Putt-Putt saying 'bye-bye'

Putt-Putt saying 'bye-bye'

Glen Hedrick and his sons Nathan and Brandon are spending a Friday night playing Putt-Putt for the final time.

"I used to come here as a child, and I worked here in high school and now 20 years later, I bring my kids out here," says Headrick.

But owner Doug Bryant says after 21 years, it's time to hang up the putters at Wilmington's Putt-Putt Golf and Games. Soon, you'll see stores and condos where there is now fake green grass.

"The economic times have changed, the focus of kids playing games has changed. And property values in Wilmington have escalated to the point where you have to sit down and look at hard numbers and make judgments unfortunately," says Bryant.

Putt-Putt Golf Courses began in Fayetteville in 1954. But now, 50 years later, Putt-Putts across the state are finding it hard to survive. Courses in Raleigh, Durham, Fayetteville, Winston-Salem and New Bern have closed in recent years.

"Realistically you have to have a place similar to Jungle Rapids. You need to have go carts, laser tag, video games and a water park. The days of the small-time operations sort of go by the wayside," says Bryant. And that's bad news for families like the Hedricks.

"I feel a little sad because this is mostly what I ask dad and say, 'Can I come over here'. I don't want it to close down," says Brandon Hedrick.

But close down it will. Sunday will be the final day for Putt Putt Golf and Games in Wilmington. Even the well-known giraffe that has stood loyally by Oleander Drive for years is for sale as the business becomes just another part of Wilmington's past.

Reported By Samuel King