Remember Buying Your Christmas Trees at Al's Golfdom or Al's Golfhaven?



ad courtesy Al and Susie Fister

Most Memphians "of a certain age" surely remember Al's Golfdom or Al's Golfhaven. Though they started out as fairly basic miniature golf courses, they quickly evolved into full-scale entertainment complexes. And they were, quite simply, some of the best places in Memphis to hang out.

In 1960, Al and Susie Fister opened Al's Golfdom on Perkins, just south of the expressway. Five years later, they opened Al's Golfhaven, on Raines Road and I-55. Both featured a pair of miniature golf courses and a really nice (and long) driving range. But then Al and Susie added giant slides, and baseball batting cages, and concession stands, and go-karts, and other amusements.

During the winter, when it was too cold to play miniature golf, the Fisters turned their parking lots into Al's Christmas Forest, as you can see from this newspaper ad from the 1980s. If you bought a tree, you got a free bucket of balls for the driving range. And look, they sold trees that were 12 feet tall! For a while, Al and Susie also sold Christmas trees in the parking lot of the shopping center at Perkins and Quince.

I told the whole story of Al's Golfdom and Al's Golfhaven in the October 2010 issue of Memphis magazine. But I was wondering: How many of you remember buying your Christmas trees from Al's Christmas Forest?

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Ask Vance is the blog of Vance Lauderdale, the award-winning columnist of Memphis magazine and MBQ: Inside Memphis Business.  Vance is the author of three books: Ask Vance: The Best Questions and Answers from Memphis Magazine's History and Trivia Expert (2003), as well as Ask Vance: More Questions and Answers from Memphis Magazine's History Expert (2011) and Vance Lauderdale's Lost Memphis (2013). He is also the recipient of quite a few nice awards, the creator of several eye-catching wall calendars, and the only person we know with a vintage shock-treatment machine in his den. 

You can find him from time to time in the pages of the Memphis Flyer and MBQ, on WKNO television, and on Facebook. When he is not exploring the highways and byways of Memphis, he spends his time sleeping, napping, and dozing.

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