Putting by MATT ELEY
for pleasure & profit
The phrase ‘getting a round in’ is taking on a whole new meaning in the on-trade, with a glut of mini-golf themed bars opening up across the country. Swingers, Junkyard Golf, Plonk, Puttshack, Ghetto Golf, and Mulligan’s are just a handful of the imaginatively named crazy golf venues that have emerged in recent years. Caddyshackers, an offshoot of the Steamin Billy pub group, opened in Leicester last October. The vast site sprawls over a 30,000ft space that previously homed a Dunelm store. It now features an 18-hole crazy golf course with holes themed on toilets, pubs, a skatepark and many more. A bar, arcade games, table-tennis and a plethora of other activities to make it a perfect playground for adults. Work is also under way to construct several bowling alleys at the site.
And for the next course…
Adding Instagram-friendly features keeps punters happy and can bag you free publicity
“We are constantly changing the course so it’s different for when people come back,” says Robin.“It’s really eco-friendly. We’ve had reviews where people have said it looks like we’ve been to a landfill site and essentially we have. We are not trying to disguise that. If it doesn’t work we will change it.” A round of golf at Caddyshackers will cost
between £5 and £10 depending on when in the week you play (and if you happen to have a student discount card). Most of the venue’s income comes from golf rather than alcohol. Robin continues: “The drinking culture, certainly in Leicester, has changed so much. It used to be that people would go out to several bars. Now people want something to do when they have a pint.” Joe Vrankin, chief executive of Puttshack, which has three sites in London and Essex, says: “Competitive socialising has become extremely popular as people look for experiences with a strong point of difference from anything they can create at home,” he says. “Mini golf is fun, inclusive and you don’t have to be experienced to play. People love the light-hearted yet competitive element.” Having more than just golf is essential, even if you happen to be one of the best mini golfers in the country. Richard Gottfried, a champion mini golfer who is on a mission to play every course in the country, told Inapub: “There are some places that have great food or provide such a good allround experience that I have been back to eat without even playing golf.” One of Richard’s favourite courses is Lost City Adventure, which has sites in Nottingham and Belfast. Lost City owner Lane Scott shares Robin’s view as to why mini golf venues have been a recent success story. “People expect more on a night out . They are looking for more of an entertainment experience than just drinking,” he says.
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