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Iconic Goofy Golf in Fort Walton Beach has new owners, remains a local treasure

The beloved Goofy Golf in Fort Walton Beach has new owners who are committed to preserving its iconic status while bringing a fresh perspective to the cherished local landmark.
Meet the Calhoons, the new owners of Goofy Golf in Fort Walton Beach

The beloved Goofy Golf in Fort Walton Beach has new owners who are committed to preserving its iconic status while bringing a fresh perspective to the cherished local landmark.

Chris Clements, who has worked at Goofy Golf for 26 years, including 14 years as the owner, has sold the business to Fort Walton Beach natives Josh and Anna Calhoon. 

  • The Calhoons, who also own Destin Inshore Guides, Emerald Coast Bait and Tackle Shop, and are involved with Goin’ Coastal TV, officially took over on May 1, 2024.

The connection between the Calhoons and Clements was facilitated by a mutual friend and employee at Emerald Coast Bait and Tackle. “We relayed a message that if Chris ever wanted to sell Goofy Golf, we’d be interested,” Anna Calhoon recalled. “We just thought it would be a cool, iconic piece to own in Fort Walton Beach.”

Three years later, in October 2023, Clements reached out to Josh Calhoon, and the two began discussions about the potential sale. “Chris’s biggest concern over the years is he didn’t want anybody to come in and level the property or change Goofy Golf,” Anna Calhoon said. “And we told Chris we have no desire to change anything at Goofy Golf. We just want to clean it up and get things working and operational like what we remember as kids growing up here.”

Clements, who began working at Goofy Golf when he was 15-years old under the previous owner Bob Fleskes, shared the Calhoons’ vision for preserving the essence of Goofy Golf. 

  • “I feel like Josh and Anna are the same way as I am. They are from here, have young kids that they’re raising here and they’re going to do the exact same thing: keep it Goofy Golf,” he said.
Josh and Anna Calhoon

The Calhoons plan to refurbish and update the beloved miniature golf course while maintaining its original charm. They aim to get the mechanical parts moving again, give the structures a fresh coat of paint, and even recreate the iconic castle hole that has fallen into disrepair. 

  • “The castle hole is a good example. The yellow and brown castle is falling apart, it’s got rust,” Anna Calhoon explained. “So we actually have a local guy that is recreating it because unfortunately, there’s no salvaging the castle. But the castle that will go back there will look the exact same. It’ll just be working and no rust.”

The new owners also plan to update the operating hours, host events, and collaborate with local schools’ art departments and construction classes. While prices have been slightly increased to support the updates, the Calhoons are committed to keeping Goofy Golf affordable for families.

“We only raised the prices to $6 for an adult and $4 for kids. We still wanted to keep it at $20 or less for a family of four to go and have some fun,” she said.

For Anna, only a week into owning a local treasure, it still doesn’t feel real.

  • “It’s a crazy feeling to walk there and know that we’re the owners,” she shared, expressing her excitement about the opportunity to own a piece of Fort Walton Beach history. “Our daughters think this business [Goofy Golf] is way cooler than owning a tackle shop or charter boats.”

The Calhoons also plan to bring back classic Goofy Golf t-shirts featuring the iconic sign and a throwback design created by Clements 12 years ago. They hope to involve the community by collecting old photos of Goofy Golf from locals to display in the kiosk, showcasing the rich history and memories associated with the place.

goofy-golf-original-price-day-2015

Clements, who has been approached by potential buyers two to three times a year since owning Goofy Golf, emphasized the importance of finding the right people to carry on its legacy. 

“I could have sold it to anybody but that’s not what I want because I want it to forever be Goofy Golf,” he said. “I feel like I made the right choice and these are going to be the right people to keep it going for generations and generations.”

For Clements, the decision to sell was bittersweet. 

  • “I love Goofy Golf and still wish I could be part of it but you can’t be part of something forever. Eventually, you’ve got to give somebody else the opportunity that has it in their heart who’s willing to put the time and effort into it and Josh and Anna are those people,” he said.

As the Calhoons embark on this new chapter in Goofy Golf’s history, the community of Fort Walton Beach can rest assured that their beloved landmark is in good hands, ready to create lasting memories for generations to come. 

“I just want to thank everybody for the opportunity, for coming to Goofy Golf, and making memories,” Clements said. “Goofy Golf is just one of those small family businesses that hopefully will never change and still have that attitude of being here for our local community and we appreciate you.”

18 Responses

  1. I lived in Ocean City as a child, fishing off the bridges, playing in the woods, and playing Goofy Gulf.

  2. Anna….Beverly’s dad from CCA says congratulations and I know Goofy Golf will be wonderful!

  3. Congrats to the new owners. I also worked there starting at 12 with Walk Fleskes (Bob’s father). He taught me so much about life and he was like the grandfather I never had. I will always remember him and the rest of the family.

  4. So excited for them. Anna and Josh are perfect for this business. My first thought was to make t-shirts and then I read the article. Kismet.

  5. I’m so happy that this local family will be continuing the legacy of Goofy Golf fun for locals and tourists. Thank you!

  6. Congratulations to the new owners! So happy to read all of your plans! I would be happy to volunteer my time to help in any way needed!

  7. Went to Goofy Golf after my Junior Prom way back in 1972. So glad it will be preserved and kept open.
    Judy

  8. Congratulations and best wishes to new owners. I was 3 to 5 years old when I disappeared from my family after crawling inside the barn to get my ball. I just waited for the doors to reopen and crawled out the other side. 4 generations of our family have loved Goofy Golf, we’re so happy the new owners will preserve the authentic charm of original Goofy Golf.

  9. My husband has been going to Goofy Golf since the 1970’s and we have brought our children to play and now our grandchilden to play. We live in Georgia and have a rental in Destin, and when we come down it’s always a must to go to Goofy Golf. October is our family get together with family from Georgia and Colorado and you are on top of the list for our family.

  10. James William Hayes, my grandfather, is the founder, builder and original owner of Goofy Golf, contrary to the lies from the Fleskes family.
    Thank you for buying it from Chris, who didn’t take care of it any better than Bob did.

  11. Reading this business article, placed a constant smile on my face. Wishing all involved great success, and the building of new memories while preserving the old.
    Sincerely, M. Clark…. Native Oklahoman

  12. Congratulations. Iconic FWB. I played pin ball there in the 60’s. We built a new dinosaur years ago after the original one fell over. We installed it early one morning as a surprise for the owner Mr Fleskes. Wonderful memories. Keep it up. Jay Odom

  13. I’m so happy to hear that Goofy Golf will be improved and around for years to come. I look forward to visiting when I am back in the area for vacation, reunions and family events. Congratulations to the new owners!

  14. It’s great to see new owners who understand and respect the legacy of GG. It sounds like they have the resources to update the facility while maintaining its history. Congratulations to the new owners, its past patrons and all the future “golfers” who will enjoy this fun place.

  15. Glad you are going to keep goofy golf the same as I remember it from 40 years ago. This is the only place in FWB for kids to go to have some fun. It’s a shame this town does nothing for kids and they have to go.to Destin

  16. Congratulations……glad something is remaining the same. Change is not always for “the better”!!

    Thanks

  17. I wish I was there playing right now and drinking a “Suicide” slushy! Those were the best!!
    Kim

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