PHUKET: The island’s first and only authentic miniature golf course, “Phuket Adventure Mini Golf”, recently celebrated the completion of its first year of operation.
Swedish owners, Thomas and Pia Anderson, Phuket expats for nearly a decade, spoke to the Phuket Gazette about the past, present and future of their leisure attraction, the first of its kind in the Kingdom, located in Bang Tao on the north of the island.
Phuket Gazette: Why did you launch Adventure Golf?
Phuket Adventure Mini Golf: We used to run a guest house in Bang Tao for many years. And one of the questions our customers would always ask was ‘what is there to do?’
This area is pretty quiet compared to other parts of the island, and beyond Phuket FantaSea, there is really not much to do, especially during the evenings.
Even in town, the number of fun activities are limited.
People need more to choose from than just bowling and movies. We saw a good opportunity and thought that Adventure Golf would be the ideal type of leisure activity to offer in Phuket.
What exactly is Adventure Golf? Is it the same as Mini Golf?
We operate an ‘Adventure Golf’ course, which is not the same as a ‘Mini Golf’ course. Mini Golf, also commonly known as ‘Putt Putt’ golf usually has courses with fantasy-like themes and obstacles, such as the classic clown’s mouth, or windmill house, for example. Our course is a full, 59-par 18-hole golf course, designed to depict a real golf course, but on a miniature scale.
Each hole is unique and has varying levels of challenge.
However, we quickly found that many people did not know about Adventure Golf, but knew about Mini Golf. Thus, we decided to add the word ‘Mini’ to the name so people can get a better idea.
At full capacity, there can be up to 72 golfers playing at once – with four at each hole.
Other than golf, what services do you offer?
“Off-Course” is our attached, three-star, family restaurant and bar, which can accommodate about 130 sitting guests or up to 200 mingling guests.
The idea of it is to offer good food at a good value. We don’t want people to leave saying “that was good, but expensive”. We do serve some Thai dishes, but our specialization is mostly western food, especially pizza and burgers.
Due to popular demand, we even started to do pizza delivery to nearby locations. Our facilities are ideal to cater to private events.
Who are your target groups?
When we first launched, we were aiming mostly for tourists, especially the family segment. However, heading into the second year, we decided to broaden our target to focus more on locals and residents, but not just families. Though kids will always enjoy this activity, we were happy to see that even adults could enjoy themselves.
This opened up the door to many other marketing opportunities. For instance, we can host events for small-and-medium-sized groups. These include birthday parties, staff parties and even incentives meetings.
What marketing challenges have you faced in your first year?
The main challenge has been to inform people we are here. A big part of it is just getting our name out there. People who know what Adventure Golf is, especially the tourists, will come if they know we’re here. However, it’s more difficult to persuade and convince others, especially locals, who don’t really know or understand what Adventure Golf is.
Even once they do come, say for a staff party, some of them are still hesitant to try it out because they think it will be hard or not fun, or especially with many Thai girls, who have that “it’s not for me” attitude.
However, once they try, they always enjoy themselves. Another thing we’ve observed is the different types of preferences among Thai and foreign groups.
Foreign groups tend to enjoy doing activities more, where as Thais groups tend to put more emphasis on the eating part.
For more visit: phuketadventureminigolf.com.
— Steven Layne