Every November we head to Chicago to attend the annual Chicago Toy & Game Fair held at Navy Pier. We meet up with some favorite game companies like Endless Games, Spin Master, Looney Labs and more. We also love discovering new companies and products that are either just about to hit the retails shelves or are late in their planning stages. Oh, and of course we grab some famous Chicago-style deep dish pizza while we’re in town!
2013 was the first year our girls wanted to participate in the process and helped out by filming a number of on-site interviews. One of them was with Noochie Golf, a new company with a very unique product.
Like I did, the people at Noochie Golf grew up in an age of miniature golf courses. At one time you could find many of them in every city – think of how over-saturated the yogurt store market is today, that’s how many courses there were around. I personally remember long wait times to get on a course back in the 70’s. Sometimes as long as 2 hours!
There is only one course that I’m aware of in our area, and it is rather plain. No windmills, volcanoes or water hazards – just a plan course that I have to pay $8/round for. With four of us in the family, that’s over $35 with tax every time we want to play one round. Noochie Golf saw that problem and came up with this solution – a portable mini golf course you can set up in your own yard, driveway or even inside the house!
This is much more than a hole in your yard and a couple golf balls. This is a high-quality configurable plastic course, allowing for over 25 different layouts in one box. Combine it with a second set and your possibilities are almost endless! (Well, maybe not endless – I’ll let someone else do the math.)
Connecting the four included panels is a snap – literally. Much like assembling a train track, the plastic tiles lock into place creating a very well done and almost seamless transition to the next panel.
Each panel is covered with artificial turf perfectly mimicking the surface you would play on at your local miniature golf course.
One of the included panels also has a couple hazards to avoid. No, they’re not as neat as a rotating windmill, but also a LOT safer for the age group this is targeted towards (3-8).
What we thought would be a drawback to the set – the need to take apart and reassemble it for different holes, actually turned out to be a bonus for the kids playing. They had a ton of fun just creating different layouts and challenging themselves with harder and harder holes.
The Noochie Golf starter set includes everything you need to get up and running, including two regulation-sized golf balls, a kid-sized putter, four panels and instructions with suggested layouts. Additional individual panels and replacement balls and putters can be picked up in their online store. It would be nice to see a 3-panel discount if you’re adding to your set (or even a deluxe package with more panels). Maybe that will be in their next round.
Our kids may not ever get to experience miniature golf like we all once did, but thanks to Noochie Golf, the game isn’t completely out of reach. For under $100 you get the entire setup. You’ll just have to make your own water hazards.