Some say ADA's mini golf course regulations too steep

Published: Jul. 2, 2012 at 10:59 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 11, 2012 at 6:59 PM EDT
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HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - The Americans with Disabilities Act gave all miniature golf courses until March 15 to make their courses up to regulations.

Many courses in Horry County did not change their accessibility because they said it would cost too much money. The ADA told WMBF News it is not actively seeking mini golf courses that aren't compliant, but if a complaint is made, it would have to investigate.

In order for mini golf courses, some of the regulations are that at least half of the holes must be wheelchair accessible, and the last hole on the course must be one of those. Those holes must be consecutive, but one break in that is allowed. The slope on the play area cannot exceed 1.48 inches. If artificial turf is used on the course, the height of it cannot exceed ½ inch.

Some mini golf courses in the area said the regulations are "ridiculous" and "impossible." One owner said he is upset because it would cost thousands upon thousands of dollars to completely revamp his course to be up to code. There is no grandfather clause in the regulations, so regardless of how long the mini golf course has been established, each course is expected to follow the ADA regulations.

Mount Atlanticus is one course that is up to ADA compliance. It has been since it opened its doors 14 years ago.

"This is the conch course, like a conch shell. It has an elevator accessible to all floors on this course. Each course then plays like a regular hole but it has an access, you get out. The bricks are removed at a location on each hole so a wheelchair or a baby carriage can easily make its way to the next hole," Mount Atlanticus General Manager John Stack said.

Although the course Stack co-owns is compliant, he said he does understand why other courses are having a hard time with the new regulations.

"If you know it going in and you can build it from the start, that's one thing. But to have to come back and to regroup and spend a great deal of money and time to do that sounds like a little much," Stack said, "Thank goodness at Mount Atlanticus we made those preparations early and we're ready for them."

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