Custom Games: Ball Jockey

When Sam Largent, owner of  the Seattle based Flatstick Pub, approached us with a concept for another original game, we couldn’t wait to get started. We’ve been working with Sam for several years to create completely original entertainment experiences for his collection of tap houses across Washington and California. Every Flatstick Pub features a creatively challenging putt-putt course, as well as an assortment of golf-based original games invented by Sam, including Duffleboard, ‘Stick Putt, and Duffleboard Max. This time, Sam approached us with an idea for a head-to-head style, multi-player, table top game that combined elements of mini-golf and air hockey. Instead of a puck, players use paddles to bat around 2 golf balls on a turfed table and attempt to score goals by directing balls into their opponents goals.  This is Ball Jockey.

Flatstick Pub’s take on Airhockey, ‘Ball Jockey’ is played on turf with golf balls

Side view of the Ball Jockey table, showing LED lighting and the rounded center obstacle

We began the design process by gathering as much information as possible from Sam about the objective of game, ergonomic considerations, and how the design of the game would fit in with it’s physical environment within Flatstick Pub. Through several rounds of concept sketches and discussions about game-play, the overall shape of the game became more clear to us. We transitioned into CAD design in Solidworks, and used Keyshot to preview our design with different colors and finishes. We eventually chose a color-scheme of black and silver for the game, with the team colors of red & blue.

Ball Jockey features goals in each corner, abacus score keepers, a ball return, a center obstacle, and of course, cup holders.

Overhead view of a digital render of the Ball Jockey table

Creating digital renders of our design allows us to preview what the final product will look like in different environments and lighting conditions

Once we finalized the CAD designs of the game, we went into production. We cut and bent sheet metal components and welded them into the final form of the game.

Sheet metal freshly cut and bent into shape to become a Ball Jockey table leg.

Table assembly in progress, awaiting walls turf.

We finished things off with automotive quality paint and clear coat, buffing the surfaces to a nice consistent sheen.

A brand new Ball Jockey table, fresh from the paint booth, ready for delivery to Flatstick Pub

We added colored LED lights on both ends of the game to make the colors pop, as well as golf-ball abacus score keepers to keep with the golf theme of the game and to maintain the red and blue theme throughout the player experience.

All metal edges are coated in a soft-rubber to create a comfortable user experience.

Score for each team is kept using a golf-ball abacus.

LED lighting enhances the design features of the Ball Jockey table and illuminates the scoring areas

LED lighting on the blue side of the table shines through laser cut holes.

The main challenge with building a game like this from scratch is the sheer amount of unknowns. Will the ball fly out of the table and hit the other player? Will the balls go into the goals as intended, or do we have to make modifications? Are the dimensions comfortable for a wide assortment of body types? How will everything hold up over time and hundreds of uses?

We’ve learned a lot from building this game, maybe to much to list. Most of all we learned to trust our gut and intuition, as our assumptions proved correct on most questions we had going into production. Thousands of little details like these are what you overcome to do something brand new.

Head down to Flatstick Pub and try a game of Ball Jockey!


So far, Ball Jockey has been a huge success, quickly becoming one of the most popular games at Flatstick Pub. If you’re in the Seattle area, grab a friend and stop into one of Flatstick’s locations in South Lake Union or Pioneer Square for a round of Ball Jockey and let us know what you think of the game!
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