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...out of 4 GT logo rating

Moving past the Bar, onto the Top Golf
The Hitting area:  There are three levels in this expansive configuration and they’re set up like posh bowling lanes.  Although the hitting area is outdoors, it’s heated, with a lounge area, as well as tables and bar stools so you can enjoy food and drink while you hit.  Each group has its own lane with ample room, so you don’t feel like you’re on top of the next group, even though, in this three-tiered set-up, you literally may be on top of another group. 

Playing the game:  Golf is not the game you’re playing here.  That said, if you’ve successfully managed to adapt from real golf to sim golf when necessary during the off season, the sim golf to TopGolf transition shouldn’t be too difficult.  The “game” is fun and skill level doesn’t matter as much as you may think.  A ball can roll into the target and the points will count the same as one landing on the target (similar to real golf; it’s a number, not a picture). That’s part of what makes it fun for all skill levels.  If you consider yourself an “excellent range player,” you may enjoy it more than others.  Or not.

The computerized screen keeps score as you hit microchip-embedded balls toward targets placed in various areas on the range.  Back to the bowling alley analogy, the chip-embedded ball rolls back to you, so there’s no need to retrieve balls like there is in Sim.  Clubs are provided; you can bring your own, but I'm not sure why you would.  Side note on club selection:  either the micro-chip balls are flight-restricted or I’ve aged dramatically since last fall.  It was tough to hit the net which was 215 yards from the mat.

Ambience/Acoustic Management:  When walking into the massive, multi-tiered hitting area, one might think that hearing the simultaneous pinging of a hundred folks hitting golf balls would be annoying, at a minimum.  Not so much.  Somehow TopGolf pipes in rock music at just the right decibel level to dampen that noise, while keeping it at a level where you can still carry on a conversation.  Brilliant.

TopGolf Customer Demographics:  It’s simple math.  You can’t keep a place this large busy without appealing to the masses.   The patrons playing from the upper tiers appeared to be a combination of groups of four or five friends, couples on a date, birthday parties for 13-year olds, and folks who blew off a movie and needed to be entertained.  My observation was that 20% of the folks having fun there had swung a golf club before; the vast majority had not.  The demo that keeps TG in business is the corporate-sponsored team building exercise.  There were three coach buses in the lot when I arrived.  TG does a nice job of catering to this customer base and it usually occupies the lower level of the hitting area, which makes perfect sense.

Value Proposition:  We paid $45 for an hour of play, plus $5 for the required membership card.  Like Groucho Marx, I don’t want to be in a club that wants me as a lifetime member and, predictably, the annoying marketing emails from TG started upon our departure from the venue.  They’re easy enough to block, so no reason to get upset.

Summation:  I wasn’t sure what to expect at TopGolf, but I do know that it was worth checking out.  Corporate chain quasi-sim-golf; wouldn’t have believed it unless I saw it and played it.  The most underrated aspect of my experience was noticing that everyone was having fun and no one behaved like the proverbial 25-handicapper who just shanked his approach shot and started cursing and carrying on like an a-hole.  TopGolf earns a...

“What the Hell is This?!?” – A Review of the TopGolf facility in Alpharetta, Georgia
Submitted by Sherpa JB, February, 2016 

When the person who walked into TopGolf with me threw the “What the hell is this?” comment out there, I didn’t have a good answer.  I’m not sure what TopGolf is, but there’s a lot of it.   Visually, it’s like Disneyland engulfed and swallowed a Dave and Buster’s.  It’s as distant from Sim golf as Sim golf is from real golf.  If you visit, go with an attitude of having fun and don’t think of it as golf.

TopGolf has a Buffalo Wild Wings-style sports bar area serving a complete menu of pub food, accompanied by a dozen giant flat screens tuned into every live sporting event available.  As we’ve noted in other GT reviews, it’s good to combine things.