The popularity of golf keeps increasing as the facilities and technology improve year after year. A relatively new concept that has found acceptance over the last two decades is Topgolf. The concept offers large multi-level driving bays that combine target practice while making the total experience fun and suitable for family outings.
Points are scored by lighting up the target area providing a colorful experience all-round. The growing number of Topgolf locations popping up and a growing number of people, golfers, and non-golfers, have bought into this experience and are learning how to play Topgolf.
Driving ranges offer a physical experience of hitting a shot and seeing the impact of any changes in the swing on the ball trajectory and stopping power. Although it offers targets to aim at for improving accuracy, often the golfer will either completely miss the target or hit it within a radius of the hole.
Golf simulators have increased in popularity as a virtual replacement for driving ranges especially during spells of inclement weather. These simulators offer several games that are aimed at improving the golfer’s skills either outdoors or indoors.
What is Top Golf
Topgolf is a driving range facility with a difference. It caters to golfers of all abilities and is a great way to get acquainted with the game while having fun. The golf balls are microchipped and when deposited by the electronic system, are assigned to a golfer.
The driving range consists of several targets spread out at various distances. These targets will remind a golfer of dartboards with a bullseye in the middle and various other scoring points around them. Points are scored according to the proximity of the ball to the bullseye. The farther the target is from the bay, the higher the point allocation.
But it is not just for golfers that want to practice in a fun environment. Many visitors have taken up golf after having their first encounter at a Topgolf location. Topgolf caters to more than golfers. They offer an all-around experience offering great food, music, and liquid refreshments that can be experienced by golfers and non-golfers alike.
Ensuring that the experience is not too hot to handle, the bays are all climate controlled.
Where it Started
Target Oriented Practice Golf was started in Watford, United Kingdom in the year 2000. The concept was born out of frustration due to the lack of clarity about which golfer hit the ball closest to the flag on the driving range.
The founders decided to use proprietary radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology in the golf balls for accuracy in tracking the shot.
This was not enough to answer the question though.
For clarity, they decided to create targets at various distances on the driving range. These dartboard-style targets could answer the question and show immediately on a screen, and with colorful lights, which golfers got the closest to the bullseye.
The concept caught the eye of some of the major brands and in 2006 Callaway Golf Company decided to invest in Topgolf.
As mentioned earlier, there are several targets placed at various distances. Hitting any of the targets enables the golfer to accumulate points throughout the session.
There are generally 7 scoring zones offering different points depending on the distance to the target. The Red zone is the closest at 25 yards, followed by the Yellow zone at 50 yards, the Green zone at 90 yards, Brown at 125 yards, Blue at 150 yards, White at 185 yards, and Range Net or trench at 215 yards.
How Topgolf Works
Although Topgolf offers an amazing family outing, the COVID pandemic limits the maximum size of a group to 6 people.
Strict COVID rules are followed to minimize the impact on patrons. To minimize the effect on visitors, Topgolf has set up a virtual waitlist system enabling visitors to arrive on time and minimize the interaction with other patrons.
In order to offer everyone a fair opportunity to make use of the Topgolf facilities, there is currently a limit of two games per person during peak periods.
There are a limited number of Fast Track slots and VIP signature Bays available that can be pre-booked at least 24 hours before your visit. Registration for membership or topping up your existing card can be done once a bay has been assigned.
This allocates the funds available to game credits. Once registered and ready to play Topgolf, there is a multitude of games available to keep visitors entertained for hours. These games utilize micro-chipped golf balls. Some selected locations offer Toptracer technology enabling the visitor to see the ball trajectory on a nearby screen.
Topgolf is an entry-level game aimed at beginners allowing the ball to score irrespective of the target that it lands in. The length of the shots and the proximity to the bullseye increases the points scored.
Angry Birds at Topgolf
Angry Birds is only available at locations that have access to Toptracer technology. Golf balls used are marked with characters from the Angry Birds game. The game is aimed at beginners. The game aims to score points and stars by smashing down structures and defeating pigs.
Quick 9 Novice
This game is aimed at beginners wanting to improve their speed of play and accuracy without sacrificing the fun aspect. Golfers are allowed three shots at the Red, Yellow, and Green targets. The proximity to the bullseye determines the number of points scored and double points are awarded on the last ball of each target.
The game is available in a junior version available with a Topgolf Jr. Membership.
Longer shots score more points. Beginners that can make decent contact can increase the score by taking aim at the targets farthest away and hitting the target.
