Miniature golf, a nostalgic, family-friendly recreational mainstay in America, has found new fans in Jakarta, Indonesia, thanks in part to two Babson graduates who created an updated, social media friendly version of the 18-hole game called HOLEO Golf & Museum.
Co-founders Andre Husada MSEL’20, Rexanders Gautama MSEL’20, and Stella Susanto have even opened a second location only eight months after HOLEO’s opening because the first location has been so popular.
“HOLEO’s rapid growth can be attributed to our commitment to providing a unique and memorable experience,” Husada said. The two-story space offers an 18-hole course designed on the four seasons. The first five holes take place in spring, then players progress through summer, autumn, and winter.
The site also offers a second floor packed with Instagram-friendly backgrounds based on desserts, such as a banana-yellow room with dozens of replicas of the yellow fruit hanging from the ceiling.
“We have a winter golf course in a country that’s never had snow, and a room full of 100 donuts where people can take a great selfie,” Husada said.
Word-of-mouth recommendations, press coverage, and visits from Indonesian celebrities and influencers also have helped boost growth, according to Husada.
The popularity of selfie-ready themed rooms and museums have been on the rise for several years, but how did HOLEO co-founders decide to offer mini golf?
Like the best entrepreneurial ventures, the game addressed several pressing needs in the Indonesia capital, Husada said.
“We conducted deep market research that revealed two primary problems in Jakarta’s entertainment industry,” Husada said.
“First, many real estate owners were grappling with underutilized spaces that had remained vacant for extended periods, resulting in zero return on investment. Secondly, consumers were seeking modern and innovative entertainment options that were notably absent in the market dominated by outdated choices.”
Once given a thematic makeover, mini golf gained popularity in Jakarta for the same reasons the game is popular around the world, Husada said:
The idea for the golf course began to take shape during Husada and Gautama’s Leading Entrepreneurial Action Projects (LEAP) class, taken as both were working toward earning their Master of Science in Entrepreneurial Leadership (MSEL) degrees.
The founders of HOLEO initially explored various concepts, with a coffee museum emerging as the final concept. Little did they know that this concept would lay the foundation for HOLEO. Two years later, the vision became a thriving reality.
“One of the most valuable lessons I learned at Babson that has been instrumental in the journey of opening HOLEO is the importance of focusing on the problem not just the solution,” Husada said.
“Babson emphasized that we should start by deeply understanding the pain points and challenges faced by our target audience. This approach directly influenced our decision to open HOLEO.”