By Jim Walsh, GSN Staff Writer

Walking through the front door at the new Imagine 3D Mini Golf in Gilbert starts a unique, immersive experience that surrounds visitors with pirate ships, unicorns, a fire-breathing dragon and killer whales.

Add the 3D glasses and the fantasy experience becomes complete as the realistic artwork seemingly pops off the walls, making the putt-putt golf seem secondary.

Imagine 3D Mini Golf, which just opened at 785 W. Warner Road near Cooper Road, represents an entertainment trend that started on the East Coast and has slowly spread to Arizona.

With blacklight mini-golf, everything glows in a relatively dark space – including your clothes if you come prepared and wear light colors. Two other amusements, in Chandler and Scottsdale, use the same concept.

Owners Ruby and Che Jeffreys said they were inspired to start the business after they visited Glo Putt in Scottsdale.

The Jeffreys say the quality of the artwork by artist Todd Lingbergh of Virginia and the 3D glasses distinguishes Imagine 3D Mini-Golf from its competitors.

“It took him 45 days to hand-paint everything you see in here,’’ Che Jeffreys said. “What amplifies it is the 3D glasses.’’

Rudy Jeffreys, his wife, said her goal in working with Lindbergh was to capture a child’s imagination with the artwork.

The course starts with pirate ships and gradually builds upon a nautical fantasy theme that includes killer whales on the walls and swimming under a glowing walkway.

Ruby said she and other family members became enamored with creating their own, unique, blacklight golf experience after visiting Glo Putt.

It is a marked departure from her career as a part-time aerospace engineer. Che quit his job as a medical sales representative to get Imagine 3D Golf built and then operate it.

“It’s going to maximize your experience. It’s going to make the artwork stand out and create that wow effect,’’ Ruby said. “It’s capturing the imagination of a child. Every child’s imagination is beautiful.’’

She said she explained the concept to Lindbergh, who used his creativity to express it in a vibrant style.

“He put our words onto the walls. He made our vision come to life,’’ Ruby Jeffreys said.

Che said one advantage of blacklight mini-golf is that it can be enjoyed year-round, making it especially appealing during the hot Arizona summers.

He believes the business will attract people of all ages, but it includes an area set aside for birthday parties and an arcade.

He envisions children coming for field trips from school, or for birthday parties and other special events. The fee is $10 per round for ages 10 or more, and $7.50 per round for children 4 to 9 years old. The senior and military rate is $8.50.

There is also a discount for playing a second round and a special rate for parties.

Lindbergh said he has turned 3D mini-golf into his specialty, completing courses in several different states, from New Jersey to Hawaii.

“We’re the best in the country at 3D art. Nobody does it better than we do,’’ he said.

He said he is proud of his Gilbert creations and said Ruby gave him plenty of artistic license in expressing her concept for Imagine 3D Mini-Golf.

Lindbergh said he worked on the project with his son, Alex, who handles the construction work, and his brother, Eric.

“She didn’t want one thing, she wanted the works,’’ Lindbergh said. “They gave me the artist freedom. They said, we’ve seen your work, dazzle us.’’

Information: imagine3dminigolf.com, 480-361-8005