Putt-Putt FunHouse: Original owners give Bay Area families 4 decades of wild fun
By Jake Magee
Community Impact Newspaper
Every so often, Jim Saxe will sit in the middle of Putt-Putt FunHouse and close his eyes. If he does not hear screaming and laughter, he knows he is doing something wrong.
Fortunately, the business is always filled with the joyful cries of children and their families.
Former teachers Jim and Carol Saxe are the husband-and-wife owners of Putt-Putt FunHouse, a building in Webster that is as eye-catching on the outside as it is colorful and crazy on the inside. FunHouse is filled with games, activities and attractions designed to give families hours of fun.
The business includes an arcade, laser tag, virtual reality video games, a 3D movie theater, mini bowling, a jungle gym filled with foam balls, land- and water-based bumper cars, and, of course, mini-golf courses. The FunHouse also features free attractions to give it a funhouse vibe, such as dominoes, an 8-foot pin art wall, and halls filled with mirrors that children and adults entertain each other with, the Saxes said.
“It’s so fun to see the families interact with each other,” Carol said.
The Saxes are the FunHouse’s original owners and have operated it for 40 years as of June 15. It started as a Putt-Putt course Jim decided to build after hearing complaints from his students that there was nothing to do in the Bay Area.
“The only thing to do in all of Clear Lake was there was a movie theater,” Jim said. “That stuck in my mind.”
In the early years, the couple continued to expand the business with other hot attractions. Carol used to ask Jim if they would slow down on adding to the FunHouse, but the couple still has not stopped.
The FunHouse once had a go kart track that had to be removed to make room for the construction of the NASA Bypass. It is possible the track could one day make a return, and the Saxes are always finding new gimmicks to add to the FunHouse, they said.
“I’m the kind of person [where]when there’s something new and exciting, I wanted to add it,” Jim said.
Carol said it is important to keep the FunHouse fresh.
“As an entertainment business, you have to be up with the new trends or you get left behind,” she said. “I just enjoy just showing different people the different attractions.”
Being former teachers, the Saxes not only have a passion for interacting with children but also helping the community. The Saxes donate money to Clear Creek ISD schools to fund grants for various campus projects. They also give Putt-Putt FunHouse coupons to schools so teachers can incentivize students to perform well, the Saxes said.
But one of the best parts of the job is the love they and their many employees have for the work.
“It’s a happy place to work,” Carol said. “People are here because they wanna be here.”