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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

In the Hole: Urban Putt to Open First Indoor Mini-Golf Course in San Francisco

Posted By on Tue, Jan 28, 2014 at 8:06 AM

Turning the San Francisco skyline into a mini-golf course. - JUAN DE ANDA/SF WEEKLY
  • Juan De Anda/SF Weekly
  • Turning the San Francisco skyline into a mini-golf course.

Steve Fox sure knows how to play a mean game of mini golf.

From getting the grip just right on the putter to navigating the obstacles in every hole, mini golf has truly taken over his mind and life. In fact, he and his wife are truly possessed by the sport.

Steve Fox holding an unfinished model of the mini-golf version of the Transamerica Pyramid. - JUAN DE ANDA/SF WEEKLY
  • Juan De Anda/SF Weekly
  • Steve Fox holding an unfinished model of the mini-golf version of the Transamerica Pyramid.

"I'm a big mini-golf man and starting in '93, my wife and I would host these mini-golf extravaganzas where people would design golf hole and we'd built them," Fox said. "They become more and more elaborate as time went on. We'd have tubes going through the walls from upstairs to downstairs. I almost destroyed the house many times. It was very much like Burning Man Put Put."

He even quit his job as a professional journalist after 35 years to pursue mini golf full time.

But instead of keeping it be a personal obsession, Fox is turning his passion into San Francisco's first indoor mini-golf course that has interactive kinetic sculptures depicting San Francisco landmarks, history, culture fused with Jules Verne/ Rube Goldberg steam punk. The mini-golf course will also feature an adjoining restaurant and bar area.

Urban Putt will be a 14-hole course. According to Fox, some of the holes feature the following scenarios: a Dia de Los Muertos altar, an "under sea" hole where the ball triggers a series of motion-sensitive LEDs as it rolls by, and a "marble-maze" style platform, mounted over servos that are controlled by a putter that acts as a joystick.

And after navigating the art-deco building's fantastical world recreating Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (there's a life-size submarine built inside) to the 1906 San Francisco earthquake (buildings shake and tumble), participants can also visit the upper-level bar and 72-seat restaurant.

But for the team behind this creative endeavor, Urban Putt is meant to be more than a simple commercial business: it's meant to be collaborative, interactive and memorable.

Every mini-golf course has to have a windmill. Right? - JUAN DE ANDA/SF WEEKLY
  • Juan De Anda/SF Weekly
  • Every mini-golf course has to have a windmill. Right?

"We are very much influenced by places like the Exploratorium and the idea is to not create just a miniature golf course, and a restaurant and bar but to create an experience, something that is consistent throughout as you play through it and however you interact with it, there's that point that truly invested," Fox said.

Urban Putt will be located in the heart of the Mission District, (22nd St. at South Van Ness) in a defunct mortuary that closed in 1999. The building was constructed in 1906, according to city documents, but Fox asserts that is could be from the early 1890s.

Admission prices for a session of mini golf are estimated to be $8 for children and $12 for adults, but that is subject to change.

Although scheduled for an early April debut, no need to feel antsy. Check SF Weekly for updates on the development of this project and in the mean time enjoy this teaser/preview video from their successful Kickstarter campaign:

For events in San Francisco this week and beyond, check out our calendar section. Follow us on Twitter at @ExhibitionistSF, Juan at @JuanPDeAnda, and like us on Facebook

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About The Author

Juan De Anda

Juan De Anda

Juan De Anda is a cultural correspondent with a concentration in tourism, literature, and lifestyle and has been writing for SF Weekly since 2013. As an avid traveler, he enjoys discovering destinations abroad as well as the never-ending hidden gems of San Francisco. #DondeAndaJuanDeAnda?


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