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Hole in one, two, three…

Published:  27 September, 2019

Puttshack, the crazy golf/bar/restaurant outfit, has announced ambitious growth plans that should see it expand nationwide and internationally, with dozens of venues opening up over the next three years.

Headed up by Joe Vrankin (ex Top Golf) and Adam Breeden (All Star Lanes, Bounce, Flight Club) the company’s UK takeover is backed by £30m of expansion capital.

Puttshack’s first venue, in White City, west London, opened in 2018, followed by a second at Lakeside, Thurrock, near Dartford, earlier this year. A third venue in Bank, central London, is due to open its doors next month, and the company plans to break ground on a fourth site in Watford at the start of 2020.

It’s proof that, while traditional on-trade venues such as bars, pubs and casual dining restaurants are struggling, ‘competitive entertainment’ is booming.

“People are really looking for a social activity when they go out,” says Puttshack’s CEO Joe Vrankin. “What’s unique is the way we have combined it with a food and drink experience to create a great night out.”

The catering side is crucial to Puttshack’s business model, with 50% of all its income coming from food and drink. Beer is a big part of the drinks mix, but so too are cocktails, with the Porn Star Martini the number one seller. Cocktails are individual made, not pre-batched.

Each venue has an executive chef and a ‘drinkologist’ on site to create cooked (rather than microwaved) food and a bespoke drink menu. The White City list, for instance, contains over a 100 rums.

“We have to deliver on the food and drink experience as well as on the golf experience,” says Vrankin. “If we do that people will have no reason to go anywhere else for the evening.”

It’s a formula that seems to be working. The White City venue has had 450,000 games booked since it opened 14 months ago, and, encouraged by these figures, the company is planning to open three to four venues a year across the UK, taking them to 20 venues in the next five years.

They’re also looking to roll out in the US in cities like Chicago, Boston and Atlanta.

“Our competitors are anywhere people spend their entertainment dollar,” says Vrankin, citing not just other activity venues, but also bars, restaurants and cinema. “We want to be in that mix, to create the compelling proposition.

“I'm not expecting them to come here every time they are going out. But we'll get them to come back time and time again.”