A lot has stayed the same in the 102 years mini golf has been around. That is until Puttshack exploded onto the scene a few years ago. Puttshack delivers the same rush of excitement we’ve always craved from a hole-in-one, but their seamless integration of technology has brought new life to the game. A notable level of new life!
Walking through the doors at Puttshack, nestled in the Oakbrook Center Mall just west of Chicago, you quickly realize that this isn’t your typical sports bar. Guests are met with vibrant wall art, elaborate mini golf courses, savory aromas emanating from the kitchen, and enough lighting to make a gameshow set designer jealous.
“Most of our guests are coming in for our mini golf,” says Nick the Hospitality Manager, “but we offer much more than that.”
Nick believes Puttshack’s success can be found in the company’s dedication to its menu: “Our food and beverage packages are incredible! We’re seeing guests venturing away from their usual beer and burger and exploring new flavors like our Wood-Fired Thai Octopus or Spiced Pineapple Mezcal Margarita. They’re looking for that elevated experience, and Puttshack provides that for them.”
Another piece to Puttshack’s success lies in its willingness to embrace technology. The company is a model for how other businesses should integrate customer-focused software. It’s seamless, effortless, and there to serve the customer’s experience, not get in the way of it.
A closer look at Puttshack’s mini golf Technology
The prize of Puttshack is the company’s reinvention of the beloved game of mini golf. Their secret sauce is the technology hidden within their golf balls, and they achieve some pretty far-out ideas.
“The way our golf balls interact with computers is quite unique,” says Nick. “It sets Puttshack apart from every other mini golf place in the country.”
Puttshack calls it “track-a-ball technology.” If you’ve ever visited a TopGolf location, you may have already enjoyed this mystical dimpled gadget. Each golf ball is embedded with a small RFID chip that transmits a unique signal to receivers around the mini golf course. These receivers pick up the signal from the ball and send the information back to a computer, which calculates the distance and accuracy of the shot and displays it on digital scoreboards around the golf course.
The RFID technology allows Puttshack to offer a variety of interactive games and challenges for players, as well as provide accurate scoring and shot tracking.
You don’t need to understand the tech to enjoy it fully. All one needs to know is that it is super cool, it makes playing putt-putt golf with friends much more fun, and it blows your mind the first time you witness your score pop up on the digital scoreboard.
The role technology plays behind Puttshack’s coatroom.
Puttshack has also embraced hospitality technology in other areas of its business. The Chicago and Boston coat check rooms are another great example of this.
Chexology is a tech company headquartered out of New York with unique software. Their iOS app replaces the outdated paper ticket system and brings it into the modern era.
Customers can now use their cell number as their claim ticket. They receive a friendly text message with information about their belongings and reminders if they happen to leave without them.
What was Puttshack’s coatroom like before Chexology, Nick?
“Our coatroom is as big as most people’s apartments. Needless to say, we manage a large number of personal items. We used to need three or four coat checkers to keep up with our old paper system.”
“Now, with Chexology’s system, we only need one or two to keep up with our rushes. It’s very efficient from a staffing standpoint. This technology has played a big part in our coatroom's success!”
What’s a Chexology story that sticks out in your mind, Nick?
“One night, we had around 70 people coming from the nearby Marriott. They all brought their luggage. It was one of the first high-volume situations where we needed this technology. And it was beautiful! We rushed everyone through in record time.”
“Their reaction was so funny! Every single one of them said, ‘Wow! That’s it? Are we good? Ok, awesome!’ So right there, not even two steps into our business, their happiness is through the roof. We’re providing an elevated experience on something as small as checking their luggage and blowing them away. That’s the type of experience we like to offer at Puttshack.”
Would you share one horror story of using your old paper ticket coatroom system?
Nick thinks for a moment and chuckles.
“I can’t point to one because it was just one big horrible story! Honestly! There were so many variables with a coatroom of that size. It was hard on our staff to even keep up most nights. We had issues from sloppy, illegible handwriting on tickets to being slammed and putting the wrong tag on a hanger by accident. It didn’t provide that elevated experience that Puttshack is known for.”
“It is a whole new ballgame! It made everyone’s life easier."
“That’s why we switched to Chexology; it was a quick, ‘Tap. Phone number. Swipe.’ It is a whole new ballgame! It made everyone’s life easier. The stress of operating our cloakroom last year without Chexology, compared to this year, was night and day!”
Did you mention needing to write stuff on the coatroom ticket? Why did you need to do that?
“Yes! We wrote their name and phone number on the ticket so that if someone left their coat behind, we could call them. We added their initials as a form of security so that when someone came back, we could ask them to confirm their initials. These extra steps clogged up the process, but we felt it was necessary to ensure that we would get the right coat back to the right person.”
“Another step I know a lot of paper coatroom operators do is to ask people to take a photo of their tickets to help combat all the tickets people lose. We adopted that concept too.”
“Well, because everyone had taken a photo of their paper ticket, they felt they did not need it, so they started throwing them all on the floor. So now we have another dilemma on our hands because we have to keep an eye out for people who might pick up one of the paper tickets and try to use it to claim someone’s coat. The answer to all of this was, of course, Chexology. And we love it. It just works.”
Experience Puttshack in Chicago for yourself!
Puttshack's incorporation of technology has dramatically improved the customer experience and made the company stand out from traditional mini-golf venues. From the interactive and accurate scoring on the golf course to the efficient and convenient coat check system, Puttshack has demonstrated the benefits of using technology to enhance the customer experience. With its continued dedication to innovation and improvement, Puttshack will remain a top destination for mini golf enthusiasts in Chicago and beyond.
So grab your friends, put on your game face, and head to Puttshack for a night to remember. Oh! And don’t forget to say “Hi!” to our friend Nick for us.