Chris and Brandy Whitten’s first date was at a putt-putt course.
“At the Congo River in Clearwater,” Brandy said, giving a sly smile to her husband.
“We definitely like playing it,” Chris added, flashing a smile back.
That much is obvious, especially since they’re the proud part-owners and managers of Dade City’s newest local attraction: 7th Street Mini Golf & Game Parlour.
Now, with six kids in tow, the Whittens have opened this family friendly destination that features an 18-hole, indoor putt-putt course and various games. All of which this Dade City family of eight operates.
“Yeah, (putt-putt golf) is just a fun thing to do,” Brandy said. “Like, you know, (the ball is) not going to go in (the hole), it’s not going to go in there and then it happens and, you’re like, ‘YES!’ and you’re so excited — that roller coaster of emotion!”
“At the same time,” Chris added, “having six kids and living in Dade City, what else is there to do around here? So, for ourselves, mini golf popped in our minds because there isn’t really one around here in the area.
“So we were thinking of family entertainment as something we could do as a business and have it centered around that.”
The Whittens relocated to Dade City about three years ago and began discussing a business that could involve the whole family. The parents home-school the six kids, so they wanted to come up with an idea that could not only give them a space to do schoolwork, but also job responsibilities as being part of a workforce.
While Chris was continuing his job at a marketing firm, Brandy was working part-time at the nearby American Pizza Oven. There, she started having conversations with the owners, Robert and Jessica Borras, who wanted to branch out with a new business.
Well, it turns out, both the Whittens and the Borrases were having the same conversations. Both couples were talking about a family friendly place, perhaps an arcade or a putt-putt course or both.
“It was just all the same thoughts and words,” Brandy said. “We all thought the same thing — something close, down the street — and it all lined up just perfect.”
The Whittens and the Borrases started having these conversations together and started to hatch plans.
The four formed an LLC, then decided on the old brick building at 13841 Seventh St., that was built in the 1940s. It is a former Social Security building and antique store, and is at just the right location.
It took about eight months of prep, with Chris using YouTube videos to help him build the holes. He also put his marketing background to use, to create the logo, build the website and set up the social media pages.
The families opened the doors Oct. 16.
“This is a very close community that has just been wonderful and very supportive during every part,” Brandy said. “We have been welcomed from the start.”
“It’s been really great,” Chris added. “When, on a Friday or Saturday, you have groups in here and you just hear them go ‘awww’ or ‘ohhh’ (from their shots) and yelling and stuff, it just feels good to see other people have a good time.”
They’re already thinking of expansion, including adding those arcade games.
In the end, they want each of their kids to have responsibility over a certain aspect at the course.
And the Whittens — including Issac, 15; Caleb, 13; Micah, 11; Levi, 9; Audrey, 6; and Eliza, 5 — will be at 7th Street Mini Golf & Game Parlour five days a week.
“It’s been a leap of faith, doing what we felt God has called us to do, as a family,” Brandy said. “And it’s been a leap, it’s been hard, but it’s been a lot of fun, too.”
Chris added, “Maybe He does love putt-putt, too (laughs), but it’s also the family connection and that’s what’s always been important to us.”
7th Street Mini Golf & Game Parlour
Where: 13841 Seventh St., Dade City
When: Tuesdays and Thursdays, noon to 9 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sundays, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Details: A family friendly, 18-hole, black-lit, indoor mini golf course featuring card and board games, light snacks and drinks
Cost: $10.95 for adults, children under 13 are $6.95, free for children under 3. Monthly subscriptions starting at $15 are available.
Info: Visit 7thStreetMiniGolf.com, or call 352-437-4715.
Published November 09, 2022
My family of 6 really enjoyed what this lovely family has created. We are down in Bradenton, but, I think that this will be a welcome change to what we have around here. Especially if we get to support this sweet family.