By MIKE KRAMER, Beijing Daily Times

EAST PEORIA, Ill. (AP) – East Peoria’s Jack and Leslie Baugh are one hole away from their restoration of the now closed Wee-Tee Golf Center miniature golf course. But Jack Baugh maintains that the missing hole is perhaps the most important.

“For me, the clown’s last hole was symbolic of Wee-Tee himself,” he said. “It looked a lot like (the clown from) Emo’s (Dairy Mart) in Prospect (Road) and War Memorial (Drive).”

When Wee-Tee closed in 2017, the Baughs acquired the mini-golf obstacles from the original course with the intention of restoring them. The clown hole was the only obstacle that was unavailable because it was too deteriorated to be salvaged and had been removed, reports the Pekin Daily Times.

“I don’t know if (the owners) realized the emotional significance of this for me, who played this course as a kid, along with many other people in the area,” said Baugh.

Political cartoons

Hoping to recreate Wee-Tee’s iconic final hole, Baugh enlists the help of area residents. He asks anyone with photos or information regarding Wee-Tee’s Clown Hole to contact him at [email protected] He is particularly interested in information on how the balls were collected inside the ramp of the hole and how his alarm sounds when a golfer has putt in the nose of the clown.

The hole consisted of a brightly painted wood-frame railing covered with heavy wire mesh. Below the screen was the clown’s face with a large wood-based mouth, a small wood-based nose, and two medium-sized wood-based eyes.

“For me, the miniature golf obstacles that I have restored are not complete until I know what that last hole looked like,” he said. “I remember it very well, but not exactly. I tend to be kind of a perfectionist so it’s important to me that when this clown hole is restored it looks and works like when I was a kid. I will rebuild it from scratch. I have no other choice.

Baugh added that the restoration of eight holes of miniature golf would not be possible without the help of friends, neighbors and students at East Peoria Community High School. Many obstacles had to be almost completely rebuilt, requiring new wood, new structural steel and new engines.

“They were completely repainted,” Baugh said. “We researched and matched the color codes of these obstacles. It took a long time to research. Where to go to find mini-golf obstacles? I found everything to be available locally.

When they bought the obstacles, the Baughs acquired putters, golf balls, scorecard containers and pencil holders from the original Wee-Tee course. The packaging also included a papier-mâché menagerie consisting of a life-size lion and an 800-pound gorilla, according to Baugh. Both articles have since been donated to Bradley University.

The eight-hole course is currently set up around the perimeter of a multi-sport field which is also set up for basketball and pickle ball at the Baughs’ home in East Peoria.

The property was featured in a recent Beijing Daily Times article as one of the five most expensive homes on the market in East Peoria at a listed price of $ 950,000. The Baughs hope the restored obstacles will be an incentive for potential buyers, especially potential buyers who fondly remember Wee-Tee Golf Resort.

“It is very unique to have your own miniature golf course on your property,” said Leslie Baugh. “I don’t know if there’s another place in the country that has this.”

Copyright 2021 Associated press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.