TopGolf might be one of the best inventions of all time. It’s every golfer’s dream – golf, games, amazing food, and awesome drinks. What more could you ask for?
TopGolf isn’t like most driving ranges, instead this is an entertainment complex with golf as its main feature. Unlike traditional driving ranges, these are massive triple decker facilities that are hard to miss if you drive by one. You rent bays for an hour at a time and they are open nearly all day long.
While the driving range is unlike any other in the world, you also get a server that will deliver you amazing food and drinks as well. Keep reading to learn more about TopGolf and see how you can use it to play better golf (and make the sport even more fun).
What is TopGolf?
TopGolf has taken the world by storm as one of the most popular ways to go to the driving range and have fun with friends. Here’s how the company describes their facility,
“No golfing ability? No problem! Topgolf is a game that anyone can play (and win). Score points by hitting microchipped golf balls at giant dartboard-like targets on an outfield. The closer you get your ball to the centre or ‘bullseye’ and the further the distance, the more points earned.”
That’s right, each golf ball has microchip technology so it can track your performance and make it competitive for every golfer. The ball will give you tons of data to help you learn more about your distance and acurracy with every ball you hit.
When you’re not hitting, you can eat and drink from an awesome menu of items. You can easily go from your table to the mat by crossing the red line and you’re ready to start hitting golf shots. Also, make sure you stay behind the red line so nobody gets hurt (I’ve seen this happen).
History of TopGolf
While it seems like TopGolf is a more recent fad, they actually started with three locations in 2000 in the United Kingdom before starting in the USA in 2005. Now, there are 50 locations worldwide with more than 30 in the US.
Since these are such expansive facilities, they tend to be in bigger suburbs like Phoenix, Las Vegas, Chicago, Atlanta, etc. If you’re ever traveling and love golf but haven’t been to one yet, you will want to plan accordingly. Also, go at night if possible as it’s fun to see it lit up more as well.
TopGolf Scoring Zones
While there are locations worldwide, there are the same scoring zones at each facility. The scoring zones are:
- Red – 25 yards
- Yellow – 50 yards
- Green – 90 yards
- Brown – 125 yards
- Blue – 150 yards
- White – 185 yards
- Range Net (Trench) – 215 yards
The highest score is 400 and the average score is around 95 according to their website.
TopGolf 101: 10 Ways to Play
So how do you play TopGolf anyways?
That’s the fun part, there are a myriad of options when teeing it up at the facility. While you can just hit balls for an hour, the facility is designed to make it competitive and fun for everyone involved. Plus, there is a TopGolf leaderboard so you can always compare your game to people across the triple decker driving range.
Here are their 10 core games to play and are available at most franchise locations.
This is the signature game where players earn points by hitting into the targets on the range. Each player gets 10 shots (similar to a bowler getting 10 rolls) during a match. There are six targets from close range (about 30-50 yards) to long range (up to 200 yards) with increments in between.
The longer targets are obviously harder to hit and you get rewarded by scoring in those areas. The shortest targets are easier and give you the least amount of points. Ideally, you want to have a combination of them all during this game to give yourself the chance to score the most points.
Their main game is a fun way to make practice more competitive and is great for all skill levels of players. Whether you have one person or a group of six, this is the easiest and most common way to play.
Best for: Beginner
2. Quick 9
If you’re a golfer, you know that sneaking out of the office to play a “quick nine” is always fun. TopGolf brought that fun to their facility with the “Quick 9” game. In this game, you get nine total shots (three to red, yellow, and green targets).
As always, the closer you get to the center (where the pin is located), the more points you will receive. Don’t forget, the final shot is worth double the points as well! This game is best for 1-4 players especially if you only rent the bay for an hour.
There are two versions of the game – novice and expert. All rules stay the same with experts but the targets change to brown, blue, and white which are farther away and make it harder to score.
Best for: Beginner to Advanced
TopChip is for golfers who want to focus on the short game or might not have as much experience and can’t hit the longer targets. This game uses the red target (which is closest to the bays) for five shots, then the yellow target (around 60 yards) and 10 shots to the green target (usually 100 yards or so).
If you hit any of the 20 balls into the correct targets, you get rewarded with points. But if you hit a ball in the wrong one, your points will actually disappear.
This aspect makes it really fun as the normal game doesn’t ever take away points for hitting the ball in wrong target. If you miss a target and end up in the range, it’s just zero points. TopChip is a fun way to hone your short game and work on the shots that matter on the golf course.
Plus, it’s ideal for groups of any size!
Best for: Intermediate
One of the main reasons to love the great game of golf is the pressure that comes with it. But at a normal driving range, pressure is the least of your worries and why so many golfers hit a bucket of balls but don’t get better (or get worse). With TopPressure, you can stay focused so you can improve your game for competitive events.
With TopPressure, the goal is to hit all nine sections within the yellow target with different levels. The later levels are to simulate what it’s like later in a typical round of golf where the pressure is greater. After the first level, point values multiply in two and three. If you end up hitting a ball into the same sections a few times, you’ll actually lose points as well.
So if you go with a group of serious golfers and want to up the competitive stakes, this is a fun game to play. Plus, you can “unlock” TopGolf advanced if you score 30 points in standard or 100 or more in the TopGolf main game and can select during your next visit (expires after 30 days).
Best for: Intermediate
The fourth type of game is TopBreak and is based on the billiards game, snooker. This is a variation of standard billiards where you must hit make one of the red balls before moving to a colored ball.
In this game, you have to hit the red target (which is the closest) and then you can hit a ball toward any other color on the range. These include green, yellow, blue, and white. Similar to snooker, the farther the target is away from you, the higher the value of points if you score.
