continue to go there for years to come,” Mike Ames said.

Another Facebook entry made by Robin Staples said, “I have been coming here the better part of 20 years. One of my favorites.”

On Tuesday afternoon, Yarmouth resident Judy Murphy was enjoying a game of miniature golf with her granddaughter, Abbie. Murphy spends some of summer vacation on Sebago Lake. She recalled taking her daughter, Abbie’s mom, to Steamboat when she was younger.

“My mom, now 87, until two years ago, she played every summer and beat all of us,” Murphy said.

Please follow and like us: