“The one thing I can tell
you is we have been pretty popular
since we opened up, especially on Fridays,
Saturdays and Sundays. We’re pretty
jampacked in here. People have been
chomping at the bit to check us out,”
Lester, 25, of Levittown, Pa., said. “People, regardless of their golf skill
level, have come in and had a good time. The bigtime, more traditional
golfers have really enjoyed the change of pace and the different gaming
Topgolf visitors can take part in point-scoring golf games that use
microchipped balls to make for instant scoring. Its technology shows
players the accuracy and distance of their shots on a TV screen in their
respective hitting bay.
“The gaming aspect pulls people together and gives them a way to
have fun while they’re playing golf. That’s again different than going
out and playing a full 18 holes,” Lester said. “People absolutely love the
game of Topgolf, the atmosphere and environment when they come in
here. The music is going. They get shown the gaming system. They start
playing. They land in the targets and see how many points they get. It’s
a fun, social, competitive environment. We say we’re everyone’s game.
Whether you’ve never picked up a golf club before or are a scratch golfer,
you can come into Topgolf and have a good time.”
Topgolf visitors pay a one-time, $5 lifetime membership fee for admis-
sion. Rates vary from $30-50 per bay, depending on the time of day.
SIMULATOR GOLF FACILITIES such as Golf364 and Play-a-Round Golf
think like Topgolf when it comes to the sport’s social strength. The latter,
with locations in Ardmore, Pa. and Malvern, Pa., is all about “feedback,
fellowship in a close proximity and fun,” according to Steve Graves, Sr.,
Play-a-Round Golf’s CFO (that’s Chief Fun Officer). In addition to offering
more than 70 golf courses and 16 bays, Play-a-Round Golf will incorporate popular party games such as beer pong, cornhole, darts, mini-golf
and Skee-Ball into its programming.
“All will be played with a golf club and a golf ball. We’re really excited
about all of these,” Graves, 67, of West Chester, Pa., said.
Weekly leagues add to the backyard vibe. Golf364, with six simulators
and 35 courses available, draws a majority of millennials for spirited
battles on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday nights. Play-a-Round Golf’s
Friday night league, a BYOB affair, is a hot commodity.
“They were going to be at a bar anyway. Why not make golf a part
of the night?’” Graves said. “They tee off at 8 p.m. and it runs close to
midnight. It’s a hoot.”
Simulator golf and Topgolf toot as alternative golf experiences. Both
increase golfers’ engagement with the traditional game, according to
the aforementioned 2015 report. Thirty-nine percent play traditional golf
more often because of their participation in simulator golf; 30 percent
more because of Topgolf.
In addition to that impact – and a shared social premise, simulator golf
and Topgolf collectively weather winter woes. Those seeking shelter and
swings find it there.
“January, February and March are our best months,” Knapp, 55, of
Skippack, Pa., said. “We’ve been around for five years. People know
we are here. Golf364 continues to grow. We basically doubled sales in
November from last year, and we do better every month. It’s crazy.”
“We’re open year-round, rain or shine. In the dead of winter, people
want to have some sort of outdoor activity that they can enjoy,
but it’s 30 degrees outside. We’re an option for that,” Lester said.
“We’re a perfect option in a pseudo-outdoor setting. You’ll still be
warm and able to whack some golf balls around.”
Party on, golf. Party on. – T.R.
“Whether you’ve never
picked up a golf club before
or are a scratch golfer,
you can come into Topgolf
and have a good time.”
Topgolf in Mt. Laurel, N.J.