You’ve probably heard the buzz by now. TopGolf, a golf and entertainment venue, hit the Charlotte market June 9th, and it’s been driving record-breaking attendance since. This is not your typical tin cup, bucket-o-balls driving range. It’s Phoenix Open meets Strike City punctuated with loud music, live bands, a rooftop bar — oh, and golf! Girls, let’s get a grip on one thing — gathering with friends may be par for the course, but hanging out at TopGolf takes girls’ night out (GNO) to a whole new level. Not a golfer? Not to worry. Nearly half of all TopGolf guests describe themselves as non-golfers. Here’s how to roll with it and make the most of your next GNO.
Grab Your Girlfriends
Girls’ Night Out and golf may sound like a mismatched set and a far stretch from Bunko or half-price wine night. However, Steve Edmunds, platinum sales manager at TopGolf Charlotte, claims that the combination of play, food and music is scoring big with women. “Thirty-two percent of visitors to TopGolf are women, and we are looking for that number to grow,” says Steve. “It’s a great experience for a lady’s night out — we see everything from bachelorette parties to birthday celebrations.”
Which is exactly why Coleman gathered her girlfriends for a GNO at TopGolf recently.
“I chose to celebrate my birthday here because this is just a fun place to hang out and do something active,” she shares. Her friend, Clara, who’s never held a club before the opening of TopGolf and had so much fun the first time, was excited to come back. “I actually live on a golf course and have never played until now,” says Clara. “I was always too intimidated.”
Steve says that’s the thing. “There’s no pressure. You’re just hanging out with friends and having a great time, so who cares if you swing and miss?”
Par-Tee Rain or Shine
If you’re an occasional golfer or complete novice, TopGolf is way more appealing than a round of golf. When you arrive, you’ll not only want to become a lifetime member, it’s required. A $5 fee doubles as your player card and starts your session in the golf bay. You’ll be assigned to one of 102 climate-controlled (fans in the summer and heaters in the winter) hitting bays, which hold up to six players. SB TIP: If you have a large group, you can book through group reservations and they will work with you on everything from play planning to food and beverages.
Once you are ready to tee off, each player swipes their card, and everyone’s names appear on the screen – like bowling only less linear and without bumpers. You can rotate any way you please with the touch of a screen.
Keep in mind the atmosphere couldn’t be further from your perception of a golf range or PGA tour stop. There’s no such thing as “Quiet Please.” The music is loud, but not too loud that you can’t have a conversation, and the vibe is upscale.
You can bring your own bag if you’re super connected to your clubs, but most don’t. They have men’s, ladies and even lefties. If you don’t know the difference between a driver and an iron, just grab a club and give it a go. First, you wave your club over a sensor and a ball embedded with a microchip is dispensed. THAT’S the cool part. A tiny little RFID chip knows that ball belongs to you and reports back on the screen the points (or not) you scored on your shot.
Coleman’s birthday group makes a game of it off screen too. “The lowest score gets to buy the next round,” she says.
When playing the signature TopGolf game (there are others called TopScore and TopDrive), players score points by hitting balls into targets in the outfield ranging from 25 to 215 yards.
The whole affair is Facebook-worthy and something you’ll want to share with all of your BFFs. They’re sure to be green with envy.
Bogey on Down
This three-level, 65,000-square-foot venue is business up front and party in the back. With several venues to choose from pre- and post-play, you can take your pick from a huge sports bar on the main level to a rooftop bar with lots of seating, fire pits and a stage for live bands on weekends.
This place is popping until 2 a.m. on the weekend, so ladies, you may want to plan to arrive early, stay late and come hungry. The food is crafted with the sports bar theme — burgers and nachos — with a nod to our Southern roots, with a chicken and waffle slider. “We host a very busy lunch crowd during the week, serving area businesses,” says Steve. “Our food is so good that we are also becoming known as a place just to eat and enjoy the atmosphere.”
Katie, who traveled from Raleigh to attend Coleman’s celebration, says she can’t wait until TopGolf comes to the Triad area too. “It’s such a great way to spend time as a group.”
- Buy your membership online and save the wait when you check-in. There is a $5 lifetime membership fee to play the first time. Then it’s, well, it’s good for a lifetime.
- Keep in mind you rent by the hour. Have each person hit 3-4 balls at a time so you’re not switching often. For example, the TopGolf game allows each player to hit 20 balls before tallying the final score.
- The later you go, the more expensive the play gets. Play starts at $25/hour and caps at $45 from 5 p.m. to close.
- The third level seems to be the easiest for beginners. You get the most bounce.
- Bonus if you play at night. The targets light up like Christmas trees, and if you’re lucky, they pulse to the beat of the music.
- The parking lots stay full, but they offer $5 valet parking, which is totally worth it. Better yet, take a Lyft and keep the party rolling longer.
TopGolf is located at 8024 Savoy Drive, Charlotte NC 28273. Hours are Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to midnight; Friday, 9 a.m. to 2 a.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m. to 2 a.m.; Sunday, 9 a.m. to midnight. Learn more at topgolf.com.
All images courtesy of TopGolf unless otherwise credited.
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