Putt Around Downtown turns Kent into a miniature golf course


Matthew Brown

Children and parents participate in the annual Putt Around Kent on May 6, 2023. Businesses across downtown Kent like Hippie Fox Rocks set up mini-golf holes for golfers to try their hand at.

Grace Springer, Editor-in-Chief

Main Street Kent hosted their annual “Putt Around Downtown” event Saturday, drawing visitors from near and far to local businesses.

The event had 25 participating businesses that set up themed miniature-golf courses on sidewalks, inside businesses or in public parks. Golfers began at Bar Lucci, where they paid $15 to participate. The entry fee included one drink ticket, valid at Bar Lucci.

Lesley Sickle, marketing coordinator at nonprofit Main Street Kent, said the event helps to bring people out in the community.

“It’s a great way to get people into businesses that maybe they’ve never been in before and then they can come back,” she said.

Sickle said they had around 200 participants. The top prize for golfers who completed all 25 holes was entry into a raffle to win a $150 Kent gift card.

Cuyahoga Falls resident and Kent State alumni Dan Ott golfs with his son during the annual Putt Around Kent event in downtown Kent on May 6, 2023. (Matthew Brown)

Kent alumni and resident of Cuyahoga Falls Dan Ott brought his son to the Putt Around event. They were playing the Hometown Bank hole, which featured gold bars as obstacles.

“[It’s a] good way to get the little guy out of the house,” he said.

Executive Assistant at Hometown Bank Erin Twitchell said that the Putt Around event drew a lot of people downtown. She said, in addition to golf, all of the participating businesses had a Designated Outdoor Refreshments Area (DORA).

“With DORA, it really pulls people into the community, gets some movement around downtown,” Twitchell said. “Especially some of the newer locations that have opened up recently, it allows them to explore the area and get to know the local business owners.”

Golfer Jack Howe came from out of town to enjoy the day with his son’s family.

“It’s very fun,” he said. “It’s great to see the energy in this area.”

Howe said he would like to introduce an event like this in his own community.

Putt Around Kent participant Adam Urban challenges the mini-golf hole setup in the Dan Smith Community Park on May 6, 2023. (Matthew Brown)

Golfers Adam Urban and Cortney Fargo were playing a hole at the Dan Smith Community Park next to Barflyy. They said it was their thirteenth hole and there was no clear winner yet.

“I think this is really cool because it’s family-friendly,” Fargo said. “I’ve seen folks with dogs and kids and it’s just a beautiful day.”

Gabrielle Ryczek, who said she’s a friend of the owners of Hippie Fox Rocks and Tiger Rae boutique, was a volunteer helping out at the Hippie Fox Rocks hole. If a golfer made it through the rock mouth on their first swing at the hole, they received a free $5 gift card to Hippie Fox Rocks.

“A lot of people have actually been making it,” Ryczek said. “I thought it would be harder but it’s clearly not.”

She said she thought the event was good for participating Kent businesses.

“I’ve seen a lot of people stop in [the store] and take their time and then move on to the next hole,” Ryczek said.

Grace Springer is Editor-in-Chief. Contact her at [email protected].