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Mastering the Greens: A Comprehensive Guide on How to Open a Mini Golf Venue

Mastering the Greens: A Comprehensive Guide on How to Open a Mini Golf Venue

So, you’ve decided to take a swing at opening a mini golf venue? Congratulations! It’s a big decision, but you can turn your idea into a thriving business with the right help (e.g., this guide). It’s a great time to enter the world of mini golf business startups. The market size of the miniature golf course industry in the US was $450.9m in 2023, and it’s projected to rise an annualized 1.9% to $484.0 million by 2029.

We’re here to help you make your efforts a hole-in-one with our comprehensive guide to mini golf business startups.  

Market research and feasibility 

Conducting thorough market research and feasibility studies is essential before you embark on your mini golf venture and start procuring tiny windmills. Here’s what you should include in your research: 

  • Market analysis: Research the demand for mini golf in the target area, analyze the demographic profile of potential customers, and assess the competition and any other attractions competing for the same audience. 
  • Financial projections: Estimate the startup costs, including land acquisition, construction, equipment, permits, and initial operating expenses. You should also forecast revenue and operational costs – such as anticipated sales, staff costs, maintenance, and utilities. 
  • Legal and regulatory compliance: Look into the permits, licenses, and approvals required to operate a mini golf venue in your target area. Review local ordinances, building codes, health and safety regulations, and their costs. 
  • Risk assessment: Better safe than sorry, identify and evaluate any potential risks and challenges that may impact the success of your mini golf business startup, such as seasonality, weather-related risks, and economic factors.

Brand building and conceptualization

Once you've determined that opening a mini golf venue is viable, it's time to create a unique brand and concept. Think about the theme, layout, and any unique features that will set your mini golf course apart from the competition.

Will you be based indoors or outdoors? Will you encourage memberships and host competitions? How about the food, drinks, and merchandise that you’ll sell? It’s time to put pen to paper and jot down all these ideas. 

As for the brand you are building, an excellent place to start is your mission statement, where you’ll summarize the concept and vision for your mini golf business. Logos and naming are the next hurdles, and they can take time. Don’t rush this process; ask for help from friends in marketing or advertising to get the creative juices flowing. 

Financing your mini golf dream

Funding is often one of the biggest challenges for aspiring entrepreneurs, so ensuring that the concept and business plan behind your mini golf business is water-tight will help. 

Options for financing your mini-golf venture include seeking investors who share your passion for mini-golf, securing a loan from a financial institution, and crowdsourcing funds. 

To make your venue attractive for financiers, create a detailed budget outlining your expected construction, equipment, staffing, and operating expenses. And remember to factor in contingency funds for unexpected expenses that may arise – this is typically around six months of your operating costs. 

Choosing the right location

The success of your mini golf venue will largely depend on its location, so choose wisely. Look for an area with high foot traffic, easy accessibility, and synergy with surrounding attractions. Consider factors such as:

  • Parking availability.
  • Visibility from major roads.
  • Proximity to other entertainment venues or tourist destinations.
  • Noise and views (if you’re planning an outdoor venue). 

Take the time to visit potential locations in person and envision how your mini golf course will fit into the space. Leasing is a valid option if purchasing a space is out of your budget. This is especially true if you envision an indoor space to fit out a warehouse to home your mini golf business startup. 

Designing the mini golf course

Designing your courses is arguably the most exciting aspect of opening a mini golf venue. Designing engaging and visually appealing courses is essential for attracting and retaining customers. 

Consider creating a theme for your venue, incorporating a mix of killer visuals and storytelling. You want your course to be Instagrammable and have word-of-mouth appeal. Think of themes that appeal to your target demographic and incorporate unique features that set your course apart.

To keep things exciting on the green, include a mix of challenging holes that cater to players of all skill levels, paying attention to landscaping and set pieces to create an immersive experience for your guests.

