Robert Bennett has spent his career in the business of having fun.
The former owner of Casino Pier, Bennett serves a unique role in the history of Seaside Heights as a resort community, and is now part of its reinvention, as the town evolves from a nightlife mecca back to the family resort it once was.
Bennett’s new miniature golf course, located next to a now-shuttered Bank of America branch, used to be a parking lot – but is now a colorful example of how the Boulevard, the main business district off the boardwalk, is being redeveloped. The course is called “Family Golf.”
“When I presented the idea to the mayor and code enforcement, they were very pleased that this may be the start of something different on the Boulevard,” Bennett told Shorebeat. “I feel the same way – it’s great family entertainment – and we see it already, with parents bringing their children here.”
The course is unique. It has waterfalls, fountains and even a hole where golf balls are carried by water over an obstacle to their next destination. It also features plenty of hills and bumps along the way.
“It took over 200 loads of sand to [grade] all of this,” said Ken Gomes, the course’s builder, who called the course a start of new family-oriented businesses coming to the Boulevard.
“Once some of the other buildings come down, there will be more of this,” he said, referencing the largely-abandoned steel structure on the street and the Merge nightclub, which may be subject to condemnation in the future.
The miniature golf course is just a start, said Gomes, adding that Bennett is interested in turning the former bank building into an ice cream or candy shop.
“We want to keep this going,” Bennett said of the transformation of the borough back into a family resort. “It’s up to the locals, and I’m trying to do my small part.”
If You Go
315 Boulevard, Seaside Heights