By Michael Hutton
Two years ago, I had dreams of starting up a crazy golf venue in Central London. I’d seen the continued stay of bowling alleys since I was a boy, and the somewhat surprising rise of new venues such as Ping and Bounce.
London entertainment was changing from the old days of tatty pubs and clubs, to more elaborate venues. With shorter attention spans, its population was seeking greater entertainment.
Being one with said short attention span, I knew London was missing something. There was a gap in the market. There were no indoor mini/crazy golf venues in all of London. There were a select few outdoor ones but they were mostly underwhelming and only really focused on fun for the family.
My idea was different. Indoor mini golf for adults.
Alcohol. Food. Private rooms for client meetings. The works.
It was going to be the place to be. The perfect blend of entertainment and booze.
It was going to make me famous.
I registered “Putt London” with Companies House. I bought the domain name puttlondon.com. I discussed with friends in Real Estate about potential locations for a Central London venue.
It needed space. Lots of it.
Disused carparks. Underground vaults. Tunnels. You name it.
This idea, although I know not unique, came to me during a crossroads in my life. I didn’t particularly enjoy my job. I was coasting. I wanted something more. Something fulfilling. Something different.
I’ve always wanted to leave behind a legacy. Something. Anything. Small. Large. Whatever.
I just wanted something to remind people of my existence.
Call it vanity. Of wanting fame. Call it insecurity. Of not wanting to feel insignificant. Call it what you will.
During this crossroads, SCA also presented itself. It was a choice of risking it all and starting up Putt London, or taking the slightly safer route of SCA. Either way, quitting work and reconfiguring my life for a period, was going to be a significant change.
It came as no surprise that whilst reading the Evening Standard on the train yesterday evening (Monday 23rd May 2016), I noticed an article about a new indoor mini golf venue called Swingers. When I was doing my research, I heard whisperings of these guys opening up a venue.
That was partly what put me off the idea. I already knew I had competition with a company more established on the London entertainment scene than I.
So I chose SCA.
Anyway, back to reading the article on the train.
I thought to myself, “that could’ve been me”. I could’ve been the next big thing on the London entertainment scene that all the passengers around me were interested in. That thing the Evening Standard journalist was creaming over. Saying how “mini golf was the next big thing in London.”
I imagined everyone on the train turning to look at me. To catch a glimpse of the hottest new entertainment entrepreneur. They would all give me a congratulatory nod. Maybe even a high-five.
But it’s not.
Perhaps I’m destined for a different kind of fame. Something with a longer legacy. One befitting a man determined to leave behind something greater than what came before him.
Something with greater meaning than 18 holes of green felt destined to be covered in overpriced Gin and Premium Italian lager.
Or maybe I’m destined for a life of insignificance.
I guess time will tell.