Sports Training & Conditioning Zone!

The Flamingo Mini-Golf Principle

Making a Real Connection with Your Community & Clients

By Bill Parisi, Founder and CEO, Parisi Speed School

This summer my family and I vacationed at one of our favorite locations, Long Beach Island. Each day for ten days, my boys, their friends, and I would play a round a mini-golf. After several days of making the drive to Flamingo Mini-Golf and passing about six other mini-golf locations (which we had tried in the past) I started thinking about what Flamingo Mini-Golf does that makes us want to return time-after-time, year-after-year. I came up with the following things that made us loyal to Flamingo Mini-Golf:

• Flamingo is challenging but not so challenging that it's not fun. While each hole proposes a unique obstacle and a specific technique to succeed, a hole-in-one is always possible. One secret is the "built-in assistance" that many of the holes offer. The putting areas are slightly pitched toward the holes (many people do not notice), so you have built-in support to help your putt. People rarely leave feeling defeated!

• Although there are 18 different holes, we felt ourselves getting better each day, on each hole. We were learning the specific techniques needed to reduce our strokes and potentially make a hole-in-one. The more we played, the more excited we got and the better we became. This kept us wanting to return for more!

• Flamingo Mini-Golf brings you back over-and-over to improve your game by hosting a tournament every Thursday at 9:30 am. I was surprised as we drove past the other empty mini-golf courses on Thursday morning to find over 200 people waiting in line to enter the Flamingo Mini-Golf tournament. Let's face it; everyone likes friendly competition and the opportunity to show off their skill!

As I thought about how Flamingo Mini-Golf is always such a big part of our family vacation at the shore, I realized that there are parallels and lessons to be applied to our businesses in the fitness industry.

Lesson 1: Deliver the Right Exercise with the Right Intensity

It's important to prescribe exercises that give our clients every chance to succeed. With their effort and our support, we enable them to conquer each movement. It is what makes their time with us valuable, challenging, and fun.

Making exercises overly difficult is not our end goal. We need to make sure we prescribe the right amount of intensity so our clients feel they are succeeding with each set. The feeling of success throughout the workout is critical for clients to keep coming back.

Lesson 2: Make Sure Prescribed Workouts Have Variety, but Not Too Much

We constantly need to coach our clients to have a "growth mindset"1 and understand that skill is not innate; technique and precision leads to achievement and is learned through deliberate repetition and practice.

In order to ensure our clients are constantly in a growth mindset and feel the rewards of achievement, we need to have a variety of exercises creating balance and symmetry. The fine line is offering this variety while at the same time providing the repetition and practice that leads to the client's feeling of achievement.

Lesson 3: Provide a Connection to the Community Through Friendly Competition

We need to build a sense of community around client's achievements and provide them with the opportunity to celebrate these achievements with other likeminded people. Friendly competition becomes the cornerstone of this effort and will result in a loyal client base.

Competition is one of the key secrets of Cross Fit's explosive growth. We can all learn from its success by understanding that the basic behavior of people is that they want to be a part of something, show off their achievements, be challenged to do better, and celebrate with people that "get them."


As I thought about these lessons, of course I had to evaluate the Parisi Speed School. From our consistent Active Dynamic Warm-up, which teaches technique and precision, to our Cat Club Challenge, which provides friendly competition, a connection to the community and a sense of accomplishment for our young athletes, we have applied the "Flamingo Mini-Golf Principle" to our business fairly well…of course there is always room for growth and improvement.

I love it when life provides lessons to learn from even in the simplest situations. I hope these were as insightful and valuable to you and your business as they were to me. For more information about how to make your facility more successful, watch our 3 minute video.

1. Dweck, Carol, (2006) Mindset. New York, NY: Ballantine Books