TopGolf - aka Target Orientated Practice Golf are a small golf company with three sites in the UK (Chigwell, Surrey, Watford) and three in the USA (Alexandria, Chicago, Dallas). The concept is revolutionary for golf practice - each of the balls dispensed is registered to the member's name through a microchip within the ball. The ball is then registered in the bay to the player, activating the chip, and played on the driving range with the aim of getting the ball into one of the different targets, awarding points based on what area the ball enters. The chip then registers in the target, and sends feedback to the bay to inform the player where the ball landed, and how many points he is awarded (or the distance in yards if they are using the TopPractice feature). There are 6 games in total, each of which can be selected by the player in the bays - TopGolf, TopBreak, TopChip, TopPressure, TopPractice and TopShot, each of which require the player to use a different skill to achieve the best score. Its perfect for families, kids of all ages and adults who want to perfect their swing. Lessons are available with PGA Golf Professionals, a new menu which has just been unveilled and a Bay Host service, whom take orders and bring food and drink out to the bays for customer ease. The Surrey site also has a 9 hole golf course, and a fitness suite which includes new, premium equipment, sunbeds and a sauna. Perfect for the summer as a cheap day out for all the family. The bays take 5 players each, and games are relatively cheap - the Surrey site price list currently stands at £4.00 for 20 balls (one game), £7.50 for 2 games and £10.00 for unlimited, which is as many balls as you can play in the day.
The Surrey site has also created a beautiful new patio area with decking and new seating for the summer months, and are investing in a paddling pool and a trampoline to keep the kids entertained - they're hosting a family fun weekend the 23rd - 25th July (this weekend!) so I would recommened it to all families for an enjoyable day in the sunshine! You can also get a free car wash this weekend while you play! Bargain!
Top golf is a new age driving range for golfers that are in Watford, Hertfordshire. The idea around the new age driving range was to make golf more appealing to families and most importantly children.
Top golf is a 2 level driving range with 40 + bays. You can rent equipment to play with or bring your own. Top golf came up with a kind of snooker type game that the family or individual can play. In each golf ball there is a micro chip that feed back data to the player on a screen above the bay. Out in the driving range its self are 10 holes in the ground which you need to aim for. In each hole are bags. When the bag falls in to the hole the micro chip is read and the computer give you the distance you have hit and in which bag it landed in. each hole has a point score and the closer you get to the middle the more point you get. (I hope I explained that good enough) after hitting all your 25 balls you add up the total point and the one with the most wins. All in all this gives a experience that everyone loves..
This is one of the greatest ideas golf has come up with and I love it. I love golf and I play off of an 8 handicap. But it does not matter what you play off or even if you have ever played. It great fun for all and is perfect for birthday parties.
The cost is the only problem. 100 balls down a normal range is about £4 here you only get 25 balls for £4. I understand that the up keep is more and the balls and technology cost more but I see it as a down side.
To Golf, Watford
The world's first interactive driving range
What is Top Golf?
Top golf is a really fun point scoring golf game played at an interactive driving range.
Who is Top Golf for?
The game is suitable for golfers and non golfers, children and adults.
Do I have to be a member to play?
In a word yes, but this doesn't matter. You can just go along to any top golf to join and take out an annual membership. You do not need ID to do this, you just need to give a few basic details such as name and address to register. You will be issued with a membership card which will ne printed for you as you join.
Do I need to pay for membership?
Yes you do, this costs about a fiver for basic membership. With this you get a free game of top golf. This applies every year you renew your membership. You can also opt for either Leisure membership or executive membership. These are more expensive £15.00 and £30.00 for an adult. You do get more free games included in the price, can book bays much further in advance and get money off local golf courses etc.
How much do games cost after I have played my free one?
It is not as simple as how much is one or two games. It is based on credits. You buy credits to play and at different times of the day it is a different amount of credits to play. However, to make it a bit easier to understand if you play top golf at the weekend or during the evening then you are going to pay just under £5.00 per person per game. There are ways to get cheaper games. Frequently top golf will run special offers where you can buy a large amount of credits for say £50.00 or £100.00, this may seeem like a lot of money but means that each game you play is costing you a lot less. The great thing about these offers is that you can split the credits between cards so that four people can club together and pay £25.00 each for a £100.00 offer and really benefit from cheaper games and credits that will last for ages.
