Ellen McAlpine/CNN
CNN —  

Mini-golf has been a staple game of the summer for decades, and we wish we could play it all year long. But Putterball is the perfect putting game for indoor and outdoor fun for all ages. The game set, on sale for $159.99 using the $10 off coupon PUTTER10 from the CNN Store, is a mini-golf-style game played on a 12-foot putting green, with rules comparable to beer pong — though let’s make it clear, there’s no drinking involved.

We’ve been playing Putterball for about a week now and we’re not tired of it one bit. It’s a perfect game for roommates looking to spice up their afternoon or families looking for a new activity, and with the holiday season on the horizon, it would make a perfect gift.

The price, we’ll admit, is somewhat steep. Almost $160 for a backyard game is high. But if you’re willing to splurge, Putterball is definitely worth the investment. Even though it’s advertised as an outdoor game, we brought ours indoors, and it did well on hardwood floors too. Since the game is quiet (other than the occasional cheer of success or groan of defeat), we’d say it works just as well indoors as it does outdoors.

Now let’s dive into why we’re such fans of Putterball.

The setup

Everything you need for Putterball comes in one box. It’s extremely convenient. You get the green, two putters and two golf balls. The putters are a standard mini-golf length of 31 inches. If you’re on the taller side, that will probably feel a little short, which was the only downside. But since the turf is lifted, the height differential ends up being decreased by about 3 inches.

When you unfold the putting green, it’s 12 feet long and 2 feet wide. You’ll want to lay it on a flat surface, like a deck or patio. If you’re playing inside, it works well on hardwood flooring too. The size is perfect for both indoor and outdoor setup. It’s also a relatively quiet game, so if someone in the house is on a Zoom call, you won’t bother them while playing. We really like that it can be played outdoors and indoors, because it makes it an every-season game, which helps to justify the high price tag.

If you can’t find the holes on your putting green, it’s because they’ve been cleverly covered up. Simply lift up the ends of the putting green and pop out the hole covers. You’ll want to keep these discs handy, since they become important when you start playing.

There was nothing in the instructions about whether or not the game is waterproof. It’s made of Astroturf and high-density foam, so it should recover if it were to get rained on. To be safe, we made sure we folded and stored our game when we were done using it outside.

Since it folds up into about 2 by 3 feet, it fits right back in the box. The compact storage and ease of setup make it a great option for backyard and indoor fun, even if you’re working with limited storage space.

We loved how easy the game was to set up, and eventually break down. It took less than five minutes and we were ready to go. The hardest part of setup before the game began was deciding which rules from beer pong we were going to play by, but that part is all in good fun.

So the turf is laid out, the discs are removed, the rules have been decided upon and we’ve got putters in hand ready to go. Now let’s get this game started.

The gameplay

The rules of the game are simple and mirror the basic rules of beer pong. The goal: Hit the golf ball into all 12 holes before the other team does. Once a ball lands in a hole, you take the ball out and cover the hole with one of the putting green discs you took out earlier (the way you’d take a cup off the table in beer pong).

That’s as simple as Putterball’s rules can get. The beauty of these simple instructions is that you can add your favorite beer pong rules as you choose. If the game is a tie, Putterball suggests the back three holes be uncovered and those be used as the tiebreaker. Those seemed to be the hardest shots to make, so we understand why that would be the tiebreaker. Your game comes with two golf clubs and two golf balls for a one-on-one game, but you can easily make it a team competition if you’re willing to roll back the ball and swap putters.

Putterball was an absolute blast. It was family fun for all ages, down to its core. The game is simple to pick up, so younger kids can understand the rules, and it’s not strenuous, meaning older family members can also enjoy themselves. Every game we played took twists and turns and ended in surprising victory or defeat. Each game lasted between 20 and 30 minutes, which felt like a good amount of time. Games never felt rushed, and it’s the kind of game you can play multiple times without getting bored.

Ellen McAlpine/CNN

When you first lay out your game, you’ll notice the folds in the turf. We were worried these would affect our game, but in the end they had very little impact on where our shots went or landed. Popping the discs in and out of their designated spots was also a really simple task that didn’t take away from the fun of the game. We loved that you’re able to customize the rules of the game, because it made the experience different each time we played.

The fun we had playing Putterball made it worth the price. Knowing we’ll be able to set it up indoors once the temperature drops gives us something to look forward to as well. We really like that it’s a game for all ages so that everyone is included. Games never lasted so long that we got bored, but they were never so quick that it felt over before it began. It’s easy to play one-on-one or make a team game. Playing Putterball was an awesome experience and one we’d definitely recommend.

Final thoughts

While the price is steep at $159.99 — and that’s a sale price combined with a $10 coupon, PUTTER10 — we think Putterball is worth it. It’s a game that can be played by people of all ages, both indoors and outdoors. Being able to play year-round helps to justify the price tag and makes it a good fit while we’re still socially distanced and heading into the colder months. Plus, the setup and breakdown could not be easier. It takes almost no time at all to lay out and stores away easily. It’s a high-quality game that added loads of fun to our week. And, even though the game is pricey, now is the best time to buy with a sale price and coupon.