The first-ever luxury miniature golf and duck bowling alley will open this fall near downtown Jordan Creek.
Putts & Pins, which will also have a restaurant and bar, will occupy two new buildings at 6920 EP True Parkway just north of the mall.
There’s nothing like it in Iowa right now, said Mitchell Kahn, a realtor who opened the business with his brother.
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Kann said they wanted to create a place where people could be competitive but also socialize, and described Putts & Pins as “high-tech gamified mini-golf.” An electronic scoring system being developed with an Indiana company will track players’ strokes and other scoring elements, he said.
“You’ll still use a putter and a ball, but there won’t be notebooks and pencils,” Kahn said. “It’s all very technical. Every court has lights and a computer system in it that tracks where the ball is and where you’re moving.”
There will also be six lanes of duck bowling, a variation of the game played with smaller pins, shorter lanes and reduced-sized balls that lack finger holes. Popular on the East Coast and now spreading across the country, it requires no bowling shoes and gives players three throws per frame instead of two, making the game faster than traditional bowling.
“It allows for a very … faster-paced but fun environment,” Kahn said. “You can wear a casual dress, casual shoes.”
No ordinary mini golf course
In addition to automated scorekeeping, the 24-hole miniature golf course will feature interactive holes, with trivia questions that players must answer by hitting balls on the correct side of the hole, Kahn said. Speed will be a factor, with faster players earning better scores, he said.
“So the faster you get to the cup, the more points you get,” he said.
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One hole will emulate the classic Nintendo game Duck Hunt, he said. Another will feature a Plinko-style arrangement where users who hit the middle hole score better.
“Each one is unique, designed by our manufacturer specifically for it,” Kahn said.
The pair of 17,000-square-foot buildings that will house Putts & Pins are being built on what was a vacant outlying lot in the north part of Jordan Creek Town Center near the mall’s Scheels store. The bar and restaurant and six holes of mini golf will occupy the east building. The western one will have a smaller food and beverage service area, as well as 18 more holes of golf and bowling alleys, with a breezeway connecting the buildings, according to documents filed with the West Des Moines Board of Regulation.
On Wednesday, the board recommended approval of a conditional use permit, which must be approved by the City Council. Kann is developing the project with Ankeny-based design firm Keen Project Solutions and aims to open Putts & Pins in late August or early September.
The business’s core demographic will be millennials and can work until 2 a.m. on weekends, he said. But he knows miniature golf and bowling can also draw families, so Putts & Pins is considering having certain hours limited to people 21 and older, perhaps on weekends.
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Kahn hopes this Putts & Pins location will be the first of a chain he and his brother will start in mid-sized cities.
“My brother and I really focused on something that the state doesn’t have,” Kahn said. “With our high-tech gamified mini-golf, we think we have indirect competitors for this type of social space. We have no direct competitors in this space.”
Philip Jones is responsible for retail, real estate and RAGBRAI for the Des Moines Register. He can be reached at 515-284-8184, [email protected] or on Twitter @Philip_Joens.