The UK’s leading indoor mini golf experience, Puttshack is driving forward with its expansion strategy as it looks to maintain its position as the market leader. Here, RLI sits down with CEO Joe Vrankin to learn more about this social entertainment concept and the technology behind it.

Puttshack is a ‘World’s First’ social entertainment concept that uses patented ground-breaking technology to elevate the accepted limitations of mini golf into a cutting edge gaming phenomenon. With technology facilitating automatic point scoring, leader-boards, and intuitive gameplay, Puttshack is quite simply raising the bar with the most incredible mini golf concept currently on the market. The very first Puttshack opened in July last year at Westfield London, White City and the second site launched at intu Lakeside, Essex in September this year.

This month will see the opening of the third site in Bank, London whilst there are plans in place to open in Watford as well. Following such a positive response to its first two locations, which has seen some nearly 300,000 guests, including household names Raheem Sterling and Brooklyn Beckham among others playing 500,000 games, the team at Puttshack are planning the next stage of expansion. “We believe the strong consumer demand that we’ve seen at our venues to date will be replicated across the UK and overseas,” explains Puttshack CEO Joe Vrankin. “We have ambitious plans to grow the brand, taking the concept to cities around the UK and we are working towards a pipeline that could see two to three venues open per year in the UK across the next five years. We are also looking at taking the concept to the US market, with potential openings in cities including Atlanta, Boston and Chicago.”

Puttshack venues have a proven track record for driving footfall, which makes the concept highly appealing to shopping centre locations where retailers benefit from new customers coming into the area; however the company’s growth will not be limited to these areas, as they will be seeking large sites in high footfall areas. “We are a well invested company, having secured an equity raise of £30M in June this year with lead investor Promethean Investment and we have an expert team who are highly experienced in taking new ideas to market. We are looking to grow Puttshack at a pace that allows us to maintain our exceptionally high standards,” Vrankin comments. Vrankin believes that competitive socialising is a rapidly growing social trend that appeals to consumers’ increasing appetite for experiences, and Puttshack is moving the tee by combining market-leading technology with a sense of fun and enjoyment to create a futuristic mini golf experience that consumers haven’t seen before. The new concept utilises Trackaball technology, developed by the same people who came up with the revolutionary Topgolf experience. In essence, what this means is that each ball knows who it belongs to, how many times it’s been hit, how far it has moved, how well each person did on previous visits and of course, who is winning.

The venues themselves feature a bright and modern design, interactive gameplay and standout individual golf holes. Starting with a blank piece of paper, the design team have brought to life holes such as Beer Pong, Half Pipe, Duck Hunt and Evel Hole, all designed to allow consumers to get the most out of their mini golf game. “We’ve taken the experience a step further by offering an excellent bar with highly skilled staff who serve an array of drinks including cocktails, while our food menu is extensive and we have an Executive Chef who ensures that food is freshly prepared and cooked to a really high standard,” explains Vrankin.

The brand has taken recent food and drinks trends into consideration and the sites offer a wide range of delicious vegan dishes, and its White City venue puts a strong focus on rum, with a vast selection available along with a choice of rum cocktails. “At Puttshack we are raising the bar by combining market-leading technology with a sense of fun and enjoyment to create a futuristic mini golf experience that consumers haven’t seen before,” says Vrankin. The demographic the brand attracts is very broad and it changes across the course of each day. The offer attracts families in the earlier part of the day and often hosts children’s birthday parties, there is great appeal for the teenage market, while groups of adults are more likely to come for the evening and the venues have a real party vibe for the later part of the day. “All of this means that when consumers come into our venues, they do not just play one round and leave, they stay for a long period of time, and they’re very likely to return,” concludes Vrankin.