A PASSION FOR PUTT-PUTT
|Putters at Cool Crest.|
A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of interviewing Mitchell Andry. He and three of his brothers – James, Phillip and Albert – bought and restored the iconic Cool Crest Miniature Golf Course on San Antonio’s west side. You can read all about it in the article I wrote for The Rivard Report.
Today was the grand opening and of course, I had to see what all the fuss was about. Not being a San Antonio native, I never experienced the rite of passage known as Cool Crest.
Now I get it.
As I drove up Fredericksburg Road, it was a heartwarming sight to behold crowds of people on the course. Several police officers were on hand to help with the parking.
Members of the Andry family were at the front entrance, greeting everyone as they came in. Many were old friends or former customers … or both.
|An original sign from the Metzger years at Cool Crest.|
|A crowd waits to check in at Cool Crest.|
As I walked around taking photos, I heard bits and pieces of conversation that made me realize what an integral role Cool Crest played in San Antonio culture.
“My dad was good friends with Mr. Metzger.”
“I used to come here all the time with my family.”
“They went on their first date here, and now they’re celebrating their 20th anniversary.”
|One of the photos from the Metzger estate, circa 1960s. Boy, they do love big hair in Texas!|
|Brothers Mitchell and James Andry with their nephew Jacob Andry.|
|Giving Dad some pointers|
|Hmmm...do you think I can bank that shot?|
One of the visitors, James McCloskey, sat at a picnic table with his wife, Kathleen. James grew up in the neighborhood and graduated from Jefferson High School in 1953. He worked at Cool Crest his junior and senior years and did a variety of odd jobs.
“I swept, swept and swept,” remembered James wryly. He went on to Trinity and then to MIT, and eventually was a professor of biochemistry at the University of Utah for 35 years. The professor emeritus and his wife, who he met in Freeport, came back to this area to retire.
“We always told people we were just on loan from Texas,” said Kathleen.
She said that it was heartening to see what the Andrys had accomplished at the site.
“It’s a treasure that’s been restored,” she said.
As golfers approached Hole 7 at the older 18-hole course, they came upon a woman sitting under an umbrella, armed with a camera and tape recorder. Her name was Charlotte Rahl, a volunteer with the Old Spanish Trail Association.
According to their website, the OST movement was organized “to promote a paved automobile highway across the southern United States connecting 6 centers of historical interest: St. Augustine, New Orleans, San Antonio, El Paso, Tucson and San Diego.”
The Fredericksburg Road area was part of the Old Spanish Trail, and Charlotte said she was gathering stories from people whose lives had been touched by Cool Crest.
“One family here had five generations who had been here!” she said.
|The ladies restroom...|
|...and the men's restroom.|
While the thunderstorms earlier in the day may have slowed down the crowds somewhat, they did bring welcome cooler temps and a pleasant breeze. And by 7:30 p.m., Mitchell Andry said the unofficial count for players was approximately 1,100 – and that was with 2 ½ hours to go.
With tomorrow being Monday – they’re closed – Mitchell said they’ll be able to assess how they did, make adjustments as necessary, and then hit the ground running Tuesday.
No doubt, the Andry family will play a large role in making memories for many more generations of San Antonians. I applaud the outstanding job they’ve already done, and toast them with a can of Delaware Punch.
|I haven't tried the Delaware Punch yet. I was told it tasted|
like Hawaiian Punch with a kick. It was a big favorite at
Cool Crest for many years.
If you'd like to play at Cool Crest and help out a good cause at the same time, go to the Power of Preservation Facebook page to learn more about the special event planned the evening of July 12! There will be music by Los #3 Dinners, food, drink and of course, a miniature golf tournament! Tickets are $75, and proceeds go to the Power of Preservation Foundation.