The idea for Putting Green was launched by a New Ulm family who, on vacation in 1997, discovered a fun family activity—- mini-golf!. On the way home, their 8 year old son was imagining and drawing mini golf holes in the backseat. Aha! Wouldn’t creating a mini golf park be a great way for kids to enjoy hands-on learning in many different disciplines such as physics, math, art, and business? And every good mini golf course needs a theme. With a passion for education and a new found interest in sustainability —that what’s good for the environment and good for business can be one in the same —-sustainability education became the park’s focus.
Putting Green founders thought the blend of lighthearted family fun with the serious need to care for our environment seemed a perfect combination for success. Given what’s been accomplished, it’s apparent there are many who agree. Putting Green, Inc. formed in 2001 as a 501c3 nonprofit organization and leased a riverside property from the City of New Ulm. The park was designed and developed by young people with the help of mentors, educators and experts and opened its doors in 2005.
In 2008, the Growing Green was added to the campus. It is a two-acre commercial enterprise, providing fresh produce, herbs, and flowers. Located at the Park, Growing Green was initially a collaborative project with MRCI WorkSource, the largest provider of community-based supported employment in Minnesota, serving more than 3,000 people with disabilities in Southern Minnesota.
In 2013, the Growing Green transitioned to what is now the New Ulm Community Garden. With available water, a fence designed to keep out even the most persistent deer, and many dedicated gardeners around to help out the beginners, the New Ulm Community Garden is a great option to help keep your food local and natural.
Thanks to its many supporters and volunteers, Putting Green is an ever-evolving innovative center for environmental education serving south central Minnesota.