Former Topgolf CEO lines up high-tech mini golf in RiNo retail complex

High-tech miniature golf teed up in RiNo

Holes at Puttshack’s Atlanta location, one of two already open in the U.S. (Photos courtesy of Puttshack)

A fast-growing indoor miniature golf concept led by a former Topgolf CEO has leased space in a recently sold RiNo retail complex.

Puttshack, which bills itself as a “tech-fused mini golf experience with global food and drink,” said Tuesday that it plans to open next year in 24,500 square feet at Lot Twenty Eight at 2813 Blake St.

Joe Vrankin

Joe Vrankin

Puttshack is led by CEO Joe Vrankin, who held the top spot at Topgolf from 2007 to 2012. The company opened its first two U.S. locations in Atlanta and Chicago earlier this year and there are also three in London. Puttshack’s website lists nine additional U.S. locations, including the one in Denver, as coming soon.

Puttshack mini golf is a little different. The balls the company uses automatically track a user’s gameplay, according to Puttshack’s website, and the player with the highest score wins. Green lit-up tubes along the course called “supertubes” provide a way to get bonus points.

The company said it will install four courses within its space in RiNo. Puttshack’s Atlanta location charges $12 per player per game, which typically takes 30 minutes, according to the company’s website.

Puttshack locations also feature a restaurant and bar. The Atlanta menu features sandwiches around the $13 mark, and similarly priced cocktails.

The Lot Twenty Eight building in RiNo is made up of multiple connected structures originally used for manufacturing that were repurposed by Denver-based real estate firm Formativ. The firm completed the work in 2020, according to its website.

The only business currently operating in the approximately 45,000-square-foot project is gym chain AKT. A winery previously planned to take a large chunk of the project, but confirmed to BusinessDen earlier this year it had pulled out.

In November, Formativ — which paid $13.84 million for the property in April 2017 — sold it for $19.6 million to Lagniappe Capital Partners.

Lagniappe said Tuesday that it is a minority investor in Puttshack and that it wants to create a “dynamic entertainment hub” at Lot Twenty Eight.

Lot Twenty Eight

A proposed apartment building would replace the parking lot next to Lot Twenty Eight. (BusinessDen file)

The city has also received development plans bearing Lagniappe’s logo calling for a five-story apartment building to be constructed on the parking lot next to Lot Twenty Eight, which was also included in the November sale.

No-grass-required golf is in the midst of something of a boom in Denver.

First, there are the mini golf facilities like Puttshack and Urban Putt, which opened downtown in 2019. They generally aim to bring the pastime to an older audience, pairing the activity with an upscale menu. They’re largely indoor, although RiNo Country Club, a Handsome Boys Hospitality concept in the works at 3763 Wynkoop St., will put the putt-putt outside.

Then there are the golf simulator establishments, where players take swings in front of a virtual course.

One category of those, like Optimum Golf and South Broadway Country Club — which are expanding to a second and third location, respectively — caters to the more serious golfer looking to improve their game. The second category, like the new GC Golf Lounge in City Park West and the in-the-works The Local Drive along Brighton Boulevard, are more than willing to entertain the more casual player looking for a fun group activity with friends.

High-tech miniature golf teed up in RiNo

High-tech miniature golf teed up in RiNo

Holes at Puttshack’s Atlanta location, one of two already open in the U.S. (Photos courtesy of Puttshack)

Puttshack at Lot Twenty Eight will join a crowded field of no-grass-required golf establishments, which are booming in Denver.

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