If you mini-golfed or hit in the batting cages at the All American Putt N Bat here in Lincoln City, then I have some bad news for you. Long time owner, Dick Davis and his wife LaRena Davis have sold the building to enjoy retirement and the Putt is no more. This may sadden some of you but you can take solace in the fact that the Putt will live on right here and in other articles.
An All American Story
The Putt Putt course winds through arches to the Oregon Room, and the US Room which has wall-sized original art, including the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and more.
Owner Dick Davis moved to Lincoln City when he was 3 years old and since then his life in Lincoln City has been centered around baseball. He was a four year Letterman at Taft High School and played on a team that went to the state tournament in the 50’s. His coach (Roy Harrington) was voted into the Oregon Baseball Hall of Fame in the late 80’s. Dick coached Little League for years – coaching both his son and grandson.
Dick had a logging business with his brother, but when his brother and business partner became ill, Dick’s logging business ended.
And so in 1966 (at age 59) when a lot of people are aligning their retirement funds, Dick sold the CAT used for logging, took out the mutual funds, mortgaged the house and started over.
Son Darin and daughter-in-law Stacy came into the business with their HeadQuarters4Sports and the best deals on baseball & softball gear.
One GM’s Take
I’m Justin Werner. I was the General Manager at Putt N Bat for some time and was in on the construction of the 18th hole that carried the ball up to the rafters via conveyor belt, rolled down a giant 30 foot tube, and shot the ball six feet across the open air, over people getting clubs and tokens at the front desk. If you made it in the target you won a free round of golf. People loved it and would cheer when some lucky person won. I let the little kids shoot two or three times and crossed my fingers hoping they would win and they usually did (No it was not rigged, we were lucky it even worked at all).
During my time at Putt N Bat I witnessed many family firsts such as the first hit of a baseball, first hole-in-one, first time anyone beat Dad. Putt N Bat was truly unique and made you feel at home. People would come back the next year and make it their family tradition to see who could get the best score at mini-golf or hit the most consecutive softballs. Some people would stop in to just say hi and sign the guest book because they said the place had an impact on them. I heard a few stories of how someone learned how to hit in Putt N Bat’s batting cages and went on to get a college scholarship.
Degree of Difficulty
Golfers made the comment that the course was “Very challenging” on more than one occasion. The course got progressively difficult and golfers would pride themselves on a par outing. Take a look at this video and you’ll get the idea.
We had some real pro golfers come in and they all shot over par and were laughing about the high school kids in front of them that had scored better. They said it was a difficult course to putt unless you knew the tricks.
Putt N Bat had History
Literally. All over the walls. There was an entire room dedicated to United States history that included pictures of all the US Presidents, flags of all 50 states, vital parts of the Constitution & Bill of Rights, and a wonderfully painted Statue of Liberty, Liberty Bell, and the White House. Kids would golf, look around, and learn something. I really enjoyed answering historical questions (thank you Google). I remember there was a kid that could recite all 50 states without looking up at the flags and he was only five.
20 balls in the cages was only $1.50. Best deal anywhere. And you could get an even better deal if you bought 10 tokens. You could test your major league skills on the 80 mph pitches or take your time and pummel the slow pitch softballs. Scores of people would come to Putt N Bat and have a great time in the cages.
In the summer the cages would be packed, but we kept it flowing smoothly by making sure the balls were not stuck, making sure everyone respected their turns, and running into the back to fix a part which happened more than you’d imagine. Looking back on those hectic times I feel pretty proud of how we all pulled it off. Special thanks to Dick Davis for always coming immediately in an emergency situation. Without him the cages would have exploded.
As the General Manager I took it upon myself to “test” the cages anytime there were no customers. I remember cranking up the speed on the fast pitch to the highest setting and making contact on 1 out of 20 balls and I can still remember how bad my hands hurt after fouling that one off. I’m going to miss that perk of the job.
Some Serious Mini-Golf Moments
The mini-golf was always the main draw. Everyone who’s anyone remembers CJ Olsen’s epic Putter Stand that he did on-demand in front of a crowd. In case you missed it here it is:
That was the thing about Putt N Bat. People felt comfortable there. Things like the Putter Stand happened all the time and we all just basked in the goodness and fun of it. Putt N Bat was really a fun place to just hang out. We had a large number of local regulars and repeat family golfers who would come to Lincoln City just for us.
One day a bus rolled up full of soccer players. They had found us because of our new website and wanted to golf. It got so busy so fast that I still to this day don’t even know what college they were from. It was a slow day and I was dusting the plants when all of a sudden there were 40+ people walking all over the golf course. They had so much fun that day! I remember Dick checking out the numbers and saying how cool it was that they found us. I must have sold half of our ice cream inventory that day.
I had the privilege to host a Little League team that had been in the Little League World Series. A team from Gresham, Oregon made it all the way to Williamsport, PA. They hit in the cages and played some serious mini-golf. They even signed a shirt for us to proudly display.
I’m going to miss the place. Dick and LaRena Davis were the best bosses anyone could hope for. They had wholesome All-American policies in place like veterans and their families play free and disabled people get whatever they need for whatever they want. That speaks volumes about what kind of people they are and how big of hearts they have. They donated frequently and made the community a better place.
“I wish I had a place to go to like this when I was a kid.”-Dick Davis