Putt-putt courses take swing at new generation

- Just when you thought putt-putt might be puttering out, mini-golf is being reimagined to attract consumers away from more high-tech, interactive entertainment. The South Florida Science Center and Aquarium just opened a brand new 18-hole course this past fall -- set in a butterfly garden.

Why butterflies?

"Butterflies are beautiful,” explained the center's CEO, Lew Crampton. “Our museum is hands-on, minds-on. It's just an added extra experience.”

In a changing business environment, the course is all about our environment, replacing a crumbling legacy course that used to be there.

"So we decided to go the whole 10 yards and fix the whole thing but add a message, so every hole here is named after an Everglades animal or habitat."

It was created by Jim Fazio, a well-known golf course architect, and pro golfer Gary Nicklaus, the son of legendary golfer Jack Nicklaus.
                   
"I know of no other case where professional golfers have gotten interested in designing a mini golf course except here."

The center's CEO says they donated their services to design the course. "Well, it was a little wild. It was taking a chance. This was a $300,000 installation."

But he says it's paying off. "We've had a lot of revenue and people -- about 150 to 200 a week. So this is making money."

Some of those people are out-of-state visitors from as far as Pennsylvania, who say mini golf is an affordable way to spend time as a family.

"I've never seen one like this, very cluttered with kitschy kind of obstacles, and the kids like seeing the animals at each hole they're playing,” Julie Ramsey offered between putts.

It’s a new take on old-fashioned fun, keeping consumers coming back to a classic.

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