Would You Prefer Going to Top Golf, Drive Shack, Big Shots, or a Driving Range Using TopTracer?
The creation of a “Golf Entertainment Centers” has created a buzz. According to the National Golf Foundation, one in nine Americans play golf, whether on the course (25.2 million) or of course (12.5 million), i.e., in driving ranges or social entertainment complexes.
Within the last 30 days, I visited TopGolf in Centennial, Colorado (84 locations); Drive Shack in Raleigh (4 Locations), NC; Big Shots in Ft. Worth (6 locations), and Top Tracer at the Club of Ravenna in Littleton, CO (245 locations globally).
I have enthusiastic respect for the capital investment by the social entertainment complexes, a rumored $25 million per facility, made by Callaway Golf (Top Golf), Drive Shack (American Golf), and Big Shots (Club Corp), who bought the rights from the O’Neill Entertainment Group.
Each of the facilities offers family, friends, and business associates a delightful time. Of the options available, though, I have a strong preference.
All three social entertainment complexes feature impressive physical structures – TopGolf and Drive Shack with three floors and Big Shots with 2.
The amenities vary slightly between the facilities regarding the number of bars, restaurants, fire pits, arcades, greens, Cornhole, and private events spaces. For example, TopGolf has an arcade for kids. Big Shots unique features a Cornhole, a miniature golf course, and a putting green.
Of the three, I thought that the targets at TopGolf, where points are awarded based on the accuracy of one’s shot, created excitement and were impressive.
Conversely, Drive Shack posts and flat mats look cheesy. Big Shots, with multi-colored maps, were better but just slightly.
Also, I wasn’t a fan of the limited flight golf balls at all three facilities, particularly Drive Shack. They looked worn and dirty.
For a family or new entrants to the game, all these facilities are delightful. If I had to pick one – it would be TopGolf. It just has a more upbeat vibe.
However, given my druthers, I would far prefer to visit Top Tracer at a range where one is hitting off of grass, with regular golf balls in which there are numerous games contained within the downable app. Knowing not only to have far one hit the balls but all the associated flight path statistics, like a launch monitor, is impressive.
The initial cost to install is $25,000 with the license for a private club at $15,000 per year or, for a public golf course, $250 per month per bay.
Every public golf course should consider installing Top Tracer at its range. Add a food truck, tables and chairs at the back of each bay and you have created a tremendous revenue generator that will attract a wide range of customers, from families looking for entertainment to the accomplished golfer looking to improve their game.
We know of one golf course whose revenue range was $100,000. With the installation of Top Tracer during the Pandemic, their revenues soared to nearly $1 million. The speculation is that the typical public Top Tracer range may average $500,000 depending on the nearby food and beverage amenities and environment.
That doesn’t seem like a bit of a reach, especially for range located in the major cities.