The other day, some friends had invited me to go to Top Golf with them on half-price Tuesdays. I had seen the driving range go up several years ago, but had passed by it for years. Top Golf Tucson is next to the Freeway and Costco. If you ask what freeway, you’re not from Tucson. Top Golf is a high-rise golf driving range franchise. Or at least I thought it was. I neglected to check out the website first. I just assumed it was another Japanese-style triple-decker driving range. Not so, at all.
Arriving, the walk is up a short flight of stairs where you are greeted by a young cadre of staff and who I have to assume are golfers as well. We signed in with the maitre d’ at the podium, and looked over the merchandise, like any golf shop on our way to the driving range. Attendees (golfers) have a choice of high-top seating or couch seating. Maggie chose the high tops. Not knowing what we were up to, I chose a couch, which she went along with. Jim didn’t do high tops. It was my habit, I guess. In hindsight, high-top seating would have been better. If you are unfamiliar with that term, it is like barstool-height seating.
So me, figuring that we were going to a driving range and not wanting to look too pretentious, I only brought a few clubs; Marvin the Martian and Eeyore (my woods) and a couple of ping irons. They do have clubs at every station, but you can bring your own. I am left-handed and I doubted that they had those. So I brought my own, graphite pings. Once upon a time, Jim and I spent a lot of time on the golf course. But that was 20-something years ago. I have the 2000 Women’s Champion golf parking sign to prove it. But you would never know it by my performance this day. I digress.
What Top Golf is, is actually part driving range, part arcade but mostly restaurant and bar. The arriving group is given a slot, with high-top seating or couches. This slot is a little like going to the Rillito Racetrack only much classier. Along with the slots for golf, there is a whole other bar, like the racetrack, only classier. The cost for entry is about the same. Yes, it is a sports bar. I have no idea what sports are playing. I just hoped it was not me up there on the screen. As I said, I had not picked up a club for an honest game of golf in over 15 years, just about the time Jim decided to start Southern Arizona Guide and I became its defacto webmistress.
On to the golf part. This is not just a driving range. The slot you rent for an hour is currently $40 for up to 6 players. $20 on Tuesdays, or $10 off with a SAAA Passport Book. Our “Bay”, which they call your cubicle, was lucky number 213. Is there a 113? That would explain the height. Or perhaps, the elevation avoids wormburners, a real embarrassment. I hear there is a top deck with firepits. Might have to check that out next time. Right now our favorite bar with a firepit is The Moonstone atop the Graduate Hotel. Too bad at this time, the Moonstone is only open evenings.
Back to Total Golf. In our bay or our group cubicle, were golf clubs, all marked, and a computer for playing one of many, many electronic golf games. The difference between computer golf and this golf game is you actually do have to hit a real ball out to a field of targets. Don’t worry, if you go, this is all explained to the first-timers. You just need to know how to use a computer, or at least a television with a touch screen.
Okay, this is where the fun begins. Pick a game, any game. Hit the ball out into the driving range trying to hit one of the many targets to rack up points against your opponent. A server will come to your bay and try to ply you with beverages and food if you desire. Take your time, you have an hour, more if you like; and if there are six of you in your group, you can relax and enjoy the show. For some of us, it may be more fun than actual golf or drying paint. However, if you are going to be a golf participant, it does help to be able to hit a golf ball, which, on this day was certainly a challenge for me. I blame it on the mats. The mats were worn, mats, not artificial grass. And if you have played golf on your home computer, it just might also be a help. Think target golf.
So, is Top Golf, really golf? Maybe. Old farts like me, might disagree. However, it is certain to be a lot of fun. This is the new golf. I suppose it will bring in the young players, like Happy Gilmore, but I wonder what will happen on the course, to the real game of golf when us “old folks” are gone. Luckily, we will never know. BUT, Try Top Golf out with your friends. It is top-notch, guaranteed to be a “Bay of Laughs”. Have a Birthday party there or spend New Year’s Eve. Check out the website before you go, so you know. I had not. Therein lay my utter surprise. ENJOY!
TOP GOLF TUCSON
4050 W Costco Place