Warren's putt-putt tradition is alive and well - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Warren's putt-putt tradition is alive and well

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WARREN, Ohio -

If you grew up in Trumbull County, odds are you spent a little time at the Putt-Putt course in Warren. The future of that facility was very much up in the air not too long ago until the current owners made sure the tradition would continue.

For many, the facility brings back memories.

"When I was growing up my grandpa, he lives like five minutes away from here, he would bring me here all the time," said assistant manager Hailee Wilson.

"Actually the '85 tornado, I was right here playing putt-putt during the tornado, yes," said Tina Wilson. 

Warren's putt-putt course has been around for more than 50 years, but four years ago it wasn't clear whether that tradition would continue.

"The owners wanted to retire and there was a business in the community that wanted to buy it and make it into a parking lot," said owner Roberta Michelle Cykon.

Roberta Cykon and her husband just couldn't let that happen. So without much of a plan, they bought the place; one of only 44 true putt-putt courses left in the world.

"It's a dying breed just like roller skating, just like going to the movies. Our generation isn't really interested, the younger generation, in coming to facilities like this," said Cykon.

"People are doing more on computers and video games and less outdoor activity," said 2006 PPA national champion Brad Lebo.

To try and bring the crowds back, Cykon's embraced the spirit of putt-putt; different from mini-golf, in that you can theoretically score an ace on every hole. She doesn't play music, trying to promote family conversation and fun instead, and she holds tournaments like the one this weekend involving true professional players.

While the pros were in town this weekend for the tournament, what she'd really like to do down the road is host a national event and really show the community what the sport of putt-putt is all about.

"You have guys from Texas, Carolina, just all over just saying we need to have another national event out here," said Dom Perry, a professional putter from Canfield.

"The more tournaments and more you can promote the sport... just like Roberta does, maybe you'll see that start coming back," said Jim Engel, a professional putter from Boardman.

And that's the goal at the heart of this; taking a piece of the past and showing the next generation why so many memories were made on that green carpet.

"I think it's wonderful to see the joy on people's faces, that something that's so simple as playing an authentic game of putt-putt can bring people back together again," said Cykon.

"There's still memories to be made. I watch families bring their kids here and they're happy and the kids have fun, just all the memories that wouldn't have been made if it was a parking lot," said Tina Wilson.

So they didn't pave paradise. It's sitting right where it's been for decades, just waiting for people to rediscover the magic.

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