Golf is a sport largely in decline. Municipalities are wondering how much longer they can fund our public golf courses because there is no longer the appeal to spend over 4 hours in a day for 18 holes. Fewer young people are playing the sport, but a company founded in 2000 believes they have the answer: Turning golf into something more like a video game?
Purists might cringe over the idea of turning golf into a sport the bowling and video game community could enjoy. But fewer people are willing or able to spend a day on fairways making attempts to escape sandtraps, or risking the potential of losing balls in ponds.
Topgolf is winning over the masses because anyone can play. With the ever popular, interactive aspect of online video games, Topgolf allows millennials to be free of the basement and get out into the open air while still having a friendly competition with their peers.
Located in Midvale, Topgolf is a three-story building with more than 100 open hitting bays to golf from. Like a typical game, each player takes a turn, much like bowling or darts, and attempts to hit the ball into one of 11 targets between 20 to 240 yards away. The balls have a microchip and score is kept by technology. There are solo game options as well. Topgolf attempts to appeal to the more serious golfer, they even have a golf pro on staff who is available for private or group lessons.
Chip Wesley has been a golf instructor in the private sector for 19 years and joined the Topgolf staff in May. “Granted, it’s different, in that Topgolf takes place “inside” and players hit off mats instead of grass, but the games are fun and challenging for players of any ability,” Wesley stated.
“There are PGA Tour players that play at Topgolf a lot, for example, Pat Perez from Scottsdale, Arizona. And Utah’s own Tony Finau was just at Topgolf SLC the other night. I’d love to see our other PGA Tour Players from Utah; Danny Summerhays, Zac Blair and Senior Tour Players Bruce Summerhays and Jay Don Blake come check it out too.”
Topgolf provides clubs or you can bring your own. There is also food available and you can eat in your bay. You pay for the bay per hour, depending on the time of day. An early tee time costs $25 and after 5 it goes up to $45 an hour. Up to 6 people can play in one bay at a time. In addition, every player has to pay a membership fee of $5. Depending on the length of time you play, a golf course may be a cheaper option.
Though not everyone is a fan. Chad Shepherd has been an avid golfer and has been golfing for over 21 years. He feels that Topgolf is completely overrated, and in fact, does not plan on ever going back.
He says, “After 20 minutes, I was over it, it just feels like an overpriced driving range. Go eat at a restaurant somewhere else and then hit a bucket of balls at a range.”