Puttery Pittsburgh: Not your normal mini-golf

Courtesy of Puttery Pittsburgh | The Garage course is exclusive to Drive Shack Inc.'s Pittsburgh location, inspired by the history of the city's steel industry.

Emily Fritz | A&E Editor

March 16, 2023

As of Feb. 17, the Strip is now home to Drive Shack Inc.’s newest location, boasting an ambiance that pulls together 1920’s Gatsby grandeur and maximalism with the bold and creative styles of the Harlem Renaissance. The two-story venue hosts three indoor miniature golf courses, two bar areas and a plethora of speakeasy lounge seating.

“As a city also rich with innovation, cultural attractions and diverse culinary cuisine, the Puttery experience is a natural complement to the vibrant Strip District neighborhood,” Drive Shack president Hana Khouri said in a news release.

Unlike your typical course with windmills and haphazard set pieces meant to entertain families, Drive Shack Inc. has skillfully crafted immersive experiences that vary in difficulty.

The Lodge course resembles a snowy ski lodge, complete with polar bears, winter sportswear and pine detailing. A virtual scorecard follows you from hole to hole and caps your putting attempts at six strokes and course servers swing by to deliver mixed drinks and mocktails inspired by your golfing adventure. This cozy course is the easiest of the three, but can still throw a competitive player through a loop.

The intermediate course, the Garage, pays homage to the Steel City with metalworks inspiration: a vintage garage. Speed bumps, exposed brick and mint-condition cars make guests feel as though they have stepped into a decade past.

The hardest of the three courses is the Library. Adorned with pieces of golf history, planetarium decor and a multitude of books and trinkets, this course has the strongest course cocktails to match the difficulty of the green.

Unlike your typical ninth hole, the final challenge of each course is to solve the puzzling trick shot. There are three holes and the golfer must decide which to try in order to return their ball. For some, it’s a guessing game, for others, it’s a matter of skill.

Virtual leaderboards rank the top golfers of the day, in lowest overall score and most “aces” or hole-in-ones.
“What we’re looking to do is basically provide an environment that is a little more modern, more inviting, more casual but still have that upscale flare to it. So, what we’re really looking for is to provide something that will give people a different experience that is more immersive and more of that social, mix-and-mingle vibe,” said event manager Chariel Rodriguez.

“It’s taking that social, competitive environment and something as casual as golf and really elevating it to the next level…more fun, more social, more competitive.”

The menu at Puttery Pittsburgh is uniquely elevated, featuring diverse and complex appetizers, creative cocktails and salads and pizzas for those with larger appetites. The usual bar food was replaced with a charcuterie board, lamb sliders, tuna tostadas and sous vide pork belly.

Although the venue is off-limits to any person under 21, non-alcoholic creations are available for the sober crowd.

The smaller details and artwork bring out the best features and elevate the Puttery experience even further.

The art historian of any group will appreciate the impressionist features, the Gustav Klimt’s hanging on the gallery walls, and the occasional hard-to-catch parody painting.

“It’s really creating a feast for the eyes…we wanted to create an environment with beautiful lighting, beautiful light fixtures, textured wallpapers, patterned floors,” Rodriguez said. “[There’s] really just always something to look at, details you’re going to catch that will [feel] new every time.”

Puttery Pittsburgh is a busy weekend spot, making the details easy to get lost in while waiting for your tee-time. While walk-ins are welcome, reservations are highly recommended.

Each reservation slot is 90 minutes long and includes admission to one of the three courses.

Upon arrival, golfers choose a group tee-off and are able to enjoy food and drink while they wait, or relax and take in each of the nuances that sets Puttery to a new standard of immersive experience.

As the newest addition to the area, Puttery does not have any special events planned while they continue to grow and adapt to the city, but Rodriguez is looking forward to becoming involved with local events and festivals in addition to celebrating graduation with students.

“We want to make sure that everyone knows that we’re very much excited to help people plan their graduation parties here.”