Birdies, a Westfield miniature golf course and restaurant complex more than two years in the making, begins its rollout Friday, July 19, with the opening of the 36-hole course. The restaurant is expected to open this November.
The developer of the $6.5 million project on 5.3 acres at 632 E. State Road 32, is Birdies Entertainment Group, which is owned by Kevin and Jessica Lynch, a husband-and-wife team who announced in 2017 that they intended to create Birdies as a draw for visitors to nearby Grand Park.
The couple, both 28, are residents of Westfield. Kevin is a professional hockey player who is hoping to sign with the Tampa Bay Lightning this upcoming season. After struggling with injuries on Tampa Bay’s affiliate team, the Syracuse Crunch, he needs to prove he can perform while staying healthy at training camp. If he can, Tampa Bay intends to sign him.
Kevin sees parallels between professional sports and opening a business.
“The entrepreneurial lifestyle is very similar to hockey as far as the instability and the risk/reward,” Kevin said. “We love that. I don’t think having a set schedule is in our blood, we like to take risks and have that instability and move around.”
Kevin plans on playing hockey for at least several more years, which he doesn’t think will distract from running the business. The mini-golf season lines up well with the May-September NHL offseason, he said.
Jessica, a former Carmel High School and University of Michigan cheerleader, is the daughter of Ted Gelov, chairman and CEO of Carmel-based Heartland Food Products Group, which makes Splenda. When IBJ reported plans for Birdies in June 2017, Gelov was expected to invest in the business.
They Lynches wanted to open the mini-golf course and restaurant simultaneously. “There were just a lot more delays than we anticipated, and the construction of the building takes a lot longer and we wanted to not miss out on this miniature golf season,” Kevin said.
The mini-golf course includes waterfalls and concrete formations hand-carved to look like rock, with many elevation changes occurring throughout the course. Mini golfers will have the option to play 18 or 36 holes. Discounts are available for senior golfers. Hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. during the week and 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. on weekends.
The 7,500-square-foot, 250-seat restaurant will be considered an American grill, with the menu offering a wide variety of options. Kevin said the menu isn’t set, but Birdies plans on serving appetizers, salads, fish, chicken and steak. The restaurant will offer a full menu on the first floor and small plates on the second level. The second floor will also have a rooftop bar, Kevin said.
“I think one of the things that we don’t want to happen is we’re kind of in the entertainment business and we feel like a lot of places that have a restaurant and entertainment lack good food,” Kevin said. “We don’t want to do that here. We want to have great food and great drinks.”
Birdies will also offer outdoor concessions, including ice cream, for patrons of the golf course.
The mini-golf course employs five people; the restaurant is expected to employ 60-80 people.
“We were looking for something to do outside of hockey,” Jessica Lynch told IBJ in 2017. We wanted something that's a good place for entertainment. We hope it will be a destination.”