Puttshack Expands with First US Location
It’s always captivating to learn the backstory of how popular attractions are conceived. The chronicle of how brothers Steve and Dave Jolliffe founded Topgolf some 20 years ago is just such a tale—and now, the two brothers are at it again.
Along with Adam Breeden, co-founder of All Star Lanes, AceBounce, and Flight Club, they hope their new venture, Puttshack, revolutionizes miniature golf the way Topgolf transformed the driving range.
Unlike traditional golf, at Puttshack, the highest score wins. Every move is tracked by the patented Trackaball technology embedded the golf ball.
The first Puttshack concept opened in London in 2018, followed by two more locations in the United Kingdom. Now, it has expanded to the United States, with the first venue opened in April at The Interlock, a mixed-use development in Atlanta.
Funworld spoke with Joe Vrankin, CEO of Puttshack and former CEO of Topgolf International, about what makes the Puttshack concept unique.
“The Jolliffe brothers and Adam Breeden have reinvented the game for the young audience,” he says. “The brothers took their experience creating the Topgolf technology and then kicked it up a few notches for Puttshack. By creating this high-tech golf ball that tracks everything for you throughout the course, they were able to reimagine mini-golf and create an entirely new game.”
Vrankin says the patented balls are essentially “mini-computers” that hold players’ scores and follow them throughout the courses. Cheating is eliminated since sensors record when a player putts and if they try to unfairly move the ball in any way. In addition, players win or lose bonus points at each hole.
“The courses are one of a kind and just a lot of fun,” says Vrankin. “There’s a beer pong hole, a roulette hole, a true/false hole, and more, and all this is matched by an incredible atmosphere that’s Instagram-worthy everywhere you look.”
Nighttime is when Puttshack again distinguishes itself from traditional mini-golf.
“It becomes 21-plus at 8 p.m., transforming the space into an upscale nightclub vibe,” says Vrankin. “This change in vibe, attracting different demographics throughout the day, is part of Adam’s genius—it really makes Puttshack stand out from others in the space. Our one-of-a-kind game is matched by an innovative, globally inspired dining menu and full cocktail bar, great music, perfect lighting, and a fun, high-energy, amazing vibe.”
The 25,000-square-foot Puttshack Atlanta will be followed later this year with Puttshack openings in Miami and Chicago. Vrankin says cities with “great energies, opportunities for growth, and emerging young demographics” are their target communities. Recently, Puttshack signed a lease in Nashville, Tennessee, for a location at the site of the old Gibson Guitar factory.
As for further international expansion, Vrankin says, “We are always looking for optimal locations in top markets across the U.S., with sights to expand globally in the future.”