Golf simulator keeps it fresh at The Putnam House in Bethel
BETHEL — Dan Mottola has been in the restaurant business long enough to know keeping things fresh is essential for success.
To bring in more customers during the typically slow winter months, Mottola had a CCS Golf Simulator installed on the third floor at the Putnam House, the restaurant he has owned for 19 years on Depot Place in downtown Bethel.
“It’s funny because you have people walking through the bar and dining room with their golf clubs,” Mottola said. “I get a kick out of watching people in the bar wondering what’s going on. We’re always doing something different here.”
The golf simulator room is rented by the hour and customers may have food and drinks delivered. The Putnam House runs a golf league on Mondays and Tuesdays.
Dick Dingee, a Ridgefield resident and regular customer of the Putnam House, said the golf simulator is keeping him in shape for golf season. Dingee golfs in the league at the restaurant.
“In winter, you never get to swing the clubs. I usually don’t swing the clubs from November to April and then I’m sore after the first round in spring,” Dingee said. “This will help your game. It’s very accurate. It rewards good hits and if you screw it up, you screw it up.”
The simulator, using lasers and microphones, gives users information on their swings such as distance, direction, club speed, angle and spin. It offers users a choice of dozens of courses from around the world.
Mottola said a foursome could play nine holes in about two hours, or 18 holes in about four hours. The room rents for $35 per hour through the website www.putthutgolf.com.
“It was winter so we figured we’d get it. First we had to see if it would fit. It requires a 9-foot ceiling and a 16-foot wall. It fit perfectly,” Mottola said. “For now we’re rolling with it. We’ll see what happens in the summer. Everybody is really enjoying it now. The whole idea of being able to play golf in the winter is really cool.
“It’s a fun change,” he said. “It’s easy to be fresh and exciting when you’re new. It’s tough after 19 years.”
The bar offers the beer promotion “Golf Simulator Bucket Specials” for players.
A few other restaurants in Connecticut have golf simulators. Maggie McFly’s in Brookfield has had one since 2009.
Mottola is a Bethel native and used to own One Front Street. That bar was most recently The Spot, which closed last month.
Adding the golf simulator is not the only change for the Putnam House. Wilson Ginin has been named the new executive chef and menu changes are on the way.
“He’s very talented and has a lot of ideas,” Mottola said. “He has a great demeanor and that makes for a very good environment in the kitchen.”
The Putnam House is an 1852 Victorian with a storied history, but Mottola uses a variety of modern methods to keep customers aware of news about the restaurant. Its Facebook page has nearly 3,000 followers.
“We’re very active on Facebook. We always update with golf simulator news, menu specials, what beers are on tap,” Mottola said. “You have to be current.”