Over the weekend I took a little vacation from school work and the partying and headed to Gatlinburg, TV with my girlfriend. My excuse for going and rationalizing the trip was for “professional development” and “business market research”. Sounds good doesn’t it? Anyway, after being in about 2 hours of traffic to go less than 30 miles, just outside of Gatlinburg, we were able to start enjoying the trip. Gatlinburg is home of some of the Ripley’s Believe It or Not attractions including the Ripley’s Museum, the Aquarium, the Haunted House, and Davy Crocket Mini Golf.
We visited three of the five with a package deal, saved about $20 from it, and had a great time. However, a part of the trip I had been looking forward to was a place that offered black light mini golf. Now, I’ve played many different miniature golf courses and themed courses, however, I had never seen a black light course. My hopes were set high for this course! I was looking forward to moving objects, flashing lights, and lots of neon.
Well…I got my neon and that was about it. The course we played was a nicely designed course, although only 9 holes. The course was very similar to any regular ocean/nautical themed course you may play. There was a mermaid, a treasure chest, a “sunken ship”, octopus, fish, and what could have looked like a Zeus statue. Everything was just painted with neon colors/glow in the dark paints. And then the only lighting was, of course, black lights.
So anyway, I was a bit disappointed. However, I love the idea of an indoor miniature golf course, especially one that features black lights. Just the idea itself, would make it a winning attraction and draw people to the course. But then if you do not have a quality mini golf course in your area, there is even more money to be made!
My thoughts on starting a mini golf course…
1. Relatively Low Cost: You will of course have a lot of upfront costs (finding a place to build your course (indoor or outdoor), designing the course, and building the course). Then you need to look at your equipment costs, like the others, these will pretty much be upfront costs for getting your variety of putters and colored golf balls, score cards, and pencils. After these costs, all that are left are paying your rent for the place where the course is and maintenance which can be fairly low cost.
2. Great Return: If you live in the right area where their is either no miniature golf courses or only one or two that are horrible, then your revenues are going to be through the roof. Giving people in the community something different and new try is a great idea and a wonderful way to draw in business and repeat customers.
3. Great Opportunity: If you build it, they will come! If your town/community has children and not a whole lot of other alternatives for them to take part in other than the movies or the mall, then you are going to hit a gold mine. Being able to offer a cost effective solution for kids and teenagers to take part in as opposed to sitting on the couch and watching TV will work wonderfully in your favor.
4. Easy Upkeep: A miniature golf course is not hard to maintain! Once built, you will need to consider things such as: green/turf maintenance, expansion, equipment replacement, course repairs.
5. Great Profit Opportunity: If you have the money to put down right away to build the course and just sit back to collect the money from your customers, you have it made! By creating a low costing course to you and charging a reasonable rate (around $5.00 per game is competitive), you can easily make your investment very quickly. This just depends on the complexity of your course and how much your start up costs were.
So, what do you think? Miniature golf courses are hot and a great opportunity for your community members to get some fresh air (if its an outdoor course) or experience something new (if it is black light or just indoors).
This is an idea I am going to spend some serious time researching because I think it would be a wonderful business to start up!