LAKEVIEW — Eric Michaels is not your average bake sale school fundraiser.
When thinking about ways to raise money for his son's school, Hawthorne Scholastic Academy, he thought that the school's empty summer parking lot might be a good spot for a pop-up miniature golf course. But he didn't like any of the sets he saw, which were either flawed or too pricey.
So Michaels did what any handy man with a do-it-yourself mentality would do: He built his own 18-hole mini golf course.
This is nor your average backyard project. Michaels, who trades futures at home for a living, wanted to get creative with the obstacles.
City Mini Golf features quirks like a golf version of Plinko, a course in which players must putt the ball past other players and a hole where players much launch the ball into the air to get it into a hole.
Each hole will feature an easier option and a harder option so that parents can enjoy, too.
"I don't like going to miniature golf courses that are too kiddie and you just putt the ball and it rolls," Michaels said. "It's just not realistic. It's not real golf. I tried to make it a putting challenge for the dads and experienced golfers, too."
City Mini Golf will pop up Friday for the first time at School Street Playlot, 1230 W. School Street, and will stay until the end of the month.
Kids pay $6, and adults pay $8, with a dollar from each admission going to help build the School Street Playlot. This summer, the golf course will travel to eight Chicago Public School parking lots, with a dollar from those admissions going to the host school.
It is a for-profit enterprise, Michaels said, but the schools themselves do not have to provide volunteers or supplies to host the course. City Mini Golf does all the work.
By next summer, Michaels hopes to build a second course so that City Mini Golf can pop up in more school parking lots.
"I just want it to be fun for the kids," he said. "This is the kind of thing I do.
Check City Mini Golf's Facebook page to see where the course will pop up next.