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Why putt putt golf is suddenly hip

Trendy new venues across the country are mashing up mini golf, cocktails and music – and the results are irresistible.

By Dan F Stapleton
Published: 18 July, 2017

Our population may be small, but we Australians are an innovative bunch. Did you know, for example, that we invented the pacemaker, the electric drill and wi-fi technology? In this corner of the world, we’re constantly looking for new ways of doing things, which may be why we’ve embraced a new form of evening entertainment: party golf. Pioneering this energetic mix of putt putt, cocktails and music is a company called Holey Moley, which has four party-golf locations across the country and more venues in the planning stages.  We spoke with CEO Michael Schreiber about how the game works and how to get the most out of the experience.

Putting an end to modern-day isolation

Holey Moley, Sydney, New South Wales

“We think Holey Moley’s mash-up of putt putt, cocktails, music and art creates a unique, satirical entertainment experience,” says Schreiber. According to the CEO, the rise of smartphone culture has turned many cafes and clubs into antisocial zones dominated by glowing screens. By incorporating an activity such as putt putt into a traditional nightlife venue, Schreiber hopes he can encourage people to re-connect. “It’s a counterbalance to the isolation of technology and social media,” he says.

Capitalising on a good idea

Holey Moley, Melbourne, Victoria

Holey Moley currently exists in four major Australian cities: Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide. Each branch is located close to the city centre in a building that once served a different purpose: in Brisbane, for example, it’s a former church while in Melbourne it’s a refurbished nightclub. Repurposing old venues gives each Holey Moley its own feel, says Schreiber – and the non-standard floor plans make the putt putt courses more intriguing. Each course features holes inspired by pop culture (think Game of Thrones, Pac-Man and Elvis) and there are plans to refresh the courses every six months.

Creative cocktails and brilliant bites

Holey Moley, Sydney, New South Wales

It’s not just about golf, of course. “We think of the putt putt as an icebreaker,” says Schreiber. Once you and your friends have warmed up, there are weird and wacky cocktails to try (with a different menu in each city) plus venue-specific food, which runs the gamut from Vietnamese bao in Sydney to wood-fired pizza in Melbourne. Schreiber says the Brisbane venue will soon welcome a rotating cast of food trucks. Pinball is also on offer and there are plans to incorporate live music and other live entertainment. Traditionalists are taken care of, too. There are plenty of quiet corners where you can simply kick back and chat.

Mastering the glorious game

Putt putt is designed to be fun, but Schreiber knows that some visitors may find the idea of competing against their mates intimidating. “That’s why there’s a bit of luck involved in some of the holes: it levels the playing field,” he says. “You don’t need to be a great putter to win at Holey Moley.” If you’re keen to maximise your experience, check out Holey Moley’s range of “Par-Tees” which include food, drinks, memorabilia and a reserved seating area for post-golf socialising.

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