Best for: Intermediate
If you’re the type of person who goes to the driving range with distance in mind, you will love TopScore. This game rewards you for hitting each ball long and straight. The farther the target you choose and closer to the flag, the more points you earn.
Best for: Beginner to Intermediate
Who doesn’t love a scramble format in golf? In this version scramble style game, players of all skill levels can come together to compete in this format. Players are divided into teams and the best score is used for the team.
Best for: Intermediate
Let’s face it, most golfers love going to the driving range to see how far they can hit it. While it’s fun, it’s not always helpful and why so many golfers don’t improve despite going to the range.
With TopDrive, you can focus on the farthest targets which are the white target and the net (known as “Trench” to earn points).
Best for: Advanced
The final game is TopShot which is quite similar to TopChip but requires you to hit full shots instead of focusing on the short game. With this game, each player gets five shots each at the four targets. Depending on the first target you choose (red, yellow, green, or brown) will determine how challenging it is as each target will require a longer shot.
There are three versions depending on your starting target – novice, intermediate and advanced.
Best for: Beginner to Advanced
10. Virtual Games
Select locations also offer virtual games as well. Some of these include Jewel Jam and Virtual Courses which are similar to hitting in a simulator with TopTracer technology. Golfers of any skill level can enjoy these games too.
Does TopGolf offer lessons?
Surprisingly, yes they do! Just like a normal driving range, you can go here to improve your game from qualified instructors. But the cool part of their teaching model is that you can do individual lessons or group lessons.
Individual lessons were made to help you get 1:1 access to a coach for 60-minutes. At the time of publishing, these lessons start at $50 for adults and $40 for juniors. If you buy in bulk, you get a discount as well.
Or, you can opt for one of two group options as well. The “Total” package is a great way to help your group improve in a 60-minute session and can have up to six people per group. For $120, you also get two shareable appetizers and six soft drinks, talks about a bargain!
The final option is the “Bays to Fairways” which is a group lesson to help your game and meet new people. At $60 per guest, it’s made for novice golfers or people who are more social players and want to meet fellow golfers.
How much does it cost to play at TopGolf?
TopGolf isn’t the cheapest option to hit a bucket of balls but it’s far more than just a place to grind on your golf game. Instead, this is meant for groups of people where golfers and non-golfers can meetup and have a good time. Think of like a bowling alley that’s a lot more fun.
Prices at Topgolf differ based on location but there are three different pricing zones. The morning pricing is the cheapest, then a midday to afternoon pricing block, and finally an evening pricing option which is the most expensive.
How long do you play at TopGolf?
The facility bills you by the hour and you pay as you go with a credit card or gift card. The minimum amount is one hour and as long as you keep paying, you can keep hitting balls.
Otherwise, look, you’ll have to leave the bay and head to the bar or another outdoor sitting area. You can only stay in the bay if you’re a paying group who is hitting balls similar to a bowling alley where you need to roll the ball at some pins.
Sometimes they also run events (like New Years Eve) where you can rent the facility for a set number of hours and food/drinks are included as well. This is an awesome way to spend an evening with friends and family.
How far is the net in TopGolf?
This is another common question and it does differ depending on the facility, but in general around 220 yards but it’s extremely tall as well.
Not many players can hit it over the net (and obviously they don’t want you to for liability reasons). Well, unless of course you’re professional MLB star Mike Trout who was caught at the Scottsdale location hitting bombs over the net.
Does TopGolf have club rentals?
Yes, they have their own brand of golf clubs that are designed so players don’t have to bring their own clubs. They have men’s and women’s clubs as well as left-handed options as well.
The first time I went to here a few years ago, I didn’t know the rules and brought my full bag of clubs. They denied me at the door as they didn’t want people bringing in drivers that could easily fly over the net at the end of the range.
Since I prefer hitting my clubs instead of rentals, now I only bring a glove, pitching wedge and a few mid irons. But if you don’t feel like bringing your own clubs and worry about leaving them behind, stick with the clubs they have (as there is no rental fee).
What other activities does TopGolf have?
Yes they do, it is 100X more impressive than your average driving range or bowling alley with only one main thing to do. Sure, the net isn’t 300 yards and you can’t bomb your own drivers but there’s so many activities for you and your group.
You can golf, play games (which differ for facility) but can include corn hole, arcade games, shuffleboard, billiards, and more. Plus, there is a full bar with tables so you can just go to eat and watch golf or other sporting events. Having so many activities make it one of the best places to take a group anytime of day.
Does TopGolf have leagues?
Yes, they also have leagues as well. Each location tends to run their leagues individually so make sure to check for the next start date.
These leagues are an 8-week format with six weeks of regular season and the final two weeks are the playoffs. They have a 2-person format where you go head-to-head with another twosome and also a 4-6 person team format as well. These leagues are semi-casual and a lot of fun to get your buddies together to hone your skills and meetup during the week.
Regardless of your skill level, I think you can always have fun!
This place is fun for the whole family and a great way to combine hanging out with friends and hitting the golf ball around. These triple decker ranges are more than just a driving range but instead, an all-in-one entertainment facility and fun environment to be around. Whether you’re an experienced topgolfer or never touched a club, you will have a blast.
While you can’t bring in your full set of clubs and bomb drivers like Mike Trout, it provides experiences unlike any other. Besides, what driving range can you sip a beer while eating injectable cinnamon donut holes while playing golf with friends? Like I said, this entertainment community is a genius invention and makes the game fun for everyone.
If you want to work on your game, you can do several scoring methods, join a league, or even get lessons. With so many options, you’re never going to get bored and will always have fun no matter who you’re with.
What’s your favorite game to play when you visit? Let us know in the comments!