Are the clubs and balls provided?
Yes all of the balls are provided, they need to do this as each ball has a special microchip insisde them. You can use your own golf clubs or borrow some from top golf. They have a range of different clubs to borrow and cater for children as young as five years old. You do not need to pay for hire of clubs or balls.
I've joined top golf, what do I do if I want to play?
If you think it might be busy you need to book a bay. For a person with standard membership you can only phone the same day to book. As long as you phone a few hours before you want to get a bay you will always be able to get a bay based on my personal experience. You can just turn up and hope. Most of the time you will be able to get a bay, but you may have to wait a while.
What are the bays like?
The bays are on two levels ground floor and first floor. The ground floor bays give a more realistic experience of playing golf and the first floor ones well are just a bit of fun really. On the first floor bays there is ample netting to ensure that you do not fall over the edge, but if I had small children with me I would still opt to play at the bottom.
There are also a few outdoor bays which I like to use in the summer (you can see these bays in the pictures I have included in my review).
The bays themselves have seats, tables, your playing screen, the mats to play off and your rubber golf teas (you can obviously play left or right handed).
The bays excluding the outdoor ones are all under cover so you can still play if it is raining, it can get a bit cold though, so heaters are provided.
You can also play in the dark as everywhere is well lit and their is flood lighting across the course.
I've booked my bay and have arrived what next?
If you have credits on your card you can go straight to the bay. If you have not go to the reception area where you can pay for your games and collect golf clubs if you need them.
I've got enough credits on my card and have my clubs, what next?
The first thing you need to do is collect you balls. Remember these balls have clever microchips and are registered to your card and your name. All you have to do is grab a basket and take it to the ball dispensing machine. Hang your basket onto a little hook at the bottom and insert your card into the ball dispensing machine. A coloured screen will show you how many credits you have remaining on your card. Select the number of games you have booked and the machine will dispense the correct number of balls into your basket. If you have played before the screen will then show your highest score, your handicap and a line graph showing your progress or digress since you have joined.
Got my balls, what next?
Go to the bay number you have booked, the staff member will have told you this over the phone or when you payed for your game? There will be a screen in each bay and you will notice that it will show that the bay has been reserved for you, or whoever it was that made the booking.
Now the fun bit, playing the game!
Ther person who booked the bay needs to play first they do this by registering their ball across a small sensor near the golf tea. A red led will flash to indicate that the ball has been read and the players name will come up on the screen.
The player then needs to take their shot. You can choose to play of of the mat which is made from an astro turf and has the option of a thick piece or a smooth piece. You can also play off the tee which is of a rubbery construction and can be lowered or highered depending on your preference.
Okay so then you need to hit the ball. Take your swing and aim for one of the many targets. There a range of different holes you can aim for. Some of which are very close by and others which are hundreds of yards away. Targets further away give you more points and the closer you get to the centre of any target will also gives you more points. Hopefully you will have managed to get your ball in a target and if so you can look at the screen to see how far you have hit the ball andPictures of To Golf Game Centre, Watford
In one of the outside bayshow many points you got for that shot.
It is then the next person's turn, they register their ball in exactly the same way and take their shot. Each further person playing takes their turn untill all of their balls are used up.
There are 30 balls in a game. At the end of the game your scores will flash up on the screen and will show how you have scored compared to all of those who have played top golf that day. It will show these in catagories such as children, women and overall.
Ball number 11 at top golf is a bonus ball. If you get a whole in one using this ball you can win £500.00, if it is near the centre you can win a free game and if it is in a shaded area you can get extra points. The shaded areas are indicated on a board next to each bay.
Through out the game you can also get double points. To get these you must first hit the ball into a shaded area and then on your next turn you will get double points. The screen tells you all of this as you play.
At the end of the game the player with the most points wins!
Can I take lessons?