Rookie golfers that have some distance control over the clubs may find this more challenging. The aim is to hit Red, Yellow, Green, and Brown targets at four consecutive distances but only 5 balls allocated. Hitting a target out of sequence leads to a loss of points.
Aimed at golfers that have a better understanding of the game, this game enables beginners to be paired with experienced golfers to compete in teams. Points are scored by every ball and counted towards the team’s overall score.
The game is available in a junior version available with a Topgolf Jr. Membership.
This game is aimed at testing short game skills and is more suitable for golfers that have control over their scoring irons. Golfers fire 5 shots to the Red target, 5 shots to the Yellow target, and 10 shots to the Green target. Points are scored for hitting the target while points are deducted for hitting the incorrect target.
This is a virtual game making use of Toptracer technology. Points are scored by hitting three or more jewels in a row or a column.
To score well in this game the golfer must be accurate and have excellent distance control. The Yellow target is in play for this game. The aim is to hit all nine sections of the target, but points are deducted for hitting a section multiple times.
Points scored on levels two and three are increased if level 1 is closed out first.
This game is similar to Topshot Rookie with the difference being that the targets in play are now Yellow, Green, Brown, and Blue. The extra distance to the blue target makes it more feasible for experienced golfers.
The aim is to hit targets at four consecutive distances but only 5 balls allocated. Points are lost for hitting a target out of sequence.
Upping the pressure is the TopShot Advanced game requiring the golfer to hit the Green, Brown, Blue, and White targets in succession. Only five shots are allowed, and points are deducted for hitting the wrong target.
Quick 9 Expert
This will test even expert golfers as they are required to play 9 shots in a short time while retaining accuracy. Three shots are hit at each of the Brown, Blue, and White targets. Points are scored for the proximity to the bullseye and increased to double points on the last shot.
Points are scored for hitting the White target and the Trench. To be able to score in this game requires the golfer to hit long shots accurately and will not suit beginners.
How long do you play TopGolf?
You can expect to spend one hour at the Topgolf facility, but the time can be extended. Payment is required for every hour spent at the facility. Remember that restrictions are placed to a maximum of 2 games per player during peak periods.
What’s a good score at TopGolf?
A good score is when the golfer can unlock TopPressure Advanced. This requires the golfer to score a minimum of 30 points in standard TopPressure or more than 100 points in Topgolf. Access to the Advanced game is only accessible when the golfer visits the facility after achieving the feat.
How do I get better at TopGolf?
Topgolf is aimed at a full golfing experience while having a fun time with family and friends. This does not mean that it cannot become competitive. To play the best possible golf the golfer should take full swing with the right clubs and selecting the best bay possible.
How to Win at TopGolf
Beginners would be well advised to select a hitting bay as close as possible to the red target, if at all possible. This will allow them to accumulate points by focusing on the scoring sections of the red target.
Although it offers only minimal points, continuously hitting the scoring sections will quickly see an improvement and maximum enjoyment. Intermediate Topgolfers are generally enthusiastic about the game but enjoy some, or a lot, of liquid refreshments to keep the party going.
Even this will not prevent them from making good contact. However, accuracy is not on the top of their priority list and they have large egos. Going for the red target and accumulating points is not- what they are there for. Rather give them more challenging targets.
These intermediate golfers will be better advised to take a longer club, maybe even a fairway wood, and swing the club at half their normal speed. This will create generous opportunities to hit the Yellow and Green targets while racking up the score.
Frustrated experts are the ones well versed in the game of golf, yet they get beaten regularly. These golfers generally tend to try overly hard to impress and show off their skills. They would be better off aiming at the blue target and accumulate points with the scoring irons.
The purpose of Topgolf is to score the most points. It does not have to be pretty shots. As long as it adds points to the scorecard.
Topgolf is a relatively new concept that has been around since 2000 and is rapidly growing in popularity. It is rather easy to see why this is happening. With a growing number of locations around the world, the great vibe offered by the music, TV screens, food, and even some instruction will continue to grab attention.
Not only is this an opportunity to introduce family and friends to golf but it allows golfers of all levels to improve their accuracy, just as the 9-hole mashie courses of years gone by. The COVID-19 pandemic has played havoc with the social activities around the globe but Topgolf has all measures in place to ensure the health and safety of their patrons.
Golfers can look forward to a fun yet competitive outing to Topgolf locations and continue improving their skills. Any feedback or Topgolf experience would be appreciated in the comments section below.