Since he was 9 years old, John Snyder has worked at Putt Putt Fun Center, 4530 Speedway Dr., Fort Wayne.
“My first job was picking up cigarette butts for a penny a piece. Everyone smoked back then, so I made some good money,” Snyder laughs.
Now, as general manager, he’s proud to offer the public a number of fun activities at an exemplary financial value.
“We have people who come from all over for our good prices,” he says. “The original golf course was built in 1970 and my father [John Snyder Sr.] bought it in 1976. We’ve been here ever since, and we’ve done a lot. All the customization, all the landscaping – we’ve done everything ourselves. We’re really proud of what’s here.”
Putt Putt Fun Center offers three 18-hole golf courses, go-karting and arcade games. Each of the three golf courses are beautifully landscaped according to their theme, Snyder says.
“There’s a volcano course that has a volcano that you get to play through, and it also shoots fire on a timer at night,” he says. “That course is themed like Atlantis, so it has pillars and all of that kind of scenery.
“Then, there’s the jungle course, which has all of these big fountains, vines, trees and shade,” he adds. “You get to play around water, and there’s buttons that kids can press for water to shoot up, and different effects like that.
“And then, of course, there’s the classic course, which is the most traditional putt putt course.”
The golf courses are open year-round, weather permitting.
The arcade is also open year-round, with the price of 80 tokens for $10. That equals out to 8 tokens for $1, or 12.5 cents a token.
“We have a room that we just opened that’s a retro arcade, where you can find games like Pac Man from back in the 1980s,” Snyder says. “Then, the rest of the arcade is redemption games, where people can win tickets for prizes. We have the best prizes, hands down.”
Prizes span in price from $.05 to $700 and include everything from stuffed animals to PlayStation 5s. The top prize is an X-Box, which can be redeemed for 70,000 tickets.
“All of the retro games are just 1 token to play, while redemption games vary,” Snyder says.
Go-karting is open from the beginning of April until the end of October. Most people ride in 1-seater karts, but 2-seater karts are available to accommodate kids who are too short to drive on their own. Each ride lasts about 5 minutes, with 10 to 15 cars typically out at once.
“It’s a very cool track where you go around a figure 8 loop and up and over a bridge,” Snyder says.
Drivers must be at least 56 inches tall to drive alone, and 58 inches tall to drive a passenger. Passengers can ride for free and must be at least 3 years old and 36 inches tall.
Miniature golf and go-karting both cost $9 per person for one course/ride, $14 for two courses/rides, or $18 for three courses/rides. Kids ages 3 and under can enter free, while kids ages 4-7 can enter for $3 for the whole day. Seniors ages 55 and older and military members receive discounts of $5 for one course/ride, $8 for two courses/rides, and $10 for three courses/rides. A punch card system allows customers to split between golf and go-karting as they wish.
“We also have an anniversary special the first or second week in June where we sell Putt Putt golf for half price. We’ve done that deal since 1976,” Snyder says.
Currently, Putt Putt Fun Center is still in its spring hours. Go-karting opens at 5 p.m. daily, while the arcade and golf courses are open Sunday 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; Monday-Thursday noon-9 p.m.; Friday noon-midnight; and Saturday 10 a.m.-midnight.
Summer hours will start after Memorial Day, with go-karting opening in the morning and all activities staying open later.
Visit fortwayneputtputt.com for more information. ❚