“Top Golf” – not just for “top notch” golfers

It’s yet another sweltering day in Arizona. But even though the daily threat of monsoons brings in some humidity, this low humidity combined with temps in the low 100’s is still more bearable – to me – than 85 and high humidity in some of the mid-western states like Kansas or Minnesota.

The heat certainly has not stopped me from enjoying one of the many golf courses in the Phoenix valley: Blackstone Country Club, Peoria; Outlaw Golf Course at Desert Mountain, Cave Creek; and my home course of Firerock Country Club, Fountain Hills. My friends and I enjoy golfing this time of year probably more than any other as you have the course to yourself. We were the only tee time on the tee sheet in two of those three rounds. With no waiting for the group in front of you, fast playing partners, finding shade where we can, ample supply of cold water and cold towels – we cruise right through our rounds in comfortable fashion.

But…if you’re looking for a golf option that doesn’t throw you directly out into the elements, Top Golf Riverwalk, Scottsdale might be for you. It’s a new triple-level outdoor target practice range. I know – outdoors, in 100+ degree weather??? With east facing hitting platforms, fans with misters, and good selection of cold drinks to quench your thirst, it is beyond bearable – it’s a blast! A girlfriend and I went at 4 pm on a Wednesday afternoon. I would estimate that 2/3rd’s of the hitting bays were booked. We started out with an hour session, and figured you would need to add another hour for each two-some added to the group of players.

Top Golf Riverwalk, Scottsdale, Arizona.

Top Golf Riverwalk, Scottsdale, Arizona.

My friend showcasing her "red neck cooler!" at Top Golf. (Happy 50th!)

My friend showcasing her “red neck cooler!” at Top Golf. (Happy 50th!)

Some bays are set-up with cushy patio seating, others with table and chairs. A server comes around to take your drink and food orders. There are event rooms – that line up with two hitting bays – and would be a great way to enjoy a special celebration, or just to get a bunch of friends together. There is also a (air-conditioned) full service bar with glass windows to look out on the hitting bays. You can bring your own clubs or they have clubs you can use.

Cushy seating under the fans and misters at Top Golf.

Cushy seating under the fans and misters at Top Golf.

The concept for Top Golf came from two British brothers – hardcore golfers who wanted more out of their golf experience. To know how far they were hitting their shots and to be challenged when at a driving range to perfect their skills. Top Golf was born, and at present there are 20 Top Golf centers in the U.S. and several more in the works – three in the UK. The centers draw not only other hardcore golfers, but since 2000 when the first Top Golf Opened, nearly half of the golfers who visit Top Golf or self proclaimed non-golfers. And from what I saw during my visit to Top Golf – that number sounds about right! 🙂

With a multitude of different games to play – there is a game for everyone of all levels of golf. The games are set up on a touchscreen in each bay challenging all aspects of your golf game from chipping to eventually driving. Unfortunately no drivers on fairway woods are allowed at Top Golf at Riverwalk. The closest target is 50 yds. The furthest target is only 185 yards away, and even though the back of the net is listed at 240 yards, apparently several of the first patrons were able to hit drivers and other clubs up and over the netting and shattering car windows in vehicles parked in the neighboring parking lot of Talking Stick Casino. Apparently they are working on this issue.

The color coded targets dot the range at Top Golf. Distances are 50 yds., 90 yds., 125 yds., 150 yds. and 185 yds.

The color coded targets dot the range at Top Golf. Distances are 50 yds., 100 yds., 125 yds., 150 yds. and 185 yds.

Concave design of three levels of hitting bays at Top Golf.

Concave design of three levels of hitting bays at Top Golf.

Upon entering the center you are directed to a counter to purchase a $5 membership card – a one time sign-up, and then you are directed to a different counter to be set up in a hitting bay. A Top Golf employee, in their bright colored golf shirt, then takes you personally to your bay and runs you through the whole experience. In an hour, my friend and I hit approximately 80 shots each, playing two different styles of games, feeling competitively challenged. We will definitely return!

To find out more about Top Golf – go to:  http://topgolf.com/us/

 

 

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