Golf

Who loves Topgolf? Pretty much everybody, apparently

Topgolf offers swinging good time for all abilities

If you're ever torn between going out on a Friday night and hitting a bucket of balls at a local driving range or going out with your family or friends for food and drinks, Topgolf in Roseville offers both. The new golf entertainment center off Hi
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If you're ever torn between going out on a Friday night and hitting a bucket of balls at a local driving range or going out with your family or friends for food and drinks, Topgolf in Roseville offers both. The new golf entertainment center off Hi

What have we learned in the three months that Topgolf Roseville has been open?

Pretty much everyone who tries it loves it – young and old, golfers and nongolfers. You might have to wait to play. And, in the opinion of die-hard golfer Jeff Pickard, “Real golf is in trouble.”

Pickard has been to Topgolf three times. Once was at the surprising birthday request of his 15-year-old daughter, Paige, who is not a golfer. She and her two girlfriends had a ball, Dad said, despite a 90-minute wait on a Saturday afternoon.

“I drive past Woodcreek and seldom see a player on the golf course,” said Pickard, a Roseville resident. “This place has people waiting two, three hours to hit a golf ball.”

Topgolf is billed as an entertainment center, not as some sort of golf alternative. Its literature reads: “It’s not golf – it’s Topgolf.” It tracks shots for accuracy using golf balls with a microchip and computers to keep score.

Roseville was Topgolf’s 26th U.S. location when it opened Sept. 2. No. 27 has since opened in Jacksonville, Fla. Marketing manager Bobbi Pack declined to give specifics on how Roseville is doing compared to other locations, but what she offered will not surprise those who have been there.

“We have totally blown projections out of the water,” Pack said.

I drive past Woodcreek and seldom see a player on the golf course. This place has people waiting two, three hours to hit a golf ball.

Jeff Pickard, Roseville resident, on Topgolf Roseville

Pack estimated that as many as 4,500 customers visit on a given Friday through Sunday. She doesn’t know how long the average group occupies one of the 102 climate-controlled hitting bays spread over three stories, but she did say, “It’s not unheard of for people to have brunch on a weekend, then spend three or four hours golfing. They come in with the idea that they’re going to be here for an hour or two, then expand their time because they’re having such a great time.”

On the rainy Saturday after Thanksgiving, Sacramento’s Suzanne Demas and her grown son, Brett Harris, gave Topgolf a try when the elements rendered real golf unplayable. Demas said she’s glad they did.

“In hindsight, I would have taken my own clubs,” Demas said. “But if you want to hone in on your targets, it’s a great way to do it.

“It was a great experience and I would do it again on a rainy day.”

Demas said she called at 9:30 a.m. and was told bays were available. By the time they arrived, the wait was an hour. Mother and son bided their time watching college football and having a bloody mary.

“There are going to be waits (during peak times),” Pack said. “You can go to a bar. You can eat anywhere. The pool tables and foosball tables are free. We don’t hand out a beeper and say sit outside and wait for a table.”

Topgolf offers members several ways to reduce wait times.

The real golfer in Pickard likes the immediate feedback Topgolf provides.

“It’s addictive seeing how close to the target you got,” he said.

Experienced golfers will appreciate ground-level hitting bays, Pickard said. Beginners might like more elevation.

In hindsight, I would have taken my own clubs. But if you want to hone in on your targets, it’s a great way to do it. It was a great experience and I would do it again on a rainy day.

Suzanne Demas, Sacramento resident, on Topgolf Roseville

“The third floor is great for a nongolfer,” he said. “The ball always gets airborne ... because where else is it going to go?”

Et cetera

▪ Sacramento’s Kim Welch and Folsom’s Briana Mao missed the 72-hole cut at the 90-hole final stage of the LPGA Tour qualifying tournament.

▪ Davis’ Tyler Raber and Chico’s Kurt Kitayama begin play in the final stage of the Web.com Tour qualifying tournament Thursday in Orlando, Fla.

▪ Loomis’ Austin Smotherman earned his first win as a pro at the Kingwood Forest Classic on the Adams Tour in Texas. He won $5,200.

▪ What will Tiger Woods accomplish in 2017? The people who make a living projecting such things (OnlineGambling.lv, in this case) posted these odds: Win (4-1), win a major (10-1), retire (100-1), win again ever (even money), return to No. 1 ever (80-1).

Steve Pajak: 916-326-5526, @Steve_Pajak

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