The Herald Bulletin

May 17, 2014

Economic downturn plays role in Putt-Putt's closing

By Traci Moyer The Herald Bulletin
The Herald Bulletin

---- — ANDERSON — In the summer of 1991, Putt-Putt miniature golf was not only popular, it put Garry Donna’s business on the map.

“The first month we opened we were the No. 1 Putt-Putt golf course in the world,” Donna said.

Almost 22 years later, the Putt-Putt Golf and Games in Applewood Centre is in disrepair.

“The situation now is the Anderson Putt-Putt has been closed forever,” Donna said. “It will never open again.”

Donna plans to liquidate the golfing items, including the giant decorative giraffe and several arcade games from his once successful business. When Anderson began to see an economic downturn almost 10 years ago, so did his business.

“In the last five years we lost 20,000 jobs here and the economy has not been good,” Donna said. “When you lose jobs, you lose business.”

For the entire 2012 season, which operated from April to December, the Putt-Putt made exactly the same amount as it did in for the month of July in his first year of business.

“That’s a long way down,” Donna said. “We really should have closed three years earlier.”

Donna never owned the land that his business operated on; he leased the property in increments by time. The property is no longer available for Donna to lease due to the addition of new development in the area and the redesigning of 60th Street to create more commercial space.

Although Donna did not operate his miniature golfing facilities in 2013, he leased the building to a local woman.

“She vanished Labor Day weekend of 2013,” Donna said.

He found unpaid bills stuffed in the mailbox at the Putt-Putt location. Donna estimates that the woman owes him more than $6,000.

“She took all the money and I don’t know what she did with it,” Donna said.

Repeated attempts by The Herald Bulletin to contact the woman were unsuccessful.

Unable to recover his Putt-Putt business from the economic downturn, Donna said he has no plans to relocate or maintain a miniature golfing facility in Anderson.

Instead, he plans to focus on his other business in the city, Applewood Raceway.

The raceway opened the summer of 1993, and continues to operate seven days a week with extended hours beginning on May 30.

The property at 1819 E. 60th St., however, does have a “for sale” sign in front of it.

“We aren’t out beating the bushes for people,” Donna said. “I feel like this is very valuable land.”

Like Traci L. Moyer on Facebook and follow her @moyyer on Twitter, or call 648-4250.

Going, going, gone A date to auction the more than 50 arcade games, pitching machines and Putt-Putt animals including the giant giraffe, lion, zebra, elephant and turtle has not been set, but the owner says it will be in mid- to late June. For more information on the items that will be available at the auction, call (317) 496-1700.