California family launches pop-up mini golf business
Caddy’s Course, a pop-up miniature golf course, opened this last December in Brentwood, California, to entertain locals and visitors through the December holidays and the New Year. According to Denise Almaleh, who with her husband Nick started the business, it’s been a hit with the local community and out-of-town visitors. “They love it,” says Denise Almaleh. “A lot of people are interested in parties and events, too. They think it’s a genius idea. The little kids just scream. They say, ‘mini golf!’ They love it.”
A nine-hole modular MiniLinks course from Adventure Golf & Sports (AGS) is the product that made the pop-up business possible. The MiniLinks course uses a patented interlocking panel system and is designed for indoor and outdoor use.
According to Almaleh, their family was the impetus for the business. “First, my husband loves golf. He goes every weekend. And my son loves mini golf. We don’t have a mini golf near us. The closest is 45 minutes away and our community doesn’t have a lot of outdoor activities. We have an ice-skating rink every year, a bowling alley, and an indoor trampoline activities place and that is it. My husband wanted to open a business in our community. I wanted to bring some outdoor activity to our community and I also didn’t want to be tied-down to a seven-day-a-week ‘open in the morning – close at night’ business. I didn’t want to be responsible for a lease. I thought if we did pop-up mini golf, we could lease out an area for a month, two months tops, and then we could do mobile events like birthday parties and control our schedule. That’s when I came across the AGS website. I realized it was pretty affordable… And that’s how it started.”
“My husband manages some real estate in Michigan,” she continued, “and also has a consulting business here in California and he is a CIO for company in San Francisco. That’s another reason why we didn’t want something that would take seven days a week, because he works. I have a daughter who is 27 and she does all the marketing. And she’s also working. So, this is for her, too. For her to have a business of her own someday.”
When Caddy’s Course opened last December, the Almalehs leased space next to “Brentwood on Ice” (a downtown Brentwood Community Ice Rink) and decorated the pop-up course with Christmas items. “We designed it all for Christmas,” says Denise Almaleh. “We had blow-ups, lights on every pole, I designed a snowman. I had a Christmas Tree. I had a star. It was very cute. After we closed at our current spot, we’re not looking at doing anything until summer. It’s really a fun thing. I’m glad I did it. It was a little bit harder than I thought it was to put the mini golf course together, because it was just my husband and me. But we did it! …It’s like a Lego set where the turfs for each hole are numbered. But the reality is that it’s heavy. It’s mobile, but we had to plan out how we were going to take it apart to fit in the toy hauler when we go places. So it wasn’t as easy as I thought it was going to be. But it is pretty awesome. A lot of people compliment it. It’s good quality. It’s been out in the rain and doing really well outdoors… It has a permeable turf that allows water to run through the turf. You can stand on it. I like that we can add features to it. You didn’t necessarily need to buy everything all at once. And I like that it’s weatherproof. We’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback. The mayor actually came to us and they would be willing to negotiate some kind of property if we were interested in being permanent. For myself, I think I just like the pop-up idea and the mobile idea.
“We can do indoor,” she adds. “We can do outdoor. We can do events, birthday parties. We can do it any way we choose. We can also pop-up with food trucks. San Francisco has huge food truck areas. We could pop-up there. We could do any event. I was looking at wineries, so I’m working with them. And then I was working with a location that’s like a farm. They do ‘date nights’ with couples – we could pop up there. So there’s just so many things we could do if I work hard enough and market it right. It’s really just open for what we want it to be.”
“We had some restaurants in downtown Brentwood that were thinking about having us pop-up in front of them for dinner and mini-golf and then we would switch from restaurant area to restaurant area. There’s no way we could do that with this mobile (the MiniLinks), so we may purchase the RollOut Mini Golf from AGS to use with them.”
Adventure Golf & Sports (AGS) is a leader in the design and installation of fun, interactive, cost-effective entertainment attractions. Besides offering the widest line of miniature golf products and design services in the world for permanent and portable / modular courses, AGS also provides numerous complementary products. They have custom modular applications for rooftops, cruise ships, both indoors and outdoors. They offer multi-use game court systems for bocce ball, croquet, lawn bowling, shuffleboard, bean bag toss, and other activities. In addition, AGS provides golf learning and practice centers, ranging from single golf hitting bays to courts for multiple players, putting greens for indoors and outdoors, either permanent or portable, and pickleball and paddle tennis courts.