You may have seen the tall, unusual framework soaring across the skyline at I-435 and Nall. From a distance it looks like a mirage. Get closer and you can see that the structure is made of posts and netting. But still your mind asks, “What is that?”
It is Topgolf. “Topgolf is golf like you’ve never seen before,” says David Kim, director of operations at the Overland Park facility. “We are combining golf, bowling and darts with technology for an awesome, new golfing experience.
The structure is 65,000 square feet, the size of two football fields. Is it a mirage? No, it’s the newest twist on the centuries-old game since the Frisbee-inspired disc golf in the mid-1970s
This new form of golf was invented in 2000 in England by two brothers after spending a few hours on a driving range. They came up with the idea of placing dog tag technology inside golf balls, and the concept grew from there. Topgolf currently operates facilities in 13 U.S. cities, including Dallas, Houston and Austin, and plans to grow to 50 locations by 2018.
So, what can you expect when you walk into Topgolf? You will enter on the second floor of the three-floor facility into a 50-foot high atrium. At the concierge desk, you can purchase a $5 lifetime membership card. “Buying a card is totally optional,” says Kim. “But it keeps track of your scores each time you play, whether here in town or at one of our other Topgolfs nationwide.
A concierge will assign you and your guests a bay. The bay is similar to the space surrounding the scorers’ table at a bowling alley, with a table and seating for you and your friends. The bay, however, opens onto the driving range overlooking prime Johnson County acreage. Scattered on the field are large dart board-like targets. If it’s hot outside, guests will be cooled by fans; this winter, expect heaters in each bay
Let’s play! Walk to the tee line and stand on a hitting mat with a golf club. By touching your name on the computer screen, you are syncing your shot with the ball on the mat. Each golf ball has a microchip inside, so that when you hit a ball, a computer tracks and displays your score. “With this technology, you get an actual reading of where the ball landed,” says Kim. You and your guests share 20 balls. You can hit all of yours at once or take turns
Topgolf offers 102 bays, three restaurant/bars, event space, a third-floor rooftop terrace and 250 70-inch screen televisions. “We have just built Kansas City area’s best viewing station. When the Royals are in the World Series again this year, you can see it all from right here.
Topgolf is open 363 days a year, generally 9 a.m. to midnight. Friday and Saturday evenings, they stay open until 2 a.m., and often offers DJs and bands in the summer.
“Fifty percent of people who play Topgolf describe themselves as non-golfers,” says Kim. At the facility you can also play shuffleboard, pool and Xbox Kinect games. Or try one of their restaurants’ many original offerings like Mushi (Mexican sushi) or injectable donut holes. “Our proprietary blended burgers are made from Angus beef, pork, rib and brisket, and are awesome,” says Kim.
The facility holds 1,400 guests and the local Topgolf employs 450.
“We have a great group of folks working here. Come by and join in the fun,” says Kim. “Kansas City is a gem in the middle of the country. We are so excited to be part of this town.”