It’s a jungle in new miniature golf business - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

It’s a jungle in new miniature golf business

May 20th, 2018 development
It’s a jungle in new miniature golf business

By Colleen Sparks, Managing Editor


Starting a company is no monkey business, but a Chandler couple’s business does entail gorillas, lions and elephants.

Debbie and David Lake recently opened Swingin’ Safari Golf, an indoor miniature golf course where players navigate jungle-themed rooms with life-size animal replicas.

The Chandler Chamber of Commerce will hold a ribbon-cutting/grand opening celebration for the business at 10 a.m. today, May 19, at the course, 3875 W. Ray Road, No. 8. Doughnuts and coffee will be served when the course opens for business at 11 a.m.

Visitors start their adventure on the 18-hole glow-in-the-dark course in a “base camp” and move “deep into the jungle” amid animal sounds, Debbie said.

A hippopotamus, a rhinoceros, monkeys, a tiger, an elephant and a lion are among the creatures golfers will encounter in the 6,000-square-foot space on West Ray Road just east of McClintock Drive.

All the paint glows in the dark under black lighting and customers each room features different sound effects.

In a room with a hippopotamus, it looks as though visitors are “half underwater and half above water,” Debbie said.

In the course’s storyline, participants stop poachers. At the end of the course, wood cutouts resembling poachers in shackles are set up for player selfies.

“Animals are the big props and then there’s some hanging stuff,” Debbie said. “This is an actual one-of-a-kind course. It was custom designed just for us.

“In Arizona, there’s nothing like what we have to offer with the life-size animals and the sound effects and the amazing paintings this painter did. It’s spectacular. Anyone can do it. It’s an exciting, fun time,” she added. “You can compete with each other.”

Debbie said a company that has created sets and props for Universal Studios and places around the world provided the artistic décor for Swingin’ Safari.

Debbie has been an administrative assistant for the last 20 years but plans to leave her position in mid-June to work full time at the mini-golf business.

David is an electrician by trade and works for Climatec, which does automation, energy services and other work designed to make buildings safer, more efficient and more comfortable.

The couple got the idea to start the business after taking one of their grandchildren to play miniature golf at a place in Scottsdale.

They had a great time and started thinking it would be a great to have one in Chandler. David has two adult daughters, Debbie has two adult daughters and together they have six grandchildren.

Debbie said she loves playing miniature golf.

“I’ve been playing ever since I can remember,” she said. “My goal is to be able to eventually make a hole-in-one on every hole.”

David said he has “always had a good time” playing miniature golf and the business gives families a chance to do something together in Chandler.

“There doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of family-oriented entertainment in Chandler,” he said. “We thought this would be awesome, get the whole family out here and have some time together.

“It’s pretty accessible from anywhere in the Valley. The opportunity popped up and we started doing a lot of research on it and thought, yeah, this is really doable and there’s a lot of potential.”

Excitement is building in Chandler over Swingin’ Safari Golf.

Arielle Macier of Chandler said she thinks the mini-golf center is “amazing.”

She and her husband, Mathew Truitt, have two children: Mason, 6, and Mylah, 3. Macier sells insurance through her mother’s company, Service First Insurance, and is an ambassador through the Chandler Chamber of Commerce.

“It’s a family event,” Macier said. “It’s a date-night event. It really captures the interest of everybody. It’s always fun and it’s a great team-building event for corporations. It’s family-friendly; it’s couples-friendly; it’s everything.”

Heather Kucenski of Chandler posted in the Living Chandler Facebook page that she is “excited for it!”

“It will be great for summer months to golf inside,” Kucenski posted. “I have three boys, my oldest, ages 10 and 7, I think would really enjoy it – especially with glow in the dark!”

Carol Wesolowski Black of Chandler also likes the miniature golf concept. She posted on Facebook that she looks forward to bringing her grandchildren there.

Wesolowski Black said it is a “great way to do something fun indoors” in the summer and her grandchildren, Ryan, 9; and Emily, 13; of Gilbert, “love mini golf.”

Playing the 18 holes of miniature golf at Swingin’ Safari Golf costs $10 for anyone ages 8 and older. The price is $8 for those ages 2 to 7.

Senior citizens pay $9 to play. It costs $5 for anyone of any age to replay a game the same day.

Water and soda are sold, but the business does not have a full concession stand. The business also has an arcade with video games, a photo booth and crane machines.

People can rent Swingin’ Safari for birthday parties and corporate events.

The business is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sundays. The mini-golf center is available for private, special events after 7 p.m. on Sundays.