Six weeks ago I had the privilege of being invited along to one of Puttshack ‘s long-awaited launch nights, having the opportunity to show off my pizza-eating (strong) and hole-in-one (weaker) skills.
It is important that I disclose at this point that this review is going to be slightly biased. But for good reason. My incredibly talented and devilishly handsome other half, Frazer, was part of the team responsible for designing the amazing golf holes. More specifically he spent almost a year brainstorming, sketching, designing, and creating lifesize models of the holes from cardboard to test and redesign gameplay. So basically, the golf hole design is absolutely impeccably flawless. But there’s more to Puttshack than the holes themselves so I shall continue.
(Extremely handsome and talented designer mentioned above).
From the outside Puttshack is unmissable. Located in Westfield London it’s well connected, just a stone’s throw away from Wood Lane or a short walk from Shepherd’s Bush or White City underground stations. The golf club chandelier in the entrance sets the tone for the venue – quirky yet classy, with a dash of Shoreditch-esque hipster trend.
When we arrived upstairs we were welcomed by friendly, enthusiastic servers in their fresh new FILA uniforms (hello again Shoreditch). We were able to book a slot on the interactive screens and then were directed to the bar area where we could wait for our names to be called on the airport-style arrivals board.
The bar was staffed by most of the extras from the Peaky Blinders (not wearing FILA), and a good selection of beers, wines and tasty cocktails were on offer. As I had come straight from work to the venue I was on the verge of starvation so we decided to head over to the restaurant so I could try some adventurous cuisine. Okay, I had a pizza. What were you expecting?
After slowly enjoying (wolfing down) my pizza with a side of chips (chip=potato, potato=vegetable, vegetable=salad, so side salad) our slot was changed to “final call” so we headed to collect our balls and
Our balls were programmed in a special ball-programming-machine© and then we were ready to play! Puttshack is different to regular mini golf because there’s no need for someone to try and keep track of the scores on a tiny card with a tiny pencil that you may or may not lose on the third hole. Instead it’s a fully digitised and interactive experience. When it’s your turn you pop the ball on the ‘tee’ and once the tee lights up in green you’re ready to play. The screen keeps track of how many times you’ve hit your ball, and each hole has various different bonus points/hazard holes that affect your score. The magical “super tube” directs your ball to a hole-in-one, which I managed one of (🙌) and the screen above your hole plays a special smug announcement so everyone around knows how much you’re slaying.
Of course, Frazer is a tad competitive so he played the holes with the knowledge of someone who built the holes and thus managed to get himself to number one on the venue leaderboard for that evening’s scores. Show off. But even I, a person with the same golfing ability as their own cat, managed a fairly good score. The different features and novelties of the holes (which are 💯 more interesting than a windmill or a a crocodile’s mouth) made the whole experience way more fun than any type of golf I’ve ever played before. And not having to keep your own score on a post-it note was just the start of it.
Best bit : Have I mentioned how good the hole design is?! You’re not just playing golf – you’re at the skateboarding park, playing beer pong, having a go on the bowling alley, getting the chance to win prizes in their own wheel of fortune, and taking part in a quiz – and that’s just one of the courses!
Worst bit : Playing against the person who designed, built and practised on lifesize versions of the holes for almost a year. Next time I think I’ll take someone else!
Inspired? Check it out here. Just £12.50 a game and they’re currently running a BOGOF deal as long as you go before 6pm on a weekday. Summer holiday plans sorted.