Topgolf set to tee off in Tampa

click to enlarge Each golfing bay distributes the balls with the "magic" wave of the club. - Chris Girandola
Chris Girandola
Each golfing bay distributes the balls with the "magic" wave of the club.

On Wednesday night, I experienced a dream. A dream filled with golf, music, pool tables, delectable culinary, a rooftop bar, foosball, shuffleboard, and flat screen televisions with every sporting event imaginable. Did I mention golf?

A week from Friday, the dream will become a reality and be available for everyone living in and visiting the Tampa Bay area — at Topgolf Tampa located on 10690 Palm River Road just off the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway. An idea that developed on the ho-hum days of regular driving range golf has blossomed into an experience like no other when it comes to golf and entertainment, a place for all ages to learn the game while having fun without the four-hour walk.

Created by Brits Steve and his twin brother, Dave, Jolliffe in 2000, Topgolf — Target Oriented Practice — turns swing practice into competitive activity with players aiming at dartboard-like targets for scores in a plethora of games available on the driving bay display. The bays are heated on cold days — like it was on Wednesday night during the media event — and cooled on hot days, like it typically is here in Tampa Bay.

But it isn't just golf.

The three-level complex — that seems like a neon-infused UFO with all its bright lights and stories-high netting — has bars on each level, one better than the next with a rooftop one that overlooks downtown Tampa. Each bay — which has free clubs, right- and -left-handed, available — with its luxurious seating is tended by “caddies” — wait staff personnel who serves food and beverage.

And the food? Not your run-of-the-mill cart selection of hot dogs, day-old deli sandwiches, and jerky treats. The selection at Topgolf is on par with some of the finest restaurants in the region — on Wednesday, we were fortunate to partake in signature dishes like chicken and waffles, shrimp and grits, Buffalo chicken spring rolls, and injectable donut holes (you essentially get to “inject” donut holes with your choice of chocolate, raspberry jelly or Bavarian cream.

Then to quench your thirst, the bars offer a full line of liquor and beer, the draft and bottled kind that equals any type of bar in the region specializing microbrews. On Sundays, a brunch features Sunday Fundays with a plethora of different types of Bloody Mary's available.

Finally, the entertainment factor will keep both golfers and non-golfers delighted during the day and throughout the night. During the day, this is a perfect place for moms and dads to take the kids to hack away while learning the game. During the night, it's entertainment heaven for adults.

“It's a place for all ages,” said Blair Hartley, Topgolf Marketing Manager. “For golfers, it's a place to work on their game, a way to perfect your swing so when you hit the links, you're ready to go and your aim is top notch. For non golfers, this is a fun way to try out the game of golf without being bored or getting hot and tired. It's a fun experience for all ages.”

As a father of 11-year-old triplet boys and a 4-year-old daughter, this will be a place to go on m

click to enlarge Topgolf is three levels of golf and entertainment.  - Chris Girandola
Chris Girandola
Topgolf is three levels of golf and entertainment.
any a weekend, considering I won't have to hear any more complaints of “this is boring” or “it's hottttt out here” or “Daddy, can you get rid of the bugs?” The Kids Zone Club is free for kids 12 and under and offers exclusive-only deals, including a Winter Break party with free food, free Topgolf play and a special visit from Santa.

During the night, the possibilities are endless — with the assortment of entertainment available from deejays and bands on the rooftop bar to pool tables and foosball on the ground level. If you're thinking of a game-changer and a deal-maker for a date night, a company party, or a business gathering with a potential client, this is the place.

“It's a fun and interactive way to work on your swing away from the course,” said Tampa-resident Cohl Webb, who is a professional caddy that works in the New York metropolitan area during the summer and at Streamsong Golf Resort and Spa in nearby Bowling Green during the winter months.

click to enlarge Cohl Webb, a Tampa resident who caddies at nearby Streamsong Golf Resort and Spa, is excited what Topgolf has to offer. - Chris Girandola
Chris Girandola
Cohl Webb, a Tampa resident who caddies at nearby Streamsong Golf Resort and Spa, is excited what Topgolf has to offer.
 “It's also a great way to stay competitive while enjoying and relaxing in a non-golfing environment with amenities unlike any other place.”

All in all, Topgolf — with locations throughout the States and the U.K. — has literally and figuratively changed the game. On December 19, Tampa will officially join the party.

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