Construction and equipment

Quality craftsmanship is vital when it’s time to bring your mini golf venue to life. Not only will investing in beautiful fixtures and fittings from the start make your mini golf venue look the part, but it will help you reduce maintenance costs in the long run. Hire experienced contractors with some experience with attractions and monitor the progress closely to ensure your vision is realized.

Investing in high-quality equipment and supplies is also crucial for providing a top-notch mini-golf experience for your guests. This includes putting surfaces, clubs, balls, scorecards, and other accessories. 

Research local suppliers to find the best deals on durable and reliable equipment that will withstand the wear and tear of regular use. And to create a more cohesive experience, find ways to incorporate your branding on equipment where possible. 

Staffing and training

Your staff will play a vital role in the success of your mini golf venue, so take the time to hire and train knowledgeable and friendly employees. 

When interviewing staff, look for individuals passionate about mini golf and gel with the brand and atmosphere you’re looking to create. Provide thorough training on course rules and procedures, customer interactions, and safety protocols to ensure your staff can handle any situation. 

To make onboarding extra smooth, consider partnering with a technology provider that specializes in your industry and provides a POS that’s easy to learn

Marketing and promotion

Once your mini golf venue is ready to open, it's time to spread the word and attract visitors. Develop a comprehensive marketing strategy that includes online and offline tactics to reach your target audience.

You can utilize social media platforms, email marketing, and digital advertising to generate buzz and drive traffic to your website. 

Another good way to spread the word about your mini golf venue is to partner with local businesses and community organizations to cross-promote your course and offer special promotions or discounts to incentivize attendance.

Grand opening 

When the big day arrives, create a sense of spectacle by planning a grand opening event for your mini golf venue to generate excitement in the community. 

To draw a crowd, consider offering special promotions, giveaways, and entertainment to create a festive atmosphere. You could even go all out and invite local media outlets and influencers to cover the event and spread the word to a wider audience. 

Your grand opening is a fantastic opportunity to showcase your mini golf course and encourage guests to return for future visits. Consider offering memberships to make the most of return visits and increase revenue.

Operations and management

Once your mini golf venue is up and running, focusing on day-to-day operations and management is important. Develop efficient scheduling procedures to ensure adequate staffing levels during peak times and minimize downtime. 

You should implement a regular maintenance schedule to keep your course in top condition and address any issues promptly. Guest experience can make or break a venue, so be sure to provide ongoing training and support for your staff to maintain high customer service and safety standards.

To further streamline your operations, you should enable online ticketing and self-service features such as digital waivers, online accounts, and mobile food and beverage ordering

Read this next: Save Time with ROLLER’s Must-Have Self-Service Guest Experiences

Enhancing profitability

Try to step back from the day-to-day of your mini golf operations and look for big-picture strategies to grow your business. Ways to enhance the profits at your venue include: 

  • Offering party packages to appeal to families.
  • Reduce labor costs using tech like ROLLER to assist with bookings, admin, and conversions.
  • Offer premium packages, memberships, and season passes.
  • Look into merchandising and partnering with other businesses for cross-promotions (e.g., partner with a craft brewery to offer a mini golf-themed brew that you both stock).

Adapting to industry trends and innovations

Stay ahead of the curve by keeping abreast of industry trends and innovations in mini golf. Monitor competitor activity and consumer preferences to identify opportunities for improvement and innovation. Be open to feedback from your guests and be willing to adapt and evolve your venue to meet their changing needs and expectations. 

One of the best ways to do this is by embracing new technologies, like mini golf software, and trends, such as offering the convenience of self-service options, incorporating virtual or augmented reality, and having an omnichannel presence. By constantly innovating, you’ll keep your mini golf course relevant and appealing to a diverse audience.

Let’s swing big 

Opening a mini golf venue is a challenging yet rewarding endeavor that offers endless opportunities for creativity, innovation, and fun. But the good news is that you can turn your mini golf dream into a successful reality with careful planning, hard work, and dedication. 

So what are you waiting for? Tee off on your mini-golf adventure today, and be sure to contact our team to find out how we help mini-golf venues like yours thrive.