By: Steve a.k.a. “TradeIn”
Finally. Topgolf in Michigan. It opened in early December, just in time for the Michigan winter. For golfers in the Mitten, it can be lonely at the driving range, and well let’s face it… kind of boring.
Topgolf offers the entertainment of a sports bar with a 3-tiered driving range with targets. Instead of grinding away at the rock pile, you and your buddies can order food, beer, and play different games all automatically scored by the microchipped golf balls, and displayed on a flat screen.
I’ve been to Topgolf a total of 5 times. Once in Las Vegas while waiting to go to the airport, and 4 times in Auburn Hills. I tried to go with friends, kids and at different days and times to paint the full picture. Here are a few tips for Topgolf:
Clubs or no clubs?
I’m going to say no clubs. The parking lot is huge and if you get stuck in the overflow lot, you’ll be hoofing your clubs a hundred yards or so. The clubs they have in the bays are nice, and in fact I was hitting all Callaway Rogues the last time I went.
If you decide to bring your sticks, you can check them in at the front desk while you wait for a bay, but I say hey… just leave them home. I believe they have Driver, 3-wood, hybrid, 5,7,8,9,PW but no SW… They have lefties and kids clubs available as well. I heard a rumor that the golf balls they use are so hard they can actually damage your clubs… not sure if there is any truth to that, but better safe than sorry.
Go Early if you Don’t Want to Wait
If you go at night, you’ll most likely have to wait. You can make “reservations,” but they are not guaranteed. Reminds me of a classic Seinfeld scene:
You may be able to get onto the ground level right away, but the second and third levels are much better, especially if you haven’t been there before.
I went there twice before 11am, and got right into a bay. If you bring your kids with you, I think morning is your best bet. It gets really busy at night, so I’d leave the kiddos at home and go with your friends at night.
Get 6 People to Split the Cost. You have to buy a $5 Lifetime membership the first time you go, and then you can rent the bay by the hour, or really in increments of 15 minutes. From 9am-Noon it is $25 per hour , Noon-5pm it is $35 per hour and 5pm – Close it is $45 per hour. Closing time is 11pm on weekdays and 1:00am on weekends.
So, what does Back9Rally think of Topgolf? Loads of fun! Better than real golf? Nope. However, it was a blast watching my daughter be able to hit balls and dance to the music bellowing throughout the place. It was much easier than taking her to a real course. It was also fun hanging out with the guys, drinking some All Day IPA’s and playing some of the different target games available. For non-golfers, I am sure they enjoy being able to hang out and swing the club a few times without having to buy equipment and go all golf crazy… but for us golf obsessed folks, Topgolf just ain’t the real thing baby.
As for the customer service, it is a mixed bag. I arranged a networking event there, made reservation and had to wait a half hour to get into a bay. I have left several messages for the staff there trying to arrange groups there and have yet to receive a call back… wait until they find out I’m a very important golf blogger Hahahhaha (kidding of course).
Our heaters were broken the last time we were there on a really chilly night, and every once in a while you hit a shot that doesn’t register for whatever reason.
On a positive note, the bay hosts and wait staff are great, especially with little ones during the mornings on the weekend… I’m curious to see if the novelty will wear off especially during the summertime, or if it will continue to be a go-to place to bring the family or meet with friends.
Let us know what you think!!!