Ypsi residents expand pop-up mini-golf business to include mobile 9-hole par-1 course

Ypsilanti residents Jef Porkins and Jade Weber have transformed their passion for mini-golf into a pop-up mini-golf business called Putt-r-round. The couple took their carnival-style arcade putting courses on the road starting in spring 2023. They plan to expand the business this year with a mobile nine-hole par-one course.

The couple spent much of 2022 exploring golf courses, and Porkins built his first putting table to scratch his mini-golf itch indoors during the winter. Weber, a long-time crafter, liked the arcade-style game and helped design several more standalone units that combine mini-golf putting with challenges like Tic-Tac-Toe or skeeball. 

Players win tickets for making a hole-in-one or completing other challenges. Tickets can be exchanged for prizes like stickers or small toys, similar to a traditional stationary arcade.

Weber says Putt-r-round's full set-up is like "immersive art" decorated with Halloween imagery, but "not too dark and scary, more kitschy and fun."

The couple will bring their arcade to bars, restaurants, or festivals around Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor, charging per round of putting. Weber says they frequent Ypsi's First Fridays and the Ypsi Flea Market. Area residents within a one-hour drive of Ypsi can also hire Putt-r-Round by the hour for a corporate event, birthday party, or wedding shower.

Porkins says he and Weber hope to create a longer, more enclosed trailer so they can start bringing a one-par miniature golf course on the road. They debuted the nine-hole, par-one course at the Blind Pig yesterday, May 7. Each hole is about four to six feet long and includes a "classic mini-golf obstacle," Porkins says. 

"Someone can ace each one with some skill or luck," Weber says. "It's a small but fun challenge."

Weber and Porkins' long-term plan is to find a brick-and-mortar location somewhere in the Ypsilanti area to establish a mini-golf course, while also continuing their mobile service.

"We're hoping to find just the right location and put in an arcade people can come to, but we also enjoy traveling with the pop-up," Weber says. "It's pretty original, and we don't see anyone doing anything just like it."

For more information about Putt-r-Round, visit their Facebook or Instagram pages. To book Putt-r-Round, visit puttrround.com.

Sarah Rigg is a freelance writer and editor in Ypsilanti Township and the project manager of On the Ground Ypsilanti. She joined Concentrate as a news writer in early 2017 and is an occasional contributor to other Issue Media Group publications. You may reach her at sarahrigg1@gmail.com.

Photos courtesy of Putt-r-round.
Enjoy this story? Sign up for free solutions-based reporting in your inbox each week.