Putt-Putt Golf headed back home

from the Fayetteville Observer and the Burlington Times-News:

HOPE MILLS — The birthplace of Putt-Putt is now home to its future.

More than half a century since the first of the distinctive miniature golf courses opened in Cumberland County, a new Putt-Putt Fun Center opened quietly in Hope Mills this week. A grand opening is in the works for December, but even without fanfare the 36-hole attraction was packed on a dazzling fall afternoon Wednesday.

“I come by here a lot,” said Dean Finley as he tackled one of the 18-hole courses with his two sons, Trenton and Jordan. “We were waiting for them to open it.”

The launch of the new center, next to the Millstone 14 movie theater on Camden Road, brings Putt-Putt full circle.

Don Clayton opened the first course on Bragg Boulevard in 1954, spawning a Fayetteville-based franchise empire that peaked with more than 200 locations across the country.

But time took its toll. Clayton died in 1996. Four years later, the company stopped granting new franchises. In 2001, the last Fayetteville Putt-Putt, on Owen Drive, closed. Then in 2002, the company moved to Winston-Salem, now headquarters to the 60 remaining courses nationwide.

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