CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A pop-up putt-putt course is once again returning to the sidewalks in front of businesses in downtown Charleston for nearly its 7th year this summer.
The Charleston Area Alliance is again the host of Downtown Open, a 29-hole temporary putt-putt golf course sponsored by various area businesses and organizations.
“It is so much fun to watch families out there together, it’s also fun to watch the later night crowd as they’re waiting on their restaurant reservations just pick up a putter and a ball and go around and play the putt-putt course,” Community Development Vice President of Charleston Area Alliance, Susie Salisbury said on 580 Live Wednesday.
The nearly a month long event is free to the public to participate, and they are free to play as many holes as they want and in any order.
Participants can pick up and return putters and balls to Taylor Books, Adelphia Sports Bar and Grille, Art Emporium, and Tony the Tailor.
Salisbury said the participating businesses and organizations will have customized putt-putt holes set up in front of their locations for people to walk up and play.
“We build the blanks and they’re basically just blank, and the organizations and businesses will come pick it up and they decorate it however they want, they do all of the finishing touches to it, and some of the holes are just amazing,” she said.
Salisbury said a partnership the alliance has with Benjamin Franklin Career and Technical School also gives students the opportunity to help build the base of the putt-putt holes.
She said the inspiration for the event was to showcase the city in a fun, unique way and provide free entertainment for people.
“This I had learned about at a conference I had attended in Alabama, so I reached out to them thinking, you know what, we have some pretty wide sidewalks in downtown Charleston and I think this would be really fun, so I brought it back to a little committee and they said ‘yes, lets do it, lets do it,” Salisbury said.
The alliance provides three awards to the participating businesses and their decorated putt-putt holes including, Best Overall, Best Representation of a Business or Organization, and Most Fun to Play.
Salisbury said the response from the community throughout the six to seven years they’ve been holding the open has been great, leading them to expand the course.
“I mean, we have 29 holes, and a regular course is only 18 holes, but we kept getting people saying, ‘oh we really want to do it, we really want to do it,’ so we keep adding and adding and adding,” Salisbury said.
However, she said a 30-hole course will probably be the limit.
West Virginia American Water is the score card sponsor for the event this year, and Mountain Care Network is the golf ball sponsor.
The Downtown Open tees-off Thursday starting at noon and will go through June 21.
Interested players can check the official course map at Charleston Area Alliance on their website.