Kiel ChristiansonThis Week at TravelGolf.com: Dec. 12, 2006

Putt-PuttŪ guards name against golf writer's effort to help paralyzed golfers

The saying goes that you learn something new every day and sure enough, not long after I wrote a blog about a miniature golf course for paralyzed kids being built in Louisiana, I learned something new.

Several things, really.

You see, I inadvertently referred to the new facility as a "putt-putt" course. Growing up, my family used all sorts of terms for miniature golf: "mini-golf," "miniature golf," "putt-putt," "crazy golf," and occasionally, "a silly waste of money."

Then I received a letter from a Melanie Johnson, marketing manager of Putt-Putt, LLC. It turns out that Putt-PuttŪ is a registered trademark, which, she informed me, the company has been carefully protecting since 1958.

The Putt-PuttŪ folks have been building and managing facilities around the globe for nearly 50 years now and the brand should not, Melanie explained, be used generically.

In her letter to me, she wrote, "Putt-PuttŪ is a trademarked name for a patented type of miniature golf. Putt-PuttŪ golf features carefully designed and copyrighted holes. The thing that distinguishes Putt-PuttŪ courses from any other mini-golf courses is that each copyrighted hole is a carefully designed Par 2, and a skillfully played shot can result in a hole-in-one. From it's founding in 1954, the game of Putt-PuttŪ has been based on skill."

See? There are lots of things just in this paragraph alone that I didn't know. For one, you apparently can't just go scattering windmills around haphazardly around a mini-golf course.

I also had no idea my 8-year-old daughter's ability to sink a hole-in-one every few holes was based on her skill, especially when she regularly does so while giggling hysterically with her friends as she's putting. I should try that on a real course, I guess.

So, I stand corrected (and so does my blog, which has been amended to describe the course in Metairie as "miniature golf"). Melanie asked very politely, "Please refrain from use of the trademark 'Putt-PuttŪ' in any future articles, unless writing specifically about one of our Putt-PuttŪ locations," and I will comply.

It was never my intention to misrepresent a non-profit organization of autistic children who are building a miniature golf course for paralyzed, wheelchair-bound golfers that would in any way confuse them with Putt-PuttŪ.

For inadvertently doing so, I apologize sincerely to the autistic kids.

As always, TravelGolf.com welcomes your comments.



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