Mini-Golf Upstart Puttshack Gets Big Investment From BlackRock

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Puttshack has big plans to double its US footprint in the coming weeks, and with a further $150 million cash injection from its latest funding round, the company has the fuel it needs for a even greater growth in 2023.

The brainchild of miniature golf by Topgolf founders Steve and Dave Jolliffe has completed a growth capital funding round, led by BlackRock (noir) and British private equity firm Promethean Investments.

Puttshack’s website says the company’s Boston location was scheduled to open sometime in the summer. Although it missed that deadline, just a day after the funding announcement, the company announced that the Boston location will open for business this fall.

The company did not return a request for comment on whether it needed new funds to open the Boston site, but it did acknowledge in its press release where the money will go.

“This new capital from BlackRock will allow us to grow further and bring our one-of-a-kind concept to more cities across the country,” said Puttshack CFO Logan Powell.

Puttshack describes itself as the world’s first and only premium technology-infused mini-golf experience.

There are currently only two locations in the US (Atlanta and Oak Brook, outside of Chicago) and four in the UK. But now the company plans to open the Boston location as well as a location in Miami before the end of the year.

Puttshack locations are scheduled to open in Dallas, Denver, Houston, Nashville, Philly, Pittsburgh and Scottsdale in 2023. The company also plans to open a second location in Atlanta.

“Puttshack is tapping into new markets through its innovative approach to the beloved game of mini-golf, making it the undisputed leader in the social entertainment industry,” said William Im, Director of the Global Credit Opportunities team. by BlackRock.

Golf resurgence

Puttshack is building on the popularity of Topgolf, which has grown exponentially in recent years.

Topgolf opened 74 establishments, including 67 in the United States, at the beginning of 2022.

The past two years have been a rocket ride for the company after Callaway Golf reached a deal to buy the rest of the business (it previously held a 14% stake).

The natural bond benefits both companies as many credit Topgolf with a renewed interest in the sport of golf.

“Our research tells us that the accessible, non-intimidating environments of Topgolf, and places like this, help cultivate interest in traditional play,” said NGF President and CEO Joseph F. Beditz, according to NBCSports.

The National Golf Foundation reported in May 2021 that golf participation increased 8% in 2020 to 36.9 million when combining players who play on course and off course (at places like Topgolf).

Off-course only golfers accounted for 12.1 million people, compared to 12.6 million for on-course only golfers. The rest of the golfers played the game both on and off the course.

“The demand in this space is compelling and we are excited to support Puttshack in its rapid expansion. There are positive prospects on the horizon with substantial growth for the business,” Im said.

Puttshack Pushes Expansion

Puttshack opened its first locations in London in 2018. By the time Promethean Investments led a $60 million funding round in 2021, the firm had opened three locations in its hometown.

“The investment round was oversubscribed, which speaks volumes about the strength of the concept and the team. Demand for social entertainment, especially as we emerge from the global pandemic, is extremely high, and Puttshack is expected to grow at a rapid rate,” said Michael Burt, managing partner of Promethean, at the time.

Between 40% and 50% of Puttshack’s revenue comes from its mini-golf games, a higher percentage than others in the “entertainment” industry, according to a 2020 profile in the trade journal Restaurant Business, the CEO Joe Vrankin pointing out that the margins are higher on the play side.

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