Culture | January 6, 2023 7:00 am

This Tiger Woods-Designed Putting Experience Is Now Open in Houston

Popstroke has 36 holes, a restaurant, four bars and an ice cream parlor

Exterior of Popstroke Sarasota
Popstroke Sarasota
Popstroke

Why open a bar or restaurant when you could open a celebrity-endorsed entertainment venue? While standard spots to eat and drink will never go away (probably), they’re increasingly integrating activities like golf, pickleball, ax-throwing and shuffleboard. The latest addition to this brave new world is Popstroke, a Tiger Woods-backed venture that opened in Katy, just outside of Houston, in mid-December.

This is Popstroke’s first Texas location and its fifth overall, with the other four in Florida. The two-story indoor/outdoor complex features two 18-hole putting courses, a full restaurant, four bars, an ice cream parlor and a variety of other ways to pass the time. Think TopGolf meets mini golf, with a variety of high-tech features thrown into the mix. 

The putting courses were created by Tiger Woods’ TGR Design using synthetic turf, with speeds that simulate putting on real greens. Rather than boring bumper-lined straightaways or cliché windmills, the holes feature undulations, fairways, bunkers and rough, similar to what you’d find on traditional golf courses. The two courses channel Tiger’s signature Sunday clothing colors — the Red Course is the more challenging of the two, with strong contouring and tricky hole locations, while the Black Course is a little easier and ideal for less experienced players.

Course at Popstroke Sarasota
Course at Popstroke Sarasota
Popstroke

“Most of our guests are not traditional golfers,” Popstroke founder Greg Bartoli tells InsideHook. “Traditional golf takes four to five hours and takes a lot of time to learn the game. But putting is the great equalizer — everyone can do it without being intimidated. You can hang for an hour or two and have a golf experience.”

There’s plenty to do off the course, too, including cornhole, foosball and ping pong, plus a playground for kids. You can also sit down at the restaurant, or post up at one of the four bars. The kitchen is making classics like nachos, wings, tacos, burgers, salads and flatbreads, with a couple dishes exclusive to the Houston location, like brisket egg rolls and baby back ribs. The bars are slinging local beers, wines and golf-themed cocktails — the Tee Off combines rye whiskey with fresh blackberries and lemonade, and the Country Club Cooler is gin, lemon juice and soda, garnished with cucumber and lemon. There’s also an ice cream parlor that’s serving milkshakes and scooping up 24 flavors of ice cream, from Bear Claw to Watermelon Sorbet. So, even if you can’t putt, you can still salvage the day.

PopStroke’s mobile app allows customers to order food and drinks to be delivered directly to them anywhere on the course, and they can also input their scores, which then appear on the facility’s giant leaderboard. The venue is also stocked with TVs and pipes music through the speakers, so you don’t have to worry about whispering in hushed tones while your companions are putting.

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Bartoli sees this evolution of food and drinks plus extracurricular fun as the natural evolution in casual dining. “Younger consumers don’t just want to go out and eat; they also want a fun experience while eating,” he says. “There will be a big shift over the next 20 years toward experiential dining.” He thinks Popstroke can help to lead that charge, especially as the company’s footprint grows across the country.

Additional Popstroke locations are scheduled to open next year in Glendale and Scottsdale, Arizona, as well as in Tampa and Delray Beach, Florida. But Popstroke is betting big on Texas. One DFW location is coming to The Colony at Grandscape in 2023, and they’re looking at expanding into Austin and San Antonio in 2024. Bartoli envisions that Texas could eventually be home to 10 or 15 total locations.