Top Golf is one of the best known brands in the golf industry even though the brand is only about 20 years old. The combination of food, drinks, golf, and hanging out with friends in a semi-competitive golfing environment has proven to be a recipe for success. Top Golf is not just a high-tech driving range with multiple bays and microchipped golf balls, it is also an entertainment complex. It is perfect for seasoned golfers to go out and challenge themselves, but it is also perfect for your non-golf playing friends to go out and enjoy the game in a less stressful environment than a full golf course. The best description we have found is it is kind of like the golf version of a bowling alley.
How Does Topgolf Work?
Top Golf is as simple as it is fun. Anyone can play and anyone can enjoy it, but it is important to have a general understanding of how Top Golf works to enjoy yourself even more. Here are a few things to know:
- Reserve a Bay
Just like you need a tee time to play a round of golf, you need a reservation to play at Topgolf. Especially if you are planning on going to Topgolf on a weekend, you should either call at least a week beforehand or be prepared to wait until about 9:00 that night, and yes, Topgolf is that popular. Additionally, up to six golfers can play at a time, so plan your group and your reservation accordingly.
- The Bays
Topgolf facilities are usually made up of 3-stories of bays with multiple bays on each story. Each bay has a mat along with a ball dispenser next to the mat. You can either use the clubs provided or bring your own. In the bay, when a ball is dispensed to you, you place it where you want on the mat and you aim at one of the dart board like targets out in the field.
While there are multiple game-play settings, each of them involves scorekeeping. The traditional Topgolf game involves scoring points based on the accuracy of your shot compared to any target on the course and how far the target is from the bay. There are also games that involve chipping, distance control, and aiming at each target in order. The bottom line is that Topgolf uses high tech golf balls to score multiple game play options.
- Topgolf golf balls
Topgolf golf balls are equipped with a Radio Frequency Identity Chip (RFID). When you are standing on the bay, and wave your golf club over the sensor to get another ball, the RFID tag connects to your bay so that the sensors know which ball is yours and they can sense where the ball ends up. That same technology can also show players the details behind their shots such as trajectory, spin, total distance, etc.
If you live in or near any large city or suburb, then you have probably seen a Topgolf. All you have to do is look for a 200-foot high netting next to a 3-story driving range with multiple bays per story. It looks impressive and daunting at the same time. It can be a little intimidating for a first time golfer, but once you get to your bay, it looks like a pretty normal driving range other than the tables, bar, bar games, and wait staff coming by to bring you food and drinks.
- Golf Lessons
It is also important to note that Topgolf locations offer lessons and training. You can take individual lessons from a golf pro, group lessons, and even junior golf lessons in the form of camps and their “junior academy.” If you are going to start playing at Topgolf, you might as well really develop your golf swing as well, it may turn into one of your favorite hobbies on a real course as well.
What skill level does this require?
No skill is required, at all, and it is fun for scratch golfers and beginners alike. Topgolf is not about playing the best golf you can play, it is more about having fun with friends and enjoying some food and drink while you play. Of course, you will have more fun if you know how to play the game, and some of the games explained below are really only accessible to you if you play the game well. At the same time, this is a great introduction to the game and you can play at Top Golf no matter your skill level and experience.
What sort of games do you play?
Here are the games offered at Topgolf:
- Top Golf
This is the signature game at Topgolf where you score points by hitting balls into any target. The more accurate your shot and the farther away your target, the more points you get.
- Top Pressure
This is a little more difficult game and takes more skill than luck. You test your accuracy here by hitting nine balls into all nine sections of the yellow target. You hit one target after the next, and if you hit the same section twice, you lose points. The pressure builds because in each subsequent round the points increase.
- Top Chip
This is an intermediate chipping game that uses the yellow, red, and green targets and if you hit the correct target each time you score big. If, however, you hit one of the other targets you will see your points begin to disappear.
- Top Break
Top Break is a little more advanced game where you hit the red target followed by any other color target. The point is, after you hit the red target, the further the next target and the more accurate your shot, the more points you will receive.
- Top Shot
Top Shot is another game for intermediate skills. In Top Shot, you hit five shots each into targets at four different distances. The goal is to hit a target at each distance with five shots in a row and then move onto the next. If you can hit 20 shots in a row into these distances, you can rack up some points.
Basic Rules of TopGolf
The rules of Topgolf are very simple and actually quite brief. You can really use Top Golf as a simple driving range and they do not make you play by any specific game rules though there are games you can play. The rules mostly of safety and golf manner issues. Here is a list:
- You cannot cross the red line.
- Do not aim for the buggy (even though everyone does).
- Do not step foot on the range.
- Keep back from the edge.
- No running starts…This could also say no Happy Gilmores.
- Do not lean over the bay dividers.
- You have to be over 16 or accompanied by an adult.
- Do not jump into the safety nets.
Playing TopGolf: Can you bring your own clubs?
You absolutely can bring your own clubs, you also do not need to. Club “rental” at Topgolf is free, so most people just come and use whatever they have, even left-handers. If you want to show off your golf chops or you have some really good clubs, you can definitely use them, but it is kind of like bringing your own skates to the rink or your own bowling ball to an alley…You better be good enough to back it up.
Final Thoughts On How Does TopGolf Work: Is TopGolf worth checking out?
Topgolf is absolutely and 100% worth checking out. There is really no downside other than if you brag and exaggerate about how good you are at golf to a lot of people you thought would never see you play, like your wife, there is a chance you will be exposed! Other than that, Topgolf is great. It is high-tech, not overly expensive, and really fun. We would not suggest you bringing your own clubs, just have fun, but if you want to do it that is ok too. The bottom line is that Topgolf is really fun, and while you may not improve your golf game by playing there, you will not hurt it either and it is a great place to spend a Friday night.