Once upon a time, there was a Putt-Putt Golf & Games on Division Street in Arlington. Actually, the building and amenities are still there, despite closing in October 2009. In the nearly 14 years since then, parts of the site have continued as various small businesses. Today, though, it appears to be empty and not much more than a ghost town. While overgrowth and neglect have taken their toll on some of the site’s features — notably the mini golf course, go-kart track, and batting cages — it’s surprisingly in decent condition, lying somewhere between its former glory and eerily abandoned.
According to a WFAA Channel 8 article, the Putt-Putt opened in 1969. Division Street was a busy thoroughfare at the time and the main drag connecting Dallas and Fort Worth. The street is still active, although in a different way. The Putt-Putt closed in 2009, joining the funeral procession of other establishments in the area, citing a steady decline in business. This was about the time Cowboys Stadium opened nearby. (A billion-dollar stadium can surely leave a lot of destruction in its path.) Admittedly, a forty-year run for a place like that is respectable — mini golf and arcade games don’t exactly attract the kids as they once did. Many of the items were auctioned off upon closing, including the arcade games and fiberglass animals from the mini golf course. Who knows what happened to the rest of the stuff.
After Putt-Putt closed, the site — at least the former arcade room and snack bar — had other lives, with the timeline on Google street view helping tell the story. In May 2012, it was Studers Sports Bar. They had big screen TVs and Happy Hour from 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM, seven days a week. By April 2013, it was Stadium Lounge. They also advertised a Happy Hour, but no mention of big screen TVs. In November 2016, the place was empty, but by December 2017, a sign explained that it was being remodeled, likely for the next bar to roll the dice. At some point before April 2019, a Latin bar and dance club called “3 Country Lounge” opened at the site — the sign proudly showing the U.S., Mexico, and Texas flags is still there. It’s now closed, with the last Google review from at least three years ago. That looks about how long it’s been sitting vacant, although I’m unsure when it closed. If it was open in March 2020, it likely wouldn’t have survived COVID. I didn’t see a “For Lease” sign out front or any indication that another business would take over the site anytime soon. It was just empty.
While the former arcade room and snack bar later had some action, the rest of the Putt-Putt likely didn’t. Overgrowth has taken over much of the mini golf course, go-kart track, and batting cages. I can’t imagine that it’s been sitting dormant since 2009, though. If so, it’s in remarkably decent condition, all things considered, albeit like a weird time capsule or Twilight Zone episode. Vagrants have been in the area at some point, as I saw a tattered blanket and other clues; for example, parts of the fencing had been pulled aside to allow access. (The blanket seemed to be a print of an American flag, which surely has some lost American Dream symbolism if you want to go that far.) But very few people are there nowadays, it seems. Even the vagrants and vandals have mostly moved on to something better. There isn’t much graffiti or vandalism there, possibly because a tire repair shop is next door, though I can’t imagine it stays terribly busy. Still, it appears busy enough to deter people from camping out at the Putt-Putt or doing too much criminal mischief. I was there at 9:45 AM on a Sunday, and surprisingly, there were a couple of customers there getting their tires repaired. I imagine there’s a decent police presence near Cowboys Stadium, which possibly helps too. However, they likely have more pressing concerns than an abandoned Putt-Putt.
The former go-kart track at Putt-Putt
A Google street view from October 2007 shows several cars in Putt-Putt’s parking lot, and you can even see people playing mini golf. They were likely having a good time and enjoying the afternoon, with their voices, joyful shouts, and laughter lingering in the crisp fall air. The same view from December 2022 nearly shows how it looks today — abandoned, empty, and largely forgotten. There’s no one there, and anyone dropping by surely isn’t playing a round of mini-golf. Time marched on, but the building mostly stood still. Fifteen years feels like a long time, but is it really?
Overgrowth on the mini golf course and buildings
I took some decent photos of the abandoned Putt-Putt, while dutifully (well, mostly) obeying the No Trespassing signs. There’s something oddly beautiful and poetic about an abandoned building. Fascinated by my visit, I returned two weeks later. Things mostly looked the same, with at least one noticeable exception: a single red Nike sneaker lying on the sidewalk, which I’m pretty confident wasn’t there last time. Apparently, others visit this place, but who loses and leaves behind a single shoe like that? Nevermind, I don’t want to know.
Buildings and parking lot
As for the old Putt-Putt, who knows how long it will stay in its current state. From the view on Division Street, it’s not a terrible eyesore. You only see some overgrowth, as most decay is behind the main building. Out of sight, out of mind, I suppose. It doesn’t look like people are willfully ransacking the place, and the Texas weather is also being fairly kind to it. You would only know it looked like it did if you went past the main building and followed the parking lot’s curve, and you likely wouldn’t have a reason to do so. The place is just sitting there, minding its own business, waiting on someone or something to give it a new life — or take its life away for good. But maybe, there’s nothing wrong with an abandoned Putt-Putt living out its retirement years in quiet dignity, trying to hold on to the American Dream. We could all learn a thing or two from that.
Blog post & photos by Jason S. Sullivan, 04-19-23
3 thoughts on “Abandoned Arlington: Putt-Putt Golf & Games”
thanks Jason for that memory! I can’t tell you how many weekends I spent at that Putt Putt! That was a favorite past time as a kid even with dates in high school! I was thinking there was also another one on the north end around cooper/mayfield or somewhere as well.. not sure if it is still there or not, but went there a lot as well..
LikeLiked by 1 person
Glad you liked it! As far as I know, Arlington had two Putt-Putts — one on Division and one near I-20 and Cooper on Pleasant Ridge. I went to the one on Pleasant Ridge often as a kid, and it’s still open.
Pleasant Ridge is the one I was thinking of on north end.. been too long and couldn’t remember that street name..
LikeLiked by 1 person