June 27th, 2010

Smash Putt!

| | $ |


The industrial artists of The Department of Culture re-apply and reinvent their practiced predilection for mechanized mayhem to the humble sport of miniature golf. Forget everything you would normally expect from this national past time and be prepared for innovative chaos teetering on pure bedlam. Smash Putt, originally opened in Seattle, has since moved on to Portland, and soon Denver, CO.


Smash Putt was conceived when Department of Culture’s Jeremy Franklin-Ross was traveling across the country and stopped to play a little mini-golf to sooth his aching brain. He saw how many people — and types of people — were enjoying the game, and also saw how much better the game could be made, and so he signed up The Department of Culture to “fix” mini-golf. Six weeks later after many many hours of work by himself and his cohorts, Smash Putt opened. Besides the artistic vision — we’ll get to that in a moment — the technical know-how and whiz kid prowess necessary to make this vision come true is astounding, just one example being the home-built electronic sensing and control systems that work with the saw, drill, ferris wheel, foosball and other mechanisms, all built and assembled by individual artists.


One hole allows interference with a foot-controlled Weed Whacker to mess with your opponent’s ball. The indoor, nine-hole course features a full bar (with special family hours on Saturdays), since mini-golf “is really meant to be a drinking sport,” says Franklin-Ross. “There are drink holders at every hole.” While braving other hazards including compressed-air blowers, disappearing holes, a Parisian-style traffic circle, and a Ferris wheel, foursomes can compete to win a free drink. (Yes, you get little pencils and scorecards.) And naturally the final hole will pit putters against “several brutal power tools each prepared to take a chunk out of your ball.” Spiked golf shoes are not recommended, but plaid knickers and golf caps are strongly encouraged. Keep an eye out for Smash Putt in your town!


To witness the sort of stunts our friends at The Department of Culture are capable of, check out the video below: