One thing I know for sure, Smash Putt ain’t your father’s putt-putt.
I knew I was in for a completely different miniature golf experience the moment I walked up the rickety wooden stairs to the sounds of power tools, piercing alarm blasts and golf balls ricocheting off large industrial slabs of metal.
Once I made it to the entrance and got the run down on the house rules (No high sticking! Keep club swinging below your waist) and the various disclaimers (This event is an exhibit of experimental mechanical interactive art…be mindful of your own safety) I was led into the cavernous main room to pick up my putter and golf ball amidst a dizzying array of lights and sounds.
But you shouldn’t let this apocalyptic scenario scare you.
As was evident by the growing crowd of boisterous, putter-wielding patrons I was going to be in for a night of fun, interactive mayhem that the organizers of Smash Putt like to refer to as the “dawning of miniature golf Armageddon."
Scanning the competition and lay of the land (there are 15 holes in three separate rooms) I quickly made a beeline for the bar (John Daly would love this place). With my nerves settled I grabbed my putter and golf ball and headed to the first hole that appeared to be free of any serious hazards - like chain saws or nuclear missiles.
I landed at the 10th hole (not needing to play the holes consecutively is one of the very few rules of Smash Putt) at what appeared to be a pretty manageble landscape of green indoor carpet set before me. And in the big picture of things, this proved to be a nice confidence-boosting way (albeit short lived) to ease into the night.
Although this hole (guarded by a turtle, beaver and a bear perched on three separate logs that randomly crossed the green in an attempt to sidetrack your shot) was listed as a par 5, I was able to knock it down in two…the only time my score card ran south of par.
Looking for a little more rock ‘n' roll for my next attempt I headed across the room to the 7th hole, strapped on some protective eye gear, grabbed several rounds of golf balls from a NATO M80 cartridge carton and settled in behind what appeared to be a pretty lethal golf ball cannon. Locked and loaded, I took aim at the various metal targets that reverberated with piercing, clanging cries as they took the brunt of hundreds of careening golf balls throughout the night.
I could go on and tell you about scratching and sniffing my way around for clues to my next putt, or the Infinity hole where I think a foursome of putters are still working to make it out. But some things are best left to be discovered on your own.
I wound up at one of my favorite holes toward the end of the night - Mission Impossib-hole. Just like Ethan Hunt, I chose to “accept the mission” and soon found myself in a darkened room with laser beams bouncing menacingly off the walls with cool precision in order to protect the 3rd hole. Let’s just say, Tom Cruise I am not. Dangling, ducking and slithering in between laser beams while dropping a three put for par - without setting off the alarm - is something that could happen only in the movies.
Smash Putt runs on the weekends through April 28. It’s best to buy your tickets in advance as the suggested tee times tend to sell out quickly. General admission is $12. Smash Putt also has some pretty cool private rooms that can accommodate up to 18 people so if you have a group of friends that want to get their putt on, you may want to check into their special VIP party rates.
For tee time availability, tickets and additional Smash Putt information visit: http://www.smashputt.com