Even among the Putt-Putt Family Fun Center locations around the world, the one at 4530 Speedway Dr. in Fort Wayne is unique.
“It’s a great place to meet people and is different than anywhere else, with the beautiful landscaping, special features and all the little things we do for special effects,” says John Snyder, manager and co-owner with his father.
Snyder’s father, also named John, was a mechanical engineer living in Ohio who had played in Putt-Putt tournaments for fun. When the mini golf franchise in Indiana came up for sale, he bought it.
After the younger Snyder graduated college with an art degree in 1992, he put his skills to work on the property.
“I love being outside, especially when the weather breaks,” he says. “I don’t take days off. I like making things look nice and seeing people enjoy it. I feel like I’m on vacation every day.”
He redesigned the entire grounds, adding a full jungle-themed course with several water features for kids and extensive landscaping. In the 1980s, his dad built an arcade building and has twice expanded it. Go-karts were added in 1995.
There are also two other mini golf courses, one classic and one with a volcano theme.
The Putt-Putt arcade is open year-round, with go-karts and mini golf available April through October – more often when weather permits.
Founded in 1954 in Fayetteville, N.C., Putt-Putt courses were the first and only copyrighted and branded miniature golf games. In the later ’50s, the company started franchising its concept. Many of its family entertainment centers offer not only miniature golf, but also go-karts, bumper boats, indoor bumper cars, batting cages, laser tag, arcades and cafés.
The mini golf game gave rise to the Professional Putters Association (PPA) that still exists today and has awarded more than $8 million in prize money.
The mission of Putt-Putt franchises is “To provide families with a safe, clean, wholesome entertainment venue where they can have an enjoyable experience for a reasonable cost in their own community.”
Learn more at fortwayneputtputt.com.