Yes you can, you can book lessons to take place at top golf. These vary in price so check with your loacl top golf the cost of these. You can buy lessons for someone else as a gift. The lessons are carried out on the bays and can be video recorded so you can watch back your swing etc and listen to the advice from the pro.
What other facilities are there at top golf?
There's quite a lot here really. There is an aracade, pool tables, a cafe, a bar and a golf shop. All set out in an open plan layout. There is also an indoor putting green and an outdoor adventure crazy golf. You do not need to be a member to play crazy golf.
Can top golf organise events?
Yes they do, they can organise birthday parties and corporate events. They are number of different options for this and they will put on food and birthday cakes etc etc. You can talk to a representative in person or over the phone about your requirements.
What do I think fo top golf?
I love top golf. I go there often- even in the winter. I tend to load up my card with credits so that it is cheaper to play. I describe the experience of playing top golf similar to going bowling in the way that is interactive and you score points and they come up on a screen. I had never played golf before I went to top golf for the first time and I really enjoyed myself. I have got a bit better now and am always trying to beat my top score.
The game really is suitable for all people and you often see families taking their children there, couples, mates, a whole range of people enjoying the experience together.
You do not need to be great at golf, but will certainly get better the more you go. People are not so great can still play against those who are better as they can aim for the closer targets to score points and in doing so can get closer to the centre and get more points than those just pelting the ball and missing the targets all together.
This really is a fun activity and as you get better there are a number of different types of games you can play. The more experience golfer may like to play a game where on each shot they have to aim for a different target and score points accordingly. This isn't for me however, I just try to hit my ball straight and in the air!
It's good exercise and good clean fun, suitbale for all the family.
I like the sound of it, can I play anywhere else?
You can play in Addlestone, Chigwell and of course Watford.
Top golf is a revolution in golfing! Ideal for novices to learn the technique, families for fun and experts to practice their aim.
Top golf involves using electronically chipped balls and aiming them into targets on the driving range. Each target has several compartments in it and these are worth different points,, eg the outer ring is worth 4 points, through to 10 in the centre ring.
Each game costs around £4 and this is for 20 balls. You can play on your own, with a partner or in a group of 4. This means you can have a competition to see who gets the most points.
Topgolf give you a selection of clus so you don't need to have your own. there is always a topgolf person roaming around the bays to give any help and advice. They also offer golf lessons for the novice which could be useful.
A great place to have a fun game with mates.
I am a very keen golf player and have been since I got my first set of clubs for my eighth birthday. Im not that great a player and I dont have the opportunity to play very much so I play golf for fun rather than at a serious level. However, when I visit my family North London, we jump in the car and head up to topgolf in Watford. I have been there on two separate occasions so far and I think that gives me enough support to lodge a review about it.
The idea of topgolf is very new and revolutionary in the United Kingdom. The best way to describe it in a sentence or two would be to say that it is what you get when a tenpin bowling alley meets a golf driving range. There are a number of pens or bays, similar to both a driving range and bowling alley, where you and a group of friends/family compete against each other to score the most points. As I have said, it is fairly new to the UK and there are only two centres in operation.
The game can have a maximum of four participants and they all compete to score the most points. Each player has 20 balls per game, in which to amass their total score. The first player takes one of their balls, swipes it to register the ball and then places it on the tee. The aim of the game is to strike your golf ball into one of the target areas.
The area reaches as far back as 300 yards from your tee location and in that area, there are a total of eleven target areas. There are some that are close to the tee and others that are a lot further away. The targets are all graded in how many points that you get for hitting your ball into them. The nearer targets are worth fewer points that those further away. The targets themselves are graded into different sections. The closer to the centre of the target that you hit the ball, the higher the score will be. There are some occasions where you will be awarded double points for your next shot if you hit the ball near to centre of a target. This information will appear on the computer screen.
The game demands the use of very high-tech equipment in order for it to work. Before each player hits their ball, they must scan it so that the computer is programmed with the information of whose ball it is. The chip inside the ball then becomes charged. The ball is then struck by the player and if it lands in one of the target areas, the ball will trigger the main computer and send back information as to how many points the shot scored and how far the ball was hit. This information appears on the screen at the back of the bay. The screen also shows the ball-by-ball scores of the participants and their total scores.
