In a hulking old building in the International District there lurks – but only for a short time – a miniature golf experience like you’ve never had before. It’s called Smash Putt and it’s as loud and as wacky as you might imagine with a name like that.
The aforementioned old building is a former INS detention facility, and in its unrenovated state it’s the perfect backdrop for an activity like this. Institutional lighting dimmed down in some spots, flashing lights in other spots, and a cacophony of noise that seems to ricochet through the various rooms. One such noisy hole has big cut-outs that pop up and random and slam back down, misdirecting your ball when you least expect it. The loudest one of all involves shooting golf balls out through some sort of gun-like affair aiming for terrifically percussive objects like sheets of metals dangling inside the protective cage.
And some of the holes are kooky rather than loud, like this “living room” hole where you putt through deep green shag, around a table, and through the legs of a chair. Needless to say, it’s a very slow roll.
Or the “foosball” hole – my favorite of the night – with foos men moving back and forth that may or may not catch your ball and spit it out a side hole, giving you a score of something other than 1. And perhaps my proudest moment, applying some of the geometry lessons learned at the pool table to the angle-heavy “K” hole.
There is most assuredly a bar at Smash Putt so it’s a 21+ activity, but if you’re of an appropriate age I highly recommend checking it out before the building transitions into its next life as artists’ studios. But do it soon – only four weekends left to experience the fun.