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Family won't open Carnegie's Forsythe Miniature Golf and Snacks this summer

Wednesday, May 15, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
 

Forsythe Miniature Golf and Snacks in Carnegie will be closed this summer for the first time in seven decades.

The tree-lined, 18-hole mini golf course and candy shop off Forsythe Road, at the edge of Carnegie Park, is a well-known recreation spot in the south suburbs that has been family-operated since it opened in 1942. But Sue Stasiuk of Boston, niece of owner Wanda Forsythe Clay, said the family is not able to continue running the business.

“Everybody is going in different directions right now,” she said.

Keeping the seasonal course closed was a hard decision, but family members are comfortable with it, she said. “This has been coming for a while,” she said. “It just seems like the right thing to do now.”

Carnegie Mayor Jack Kobistek said it's a loss for the area. He has lived in the borough for more than 20 years and raised his family there.

“My kids are going to be disappointed — my whole family is,” he said. “We've golfed at that little golf course since my kids were little, and they're teenagers now. Now they go golf with their friends.”

Stasiuk's great-great-uncle, George Lang, came up with the idea for the golf course in 1939 as he sought solace over his wife's death. He approached Joe Forsythe, who was his great-nephew and Stasiuk's grandfather, about building the complex on Forsythe's property on Cooks Lane.

Stasiuk said the family grew up on the course, and she and her sister started working at it when they were just 8 years old.

“My grandfather would have us scrape the rails, and we'd paint them red,” she said. “We maintained the course. At the end of the day, he'd check our hands for calluses to see if we worked hard enough for the day.”

After the golf course was established, Stasiuk's grandmother, Grace Forsythe, opened the penny candy shop. Stasiuk said she remembers the kids of the family helping stock the many candy jars.

“The display was amazing. She was so proud of it,” she said. “Kids would fill up their baskets full of candy and take it down watch everyone golf on the course.”

Numerous family members have owned and maintained the course.

“Four of us over time took over, after my grandmother and grandfather handed it over to us,” Stasiuk said.

A hole-in-one on the 18th hole gave visitors a free game. Stasiuk said her grandfather would sit at the last hole and watch golfers attempt the feat. And when someone got hit with a club, a free ice pop was in store to hold on the bump or bruise.

“It's a very homespun business,” she said, “and always has been.”

Kobistek said that while there are no plans in place right now, he would like to save the course.

“I do want to throw some ideas out and see if anything is acceptable,” he said.

One idea he floated was to — under adult supervision — allow high school students to operate and care for the course.

“I'd like to see something like that,” he said. “It helps young people earn a little money, and it helps keep the golf course open. To me, something like that could benefit the community in a couple ways,”

Megan Guza is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5810 or mguza@tribweb.com.

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