Puttshack, the indoor miniature golf entertainment concept founded by the creators of Topgolf, has received $150 million in growth capital from BlackRock
“It really kind of sets us apart from a lot of the others in the industry,” said Puttshack Chief Financial Officer Logan Powell. “Having somebody like BlackRock as a partner is a huge amount of credibility to us in addition to the capital. We’re excited to continue not only on the location front, but also continuing to expand the technology offerings.”
Two of the other businesses in the growing mini golf entertainment space have a couple of the biggest names in professional golf behind them: Tiger Woods as an investor in PopStroke and Rory McIlroy as a backer of Puttery.
Puttshack currently has two venues open – in Atlanta and Chicago – and additional locations are scheduled to debut later this year in Boston, Miami and potentially St. Louis, mixing their upscale, high-tech mini golf courses with music and food & beverage offerings. Eight more openings are planned for 2023, in Dallas, Denver, Houston, Nashville, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Scottsdale, as well as a second location in Atlanta. Powell said that Puttshack also has a “really robust pipeline” for 2024 and 2025 in the U.S.
“From a market perspective, we’re pretty comfortable we can open 10 to 15 per year for the next several years and have more than ample space to expand,” Powell added. The BlackRock investment is the second round of funding for Puttshack, which also raised $60 million in growth capital led by Promethean Investments. It was the team at Promethean that connected Puttshack and BlackRock.
“At the beginning of the year one of our strategic goals was to secure a meaningful amount of capital,” Powell said. “For now, based on the amount, we should be well-capitalized for the next several years.”
Game play at Puttshack is powered by a patented technology called Trackaball, which is a microcomputer within the golf ball that automatically keeps score (points rather than total strokes), eliminating the need for guests to use a scorecard and pencil. The added investment will allow the company to continue expand its technology offerings, such as a recently released cloud-based booking portal that’s similar to a traditional tee sheet – allowing guests to reserve a game time or dining window prior to arriving at the venue.
Mini golf has long been a popular pastime for participants young and old, with the National Golf Foundation estimating that approximately 18 million Americans play the game well-known for its windmills and clown’s mouths. The newer, high-tech versions are embracing a different look and feel in trying to tap into and broaden that participant base, whether it’s with indoor, adults-only venues or games like those at Puttshack where screens guide players throughout and the highest score wins. The investment from BlackRock is a significant one that will further growth in that niche.