A business started by friends from Redcar is bringing jobs and entertainment to Middlesbrough town centre.
They have have just opened Putter Chaos – an indoor 18-hole adventure golf course in the Dundas Centre – and employed five part-time staff.
In 2018 they launched their escape room attraction Project Escape, also based in the Dundas Centre, which – despite the pandemic – has gone from strength to strength. It now employs 15 staff and in August a second Project Escape opened in Northumberland.
Managing and Operations Director Graham Huntley said they saw how popular indoor golf was becoming through companies such as Ghetto Golf and Junkyard Golf and decided to bring one to Middlesbrough.
“We just want to give something back to the town. We’re trying to make the town centre an exciting environment where people can go to have fun. We’re doing this to create jobs and provide enjoyment for people and something that we’re proud of as well,” said Graham.
At Putter Chaos golfers travel through six different zones and use their skills to tackle obstacles and surprises. It is suitable for people of all ages.
The course takes up 9,000 sq ft above the former B&M shop and to help create an inner-city feel it also features work created by local artists.Richard Wilson and Graham Huntley at Putter Chaos
Nick Rodgers, the Director of Creativity, Marketing and Experience, said plans are already underway to add further attractions – outdoor games which can be played indoors all year round – and more jobs. In the shorter term there will be a bar and, he said, Putter Chaos will be an ideal venue for a night out or a place to celebrate special occasion.
Richard Wilson, the senior associate with Dodds Brown which manages the Dundas Centre on behalf of its owner, said the support given to Project Escape had helped it develop and grow: “As well as being a home to Middlesbrough’s independent traders, the Dundas Centre and Indoor Market has an impressive track record in nurturing new businesses – both retail and leisure.”
Project Escape and now Putter Chaos were prime examples of how town centres need to evolve to survive.
“For many people just visiting the shops isn’t a sufficient reason to make the effort when they might be able to buy what they want online,” he said.
“They need restaurants and bars, cinemas and theatres, and increasingly this new wave of indoor attractions. Project Escape has been incredibly successful and I’m extremely confident that Putter Chaos will also be a hit.”
Mr Wilson added: “There is further space available for other leisure businesses and we are very interested in speaking to people like Graham and his team who have the imagination and motivation to create something different and exciting in the town centre which will encourage more people to visit.”