The individual bays themselves, are very well equipped and kitted out. There is a green synthetic mat on the floor, with grading lengths of immitaion grass. There is thicker stuff for practising chip shots out of the rough and lighty areas for practising striking from the fairway. There are two tees on each mat, one to the left and one to the right to cater for both left and right handed players. These can be adjusted to the correct height by twisting them clockwise or anti-clockwise. The device for scanning the balls is on the floor next to the tee and it is attached to a basket type contraption where you can pour your balls if you wish. There is a score monitor behind against the back wall which is constantly updated. If you are playing in the cold weather, then you can switch on your very own heater which is very comforting. There are chairs for you to sit on whilst you are waiting your turn and there is a stand for you golf clubs and bags.
In order to play topgolf, you must sign up as a member before hand. They ask you to fill out a quick leaflet giving your details and they then create a shiny new membership card for you. The membership costs £6.50 and it includes your first game of topgolf for free. It costs between £2.40 and £4.80 per game. The cheaper prices apply during the daytime on a weekday and the higher prices at peak times. If you buy a bundle of games at once, they can be very cheap around £1 each regardless of what time you play.
There are two different types of membership at topgolf. The standard membership, gives you a number of benefits. It allows you to play topgolf as long as you buy games. The card is charged up at the desk when you pay for the game and you then insert it into the machine to get you balls. Whilst your balls are been fed out of the machine, information on your past performances appears on-screen. The highest and lowest scores are displayed, as well the average of all of your games. There is also a line graph that shows you progress and development. If you are playing your first and second games, there wont be any information for you to see as there are no averages to be drawn.
The Executive Golfers membership costs £30 for adults and £24 for juniors. A family membership for two adults and two children costs £60. The membership gives you eight free games and a range of other benefits. The indoor putting green is at your disposal and you can book your bays in advance via the telephone. Other benefits include: invitations to special events and a golf lesson for £5.
There are other services available for you to use at the centre. There is a restaurant and bar area that serves food and alcohol throughout the day. The prices are pretty reasonable as far as such public places are concerned. There is also and American Golf Discount Centre, for the more serious golfer. This is a nationwide chain of shops that stock the very best and latest range of golf clubs, balls, bags, clothing and other golfing accessories. The shop is very well laid out and the staff seemed extremely helpful. This is especially for those who are relative novices at the game of golf. These are two good support services to the main golfing attraction and they do in a sense make the centre more complete.
There are plenty of parking spaces outside the centre, more than enough to cope with the high volume of traffic at peak time. There is plenty of room for manoeuvring in and around the car park and the access is very good. There is also disabled parking near the entrance, for those holding orange badges.
There tends to be a good blend of young and older staff as well experienced and more novice workers. They come across as very friendly and welcoming which makes you feel good about the place. My sister had a query about the pricing structure and the girl behind the desk was only too keen to provide a leaflet and quickly go through the details. They do have quite a difficult job at peak times; trying to juggle people between the busy bays and make sure that everyone gets a game.
I would certainly recommend that you visit topgolf in either Watford or Chigwell in Essex. I appreciate that for many people in the country, it will be extremely difficult to get to one of these centres as they are both in the south-east of the country. However, do keep your eyes and ears open as I believe that there are some more new centres in the pipeline. They are appealing for people who have ideas for new sites and locations to get in touch with them via their website.
The actual game is great fun and an ideal activity for a family or a group of friends to take part in. There are a lot of laughs and you can take the mickey out of how bad people are at playing golf. It can be largely a game of luck, if the balls run well for you then you can get quite a good score. There may be times when you get a really a low score but you are playing really well. The highest score that I have achieved is 74, which is pretty good considering the few times that I have been. At the conclusion of your game, a table appears on-screen that shows your position out of the people that have played the game on that day. There is also a ladies table, for the highest scoring females on the day.
Visit: www.topgolf.co.uk for more details on the centre and the game itself. There are maps and directions to the centres, as well as other helpful information.
The two centres are open from 8am to 11pm every day of the week.