Mom brings family fun to Delray with mini golf course

By Christin Erazo

South Florida News Service

When Elise Johnson was 4, one of her fondest memories was being a little girl playing miniature golf with her grandfather in Ocean City, MD.When Johnson became a mother, she chose putt-putt as a family activity for her and her two sons. She would giggle as they scrambled around the course losing their golf balls.After moving to Delray Beach five years ago, Johnson, now 47, was on the lookout for fun activities to do with her family and noticed that the resort town lacked something – a miniature golf course.

“We’ve been looking down the ocean towns, and I noticed that they didn’t have anything for the family to do after dinner,” Johnson said. “We realized there was a niche that needed to be filled.”That was when Johnson contacted architect Jess Sowards and began the idea for the latest attraction in Delray Beach, Putt’n Around.Located three blocks from bustling Atlantic Avenue on Northeast Fifth Avenue, Putt’n Around Delray Beach is more than the traditional miniature golf course with windmills and clowns.

This new course will feature two distinct 18-hole courses with lush landscaping, sparkling ponds and bronze sculptures.The golf course, which is still under construction and is scheduled to open at the beginning of August, will depict “The Everglades” with bronze sculptures of pelicans and manatees and “The Ocean” with waterfalls and statues of sailfish and mermaids.

Putt’n Around will also feature a snack bar, an area to hold parties and events and a merchandise counter. The cost to play 18 holes is $9.85 per person including tax, and to play 36 holes will cost $15 including tax.

“The course will be constantly evolving, and it won’t always be the same each month,” Johnson said. “There will be theme nights, jazz music and neon golf, where we will turn the lights down low at night. We want this to be a fun place to come.”Sowards, an architect for Currie Sowards Aguila Architects in Delray Beach, said this will be a place for families of all ages and needs. The whole course is 100 percent handicap and stroller accessible.

“The entire course is lower level,” he said. “For seniors who really can’t play golf anymore, this gives them a fun activity to do.”Sowards was excited to take on the project and sees Johnson’s vision as “out of the box.””The course will bring a family fun activity, which is one of the things that Downtown Delray needs. It’ll make the area viable,” he said. “This is a walk-able activity from downtown which is a huge draw for residents.”Nadine Mauro of Boynton Beach, who is older than 55 but would not disclose her exact age, said she can’t wait for the miniature golf course to open.”I love miniature golf,” she said. “It adds fun for the whole family.”

For Mauro, a night of mini golf is an affordable evening out with the kids or grandparents without a long drive.The public response has been warm since construction began on the site in May.The business has more than 400 fans on Facebook.
This is the first business venture of its kind for Johnson, who had been in the real estate industry for 20 years and prior to that an interpreter for the deaf.”This is not another bar or restaurant,” Johnson said. “We’ve put our heart and soul into this place. I love this town and I love putt-putt.” See The Palm Beach Post Review