Topgolf Inventors Tap BlackRock in $150 Million Raise for ‘Upscale’ Mini Golf
Topgolf inventors Steven and Dave Jolliffe are back with a new sports-entertainment concept—Puttshack, an “upscale, tech-infused” version of mini golf—and they recently received $150 million in growth capital from BlackRock to expand across the U.S. Last year, the company announced a $60 million round led by Promethean Investments.
Since opening its first location in the UK in 2018, Puttshack has expanded to Atlanta and Chicago, with outposts in Boston, Miami and St. Louis on the way. The courses are family-friendly during the day and 21+ after 8 p.m., when the vibes are recalibrated for young adults. The Atlanta and Chicago locations, which opened in 2021, each include four courses across more than 25,000 square feet. The latest round of funding will further fuel real estate expansion, as well as tech development.
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Gameplay is built around a patented automatic ball and score tracking setup—as you can guess, the course is littered with screens—and a points system that goes well beyond counting strokes. Puttshack CFO Logan Powell told Sportico the company is “in the process of developing some new game modes right now to keep the game fresh and keeping customers coming back.” Recent data showed that visitors often returned three or more times per year.
Adam Breeden—who has previously launched bowling, table tennis and darts venues, along with a futuristic bingo bar—founded Puttshack alongside the Jolliffe twins. Puttshack CEO Joe Vrankin was Topgolf’s CEO from 2007 to 2012. Callaway Golf acquired Topgolf at a valuation north of $2 billion in 2020.
Sparked in part by Topgolf’s success, bar-game combos have evolved well beyond the billiards halls of yore. TOCA Football, a soccer-based concept, has raised more than $100 million while debuting sites in London and Dallas, and Puttshack’s Boston location will be close to a “Pickleball bar” complete with five courts, as well as cornhole and shuffleboard setups.
“People want to get out and go do something,” Powell said. “I think people are really looking for that quality time factor more than anything else.”