Miniature Golf Is Big Business

    • The $80 billion golf industry is booming.
    • People like Tiger Woods are facilitating its growth through the light-hearted game of miniature golf.

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When Don Clayton stepped away from insurance sales and launched Putt-Putt in 1954, his first course cost him $5,500.

He made his investment back in 29 days and, in the following years, helped establish mini golf as one of America’s favorite pastimes. Now, Putt-Putt is still around and mini golf is only getting bigger worldwide.

Swingers, a high-end mini golf experience popular in the United Kingdom, is headed to Washington D.C. and New York. The company got its start as a pop-up in 2014 but has taken strides since then, most recently raising $20 million from investment firm Cain International. 

“We remain hugely confident in the ongoing appeal of unique experiential leisure concepts,” Cain International CEO Jonathan Goldstein told the London Evening Standard.

Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, and Topgolf have made forays into putt-putt golf as well:

  • Woods is a partner in PopStroke, which provides golfers app-based score-keeping and food and drink delivery to the course.
  • Earlier this year, McIlroy partnered with Drive Shack on its high-tech mini golf brand Puttery, which plans to launch in Dallas this summer.
  • Topgolf, which recently completed its merger with Callaway, has added mini golf courses to multiple locations in recent years.
  • Puttshack, co-founded by the twin brothers who created Topgolf, has three U.K. locations and plans to open more in Atlanta, Miami, and Chicago this year.

“It’s one of the only things I can think of that regardless of age, socioeconomic background or skill level, an 8-year-old can enjoy to the same extent as a 78-year-old,” PopStroke founder Greg Bartoli told the Naples Daily News.

More than 130 million people play mini golf each year; annual revenue across the industry exceeds $1 billion.