Miniature golf is often associated with the suburbs, but Steve Fox is working to change that perception. Fox is the driving force behind Urban Putt, a new three-story mini golf course that's currently under construction in San Francisco's trendy Mission District. The project will include two bars, a restaurant, and an 18-hole putt-putt course with imaginative San Francisco-themed holes - and it's expected to open at the end of 2013. This week, Inhabitat took a behind-the-scenes tour of Urban Putt as part of AIA SF's Architecture and the City Festival - read on for a first look!
This past weekend Urban Putt opened its doors so that visitors could tour the building, which is a former mortuary that has been vacant for more than a decade. Fox and his team of designers and builders just started building out the space and constructing the holes in June, and several of the holes are now beginning to take shape.
Fox has 20 years of experience creating temporary mini golf courses (Inhabitat visited Fox’s UrbanPutt hole at Parking Day 2012 in Golden Gate Park), and he’s using that experience to create a mini golf course that appeals to all the senses. Fox says his goal is to create an “immersive” experience with sights, sounds and even smells.
Urban Putt will have a steampunk aesthetic with lots of gears and moving parts, and several of the holes will reference the age of exploration. In one of the holes the ball will launch from a ramp and bounce off a pair of conga drums before landing on a cymbal and tumbling down a xylophone, making music as it meanders through the course. On another hole, the UrbanPutt team is building a small submarine that golfers will putt through as they try to sink the ball in a hole guarded by an octopus.
The creative team behind Urban Putt includes lead designer Christopher Myers, project manager Anne Mayoral, and architect Matt Hollis. Myers is using a CNC cutter called a ShopBot to digitally fabricate many of the elements that will be used to build the holes. Unlike conventional mini golf courses, the holes will be constantly evolving, and the ShopBot will enable Urban Putt to create new holes and features on-site. And in one of the most exciting features, Fox says that two of the holes on the main course will be regularly rotated out, and local designers will be invited to design new ones.
The entire budget for the project is about $1.6 million, and Fox says that he has already raised about $1.2 million. The team hopes to open Urban Putt by the end of the year, or possible the beginning of 2014.
Photos by Mark Boyer for Inhabitat