LAKEVIEW — City Mini Golf is back.
Lakeview dad Eric Michaels launched the 18-hole mobile course last summer as a fundraiser for local schools.
Each week, he sets up shop in a CPS parking lot and donates 15 percent of his proceeds to the host school. Last year, Michaels gave about $900 per week.
"We're hoping it's $1,000 this year," he said. "Schools can [make money] just for letting us use their parking lot. They don't have to do anything. We're completely self-contained."
Starting this month, City Mini Golf will offer pop-up games in Lakeview, Lincoln Park, Lincoln Square and North Center.
Michaels — who works from home as a futures trader — built the course himself when he got sick of driving his now-11-year-old son to the 'burbs to play mini golf.
"There's really no place to go in the city," he said.
Each hole has a "kiddie" and challenging option to make it fun for grown-ups, too. Themed holes include mini-golf Plinko and a "human obstacle course," where other players stand on the green.
Plus, since each parking lot is uneven, playing the same hole feels different from school to school.
"Last year, we had people follow us to every location," Michaels said. "We had no idea that would happen."
"You'd be surprised how many kids come, and come back, sometimes three times a day," added manager Jamaal Bearden. "It's pretty great how much the kids like it."
Tickets cost $8 per person and $5 for the second round. A play-all-day pass (good for 24 hours) rings in at $15. The course is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.
Michaels said he's been overjoyed at the community engagement. He's seen schools offer welcome nights for new students and incoming kindergartners. And City Mini Golf has attracted quite a few summer camps, including Fred's Camp, with half-off rates for groups.
Plus, he said his son — whose going into sixth grade at Hawthorne Scholastic Academy — thinks it's "awesome."
"He's very obsessed with figuring out how to get a hole-in-one on every hole. He spends a lot of time on hole No. 3," Michaels said with a laugh.
City Mini Golf runs through Sept. 1. This fall, the company will offer 3-day weekend courses, if weather permits. The summer schedule includes:
• Oscar Mayer Magnet School, 2250 N. Clifton Ave., June 14-29
• The Nettlehorst School, 3252 N. Broadway, June 30-July 6
• Jahn Elementary School, 3149 N. Wolcott Ave., July 7-20
• Lake View High School, 4015 N. Ashland Ave., July 21-Aug. 3
• Prescott Elementary School, 1632 W. Wrightwood Ave., Aug. 4-9
• Welles Park, 2333 W. Sunnyside Ave., Aug. 10-18 (benefits the Welles Park Advisory Council)
• Blaine Elementary School, 1420 W. Grace St., Aug. 19-Sept. 1
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