Start-Up Cost: $50,000–$250,000

Potential Earnings: $70,000–$170,000

Typical Fees: $7–$12 per 18-hole round

Advertising: Signage, flyers for bulletin boards and hotels, telemarketing to youth groups, website, search engine advertising

Qualifications: None

Equipment Needed: 18-hole miniature golf course, golf clubs, balls, parking, night lights

Potential Home Business: No

Staff Required: Yes

Disabled Opportunity: Yes

Hidden Costs: Liability insurance, facility repairs and upkeep

Lowdown: The key is getting a great location. A highly visible corner with lots of traffic during high playing hours such as late afternoons, early evenings, and weekends would be great. Resort areas are particularly desirable, but not necessary.

You can buy an “off the shelf” miniature golf course to be built on your property, or you can build your own. I strongly suggest you compromise on the course quality if you must; you can always improve it over time—but not the location.

You need to be open lots of hours, such as 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and have lights for night play—you don’t want patrons arriving to play and finding out you are closed! Ideally, you can really ramp up income and visibility by having youth groups use the facility and host celebrations like birthday parties. You can make a nice side income selling items like soft drinks, candy, and maybe some impulse toys or other novelty items.

Start-Up: Start-up costs can run up to $150,000 or more if you buy one of the more elaborate “off the shelf” miniature golf courses and a good piece of land. But if you have the time, building a creative miniature golf course could be a lot of fun—perhaps a great family project?

Bottom Line: The cool thing about this business is that once it’s built, the hard work is done, and except for a little bit of maintenance and marketing, you can more or less relax while the money rolls on in!