Labor Day and Memorial Day are among the most popular weekends of the year for the nation’s mini-golf courses. But in an increasingly tough business climate for old-school mini-golf courses, many may shut their doors. Leaving many local community members distraught at the notion of losing the beloved dinosaur or other legendary iconic on the classes.
Miniature golf as we know it did not start to take shape till the 1950s. In 1954 Don Clayton and his Putt-Putt Golf Corporation. He started a mini-golf course in Fayetteville, North Carolina that highlighted two different innovations: An aluminum barrier encased every hole, and the carpet players putted on was expensive, explicitly designed to endure the conditions.
It seems easy now, but Clayton had only built the only course in town which players can play somewhat consistently, and the popularity of his course exploded because of it. Over twenty years, the Putt-Putt Golf Corporation had franchised out several areas over the southeastern US.
It wasn’t until the 90s, after the growth of at-home technology, that its popularity began to slow down. Although there are only scattered empirical data to describe this downturn, notable figures within the mini-golf industry point to the growth of technology as the biggest problem, children — clients — only seek more interactive sports nowadays.
It is a phenomenon that has negatively affected industries much like mini-golf, such as roller skating and paintball, which reported downturns of -6.8 and -9.7 percent in its involvement between 2008 and 2013, according to a new Sport & Fitness Industry Association research.
“In the age of computers, children aren’t as interested in outdoor activities,” said David M. Callahan, the current CEO of the Putt-Putt Corporation. “Fifteen years ago we used to only be a skill-based miniature golf brand.”
The Putt-Putt Corporation has persisted by going beyond its name. The business arrives at the majority of its gains through its “fun facilities,” which include some combination of arenas, restaurants, bumper cars, laser tag, arcades, batting cages, and go-karts. Miniature golf is now a smaller piece of a much bigger pie, and while golf-only websites are the standard within the Putt-Putt Corporation, now they are few-and-far-between.
“We’ve had to become more forward-thinking,” Callahan said. “Fun centers will generate significantly more revenue than just generic miniature golf. We have to offer people more than just golf.”
Miniature golf park business in itself does not cut it anymore. Courses persist today by getting weird, and while that might be sordid information to the sentimentalists, it has given growth to an unparalleled wave of creativity within the business.
D&D Mini Golf in Tennessee lies in full darkness and is illuminated only by black lights displaying giant statues of large mythical creatures. A pop-up mini-golf course at Portland made players putt over a series of laser beams. The latest turf exhibition in Los Angeles saw architects design many different mini-golf holes, including one which suspended the pit in mid-air with the support of a giant, secured balloon.
A miniature golf park business in Illinois asks users to putt their ball through a working roller coaster. The Toledo Mud Hens transformed their AAA baseball stadium to a mini-golf course during the off-season. A pub named Swingers recently opened in London and included a miniature golf course in an underground World War II bunker.
Go to a new mini-golf park today, and you will find it’s been relegated to the fringes; one part of a more significant experience. Mini Golf park business in the era of technologies has to be tricked-up to work, so designers keep promoting it in every way, trying to give something so zany that individuals might want to try.
How to Build A Mini-Golf Course Business
Building a miniature golf course industry is not as tough as you might think. To begin with, settling a turnkey business like Mini Golf Creations to build, design, and provide a ‘ready-to-play’ course can make life a lot easier.
However, before beginning any new company venture, it is essential to do your research to make sure your course is going to be a success.
Below we have outlined our six tips for how to build a miniature golf course business.
1. Do Your Research
So you want to start a mini-golf course company and are really enthusiastic about the idea? That’s great! But before getting too carried away, the first thing you should do is conduct thorough research into the viability of your proposal.
To help decide if your business model will be a success, you need to research:
- the demographics and population of your town/city/suburb
- if there are similar companies in your area competing for the same slice of this industry
- whether related businesses in your area have worked or failed, and what they did wrong or right
- other miniature golf courses–determine what you like and what you not.
2. Understand Your Market
Understanding your market means knowing who your average customer is: their needs, interests, desires, etc. This may mean administering market research or just considering how to attract your target market.
The traditional market for mini-golf courses (the older putt-putt style) was families –Mum, Dad, and the kids. However, the new, more realistic miniature golf courses have a much broader market appeal. They are designed so that everyone–children, teens, young adults, parents, and even golf experts –will want to play them.
