N.C. Firsts: Putt-Putt

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — The skill-based game of Putt-Putt, where every hole is designed as a par two, originated in Fayetteville, N.C.

Don Clayton founded the game in 1954 when rounds were only 25 cents. The game is different from miniature golf because it focuses on skill with each copyrighted hole, and does away with windmills and animal obstacles. 

The current CEO, David Callahan, remembers the impact it had on the community. 

“Everybody from Fayetteville played at Putt-Putt in high school and that was our place where you dated,” said Callahan. “That’s where I started.”

Now, the Putt-Putt Fun Center has become much more than golf with franchises in 12 different states.

“The model of golf only, on an expensive piece of real estate, doesn’t work,” said Callahan. “You’ve got to add the attractions to be able to build the revenue. To build a Fun Center is a multi-million dollar investment at this point in time, plus the land.”

Different attractions include laser tag, bumper cars, an arcade room, a racing track and a batting cage, all depending on the location.

Callahan says his next project is to bring a Putt-Putt Fun Center to Chapel Hill, N.C.