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May You Putt In Peace

In Business This Week


Back in the heyday of conglomeration, it wasn't unusual to find companies with a hand in everything from parking lots to space-age electronics. Such diversification is out of fashion, but that hasn't stopped Ahlgrim & Sons Funeral Home in Palatine, Ill., from running a miniature golf course in its basement.

Owner Roger Ahlgrim justifies the arrangement by noting that the 9-hole, par-23 course is booked months ahead. Funeral homes don't usually get so much advance notice. And Ahlgrim has a reason for not charging for use of the course. "It gets people comfortable with coming here," he says.

The course itself is a killer. On the first hole, golfers must putt around a skull. Elsewhere, a guillotine, spider webs, and tombstones remind golfers of their mortality. There's only one catch: No golf during services. Admits Ahlgram: "I have to cancel lots of reservations."EDITED BY HARRIS COLLINGWOOD

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