3. Know The Business
You do not require any particular qualifications to run a mini-golf course business. In actuality, when the program is built, the company will efficiently work itself with limited staffing and upkeep. It may also produce high ongoing returns.
However, it is a good idea to know the ins and outs of running a miniature golf company before deciding to build one. We would suggest speaking to somebody who runs a miniature golf course in a different area (not competing with you) to learn what it is like.
4. Choose The Perfect Location
The old real estate adage, ‘location, location, location!’ also applies to build a miniature golf course business. Selecting the right location can be a huge factor in determining your success.
If you’re thinking of adding a miniature golf course to an existing company (e.g., a golf course, hotel, amusement park, or holiday park). Then your location will already be fixed. But, you may still think of how to find the course on your existing site. In addition to how to maximize visibility to visitors and passersby.
5. Ticket Pricing
Another major factor to consider before building a miniature golf course company is how much you can charge for tickets. This can determine how a lot of people you attract, what type of people, in addition to how fast you recover your costs and earn a profit.
You might want to do some market research to find this figure right. However, a fantastic place to start is by checking the ticket prices of any competing or similar companies in your area, in addition to other miniature golf courses in neighboring towns.
6. Size of The Program
The size of your miniature golf course (how many holes) is essential for several reasons. It is going to determine how partially:
- much money you’ll have to spend upfront
- much you can charge for tickets
- likely you are to lure repeat clients.
Often, the size of a miniature golf course will be determined by the size of your property.
Since 1954, the Putt-Putt name was synonymous with family fun and had few of the highest name acknowledgment of any entertainment industry in the world. As the major franchisee of mini-golf courses in the world with over 35 places, Putt-Putt is a fantastic option for someone wanting to enter the industry.
Even though Putt-Putt has continued to test and add new attractions at franchise locations through time, the traditional Putt-Putt miniature golf is still the heart of each location. Some locations continue to be focused solely on Putt-Putt Golf, but others have additional go-karts, bumper cars, arcades, batting cages, bumper boats, laser tag, climbing walls, and much more.
With strong brand recognition, a family-oriented standing and attractive pricing for our guests, Putt-Putt provides franchisees an excellent business option. Join us as a Putt-Putt Fun Center franchisee and find out how the Putt-Putt name and reputation will bring families, organizations, and groups to your Fun Center for an inexpensive good time.
In November 2010, Putt-Putt started its new park prototype in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Later in July 2015, this model was further expanded to the present model. This complete Putt-Putt Fun Center includes an updated park design, modernized attractions. Other design-specific components that facilitate a successful and attractive business.
When you get a Putt-Putt Fun Center franchise, you are becoming a part of a tradition of family fun that’s over 60 years old. The Putt-Putt brand is invaluable, sparking prompt recognition among kids and parents throughout the country. With the choice to add other attractions, like go-karts, arcades, laser tag, bumper boats, and batting cages. You can make a mini-amusement park that’s the place for family fun on your community. You’ll be the preferred location for birthday parties, fundraising events, youth group outings, scout outings, athletic team parties. Even business events when they need a family environment.
Putt-Putt will be your partner in this venture. Some of the perks you’ll get as a Putt-Putt Fun Center franchisee will comprise:
- The use of the Putt-Putt name (a powerful national brand equivalent with family fun), collateral system, logo, signage, promotional materials, etc.
- Support and consultation from an expert Putt-Putt representative every step of the way
- Site selection consulting
- Facility design assistance, including design help from the Putt-Putt representative and connection to a family fun center design pro.
- Initial training for you and your key employees, and access to the ongoing training for all of your workers
- Access to an entire step-by-step marketing plan
- On-site support for your grand opening
- Continuing assistance from the corporate office staff through site visits, secure website, and a toll-free number once you’re available for business.
- Group meetings with other franchisees to network for help and ideas
- Contacts and discounts from primary vendors for everything from insurance and employee benefits to putters and redemption toys
- Research and development contributes to new attraction options and marketing applications
- And much more!
We know that our success depends on your progress. Your Putt-Putt adviser will continue to be there for you to answer questions, provide tips, and give you whatever support you want to be successful.
Watch this video for more information: