Wednesday, December 13, 2023

New updates on Downtown San Jose's Urban Putt, the coolest miniature golf concept I've ever seen ⛳

As someone who grew up going to Golfland in San Jose, Milpitas, and Sunnyvale, I was definitely intrigued when I learned about a new miniature golf course coming to the heart of Downtown San Jose. I believe that Urban Putt will be the first in Downtown history. 

After learning that it will feature courses inspired by the Winchester Mystery House, an interactive version of Downtown San Jose, a Shark that will try to eat your ball, a submarine, a crashed UFO, and all sorts of other unique courses filled with mechanical gizmos... well I'm ecstatic. It truly looks like it will be a work of art. The icing on the cake is going to be craft cocktails and food as unique as the venue (s'mores sliders?).

Urban Putt is scheduled to open in January, but they have a Kickstarter page with several potential reward options and discounted tickets. There is always some risk involved when participating in a Kickstarter but it has worked out well for me (The San Jose Blog's logo came from a Kickstarter campaign).

Even if you have no intention of participating in the Kickstarer, you must watch the 3 minute video with a preview of what Urban Putt is concocting. It looks insane and is now the new entertainment venue I'm most excited about for San Jose in 2024.

From the Kickstarter page:

This isn't your grandfather's mini-golf. 

This is miniature golf reimagined: an immersive, cutting-edge course, located in the heart of San Jose. Combining high artistry and a serious commitment to fun (and powered by a gaggle of mechanical gizmos), this 18-hole indoor miniature golf course will amaze and entertain. Conceived and built by the same team that created the wildly popular Urban Putt venues in San Francisco and Denver, Urban Putt San Jose is slated to open in late 2023/early 2024.

So what can you expect on the course? A crashed UFO, a submarine inspired by Jules Verne's Nautilus, a hole inspired by the Winchester Mystery House, an interactive version of downtown San Jose, a shark that will try to eat your golf ball, and even an old-school circuit board you putt through. Oh, yeah... and lots of man-made mountains towering over the entire expanse. Built by artists, craftspeople, designers, wood- and metalworkers, theatrical prop masters, programmers, and more, Urban Putt is looking to deliver next-level fun. 

The space itself is, in a word, breathtaking. Urban Putt San Jose is envisioned as an immersive experience, transporting you into a futuristic urban environment, where technology and entertainment collide. Designed by architect Chris Holzwart of holzarchitecture, the 13,000-square-foot site draws you through the front doors and down into a new world. The cylindrical dining room acts as the hub of the operation, with massive swooping openings on all sides that allow visitors to enter the mini-golf course or the private mezzanine viewing deck beyond. The design motif is a study in swoops, radiuses, and circles. Everywhere you look there are walls, fixtures, even the smallest details, that pay homage to the circle, a playful nod to the golf ball itself. Strategically placed portholes in the walls give visual hints to what lies beyond, whether viewed from the majestic front entrance or from the comfort of the mezzanine. Elsewhere, perforated metal walls and dividers (there are those circles again!) appear throughout the space. Overhead, in the main dining/drinking area, a six-foot-diameter polished orb floats overhead, honeycombed with cutouts and gears, to further reinforce the look and feel of the venue, while visually referencing the mechanical wonders that populate the course. Even the bathrooms -- with their glossy penny tile walls -- are showcases that give a nod to the ubiquity of the circle in our design.

And then there are the tables and bar surfaces. On the ground floor and mezzanine, four enormous community tables -- made of two-inch thick clear epoxy with thousands of golf balls embedded in each -- are custom-made conversation pieces. The bar tops and drink rails are similarly sensational and unconventional: slabs of highly polished concrete, smooth to the touch, with subtle curves at the edges and endpoints. It's a design that evokes wonder and joy, and may even leave you wondering, How did they do that? 

Speaking of the bar, our custom-built 40-foot-long bar top is a work of art in its own right, even featuring a "time machine" (non-functional, at least so far; but if anyone can create a working time machine, it would be Urban Putt's mad scientists). With a full slate of creative cocktails, locally sourced beers, and a passel of imaginative mocktails, Urban Putt's bar will be a must-visit in Downtown San Jose as well as a terrific location for post-work happy hours.

Meanwhile, the restaurant, helmed by noted San Jose chef Chad Ferry, will offer everything from out-of-the box shareables (grilled corn topped with Flamin' Hot Cheetos, anyone?) to hand-made pizzas and full sit-down dinners. We are particularly excited by Chef Chad's dessert menu, with Ice Cream Nachos, S'more Sliders, and even a flotilla of floats, some made with stout, for those who like their sweets with an alcoholic zing.

For partygoers, the mezzanine, which can hold 120 patrons, offers a bird's-eye view of the entire course, bar, and dining area. The "Mezz" can be divided into multiple configurations and has its own bathrooms and private bar, making it a premium location for private events, from company team building to birthday parties, bachelor parties, even weddings (Urban Putt founder Steve Fox is a Universal Life officiant who has performed nine weddings and is eager to oversee more of them).

We are in the home stretch right now, and need just a little help to push us over the top. The Kickstarter funds will be used to finish the grand finale hole (a design inspired by the dodecahedron) and the outer space hole. This is getting exciting; we can't wait to show everyone what we've been working on for the last two years.

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