Castle Golf invited us and JPro Studios to launch a joint venture – a unique, indoor mini golf course to be built in a shopping district in nearby Gilbert, AZ. We were pretty excited about the project until we were in the middle of our research phase and made a terrible realization . . . miniature golf was a broken game.

So we decided to fix it. The Playful Ventures team spent a year researching the game. We watched hundreds of people play, interviewed dozens of families, surveyed, brainstormed, designed, prototyped, and fought. We loved the end product.

Playful Ventures provided the research and feasibility analysis, developed the concept, created the business model and associated financial projections, wrote the business plan, and created the pitch deck. JPro Studios created the concept art.

The first iteration utilized 10% of what we discovered and was called BLAST! When Castle Golf decided to pursue a more traditional outdoor approach, we began working on a new concept that integrated more of our findings. It’s code named PuttHeads, and you’ll probably hear more about it soon.

In the meantime, here are a few tidbits about the original BLAST! concept.


“BLAST! The Lost Dutchman’s Golf Adventure is an underground-themed adventure golf experience that has a whimsical story tied to Arizona history. The game will leverage new technologies to introduce new, engaging elements into the typical game of mini golf in order to delight players and increase repeat visits.

“The highly themed setting combines animatronics, explosive sounds, and special effects to deliver a guest-activated golf experience that takes a traditional fun time to dazzling new levels. The ball itself activates unexpected motions in the scenery and puts conveyor belts, machinery, explosives, and other effects into motion. The unpredictable twists and turns motivate guests to return again and again.”


“According to legend, in the late 1800’s prospector Jacob Waltz found a gold-rich mine in the Superstition Mountains. He stashed a large amount of gold in the mine and then sealed it off and returned to live a normal life in Phoenix. Since then, thousands of people have combed the Arizona mountains, attempting to use the clues left by Waltz to find the lost mine. We recently made a discovery that turns this legend on its head. The Dutchman’s greatest secret all along was that he used his riches to establish a city deep in his hidden mine. The residents of BLAST!, the Lost Dutchman’s underground city, only recently surfaced to make contact with the rest of the world. They’re now inviting you to explore a portion of their city – rich with its own technology, fashion, architecture, and entertainment – as you play the most exciting game of adventure golf you’ll ever experience.”


“While the Blastonians have sealed off tunnels to much of their world, guests can play their way through the heart of this underground city. Experiment with intriguing steam-driven technology. Find clues about what life in BLAST! is really like. And play the way Blastonians play. The environment is a combination of rock and architecture that mixes Jules Verne and the Wild West. It conveys a feeling of the glory of exploration and discovery.”

We’re not ready to disclose all of the innovations we made in the game play just yet. Sit tight! It’ll blow you away!