The first thing you’ll notice as you drive up to Topgolf Tampa is its sheer size. After you ascend the imposing front staircase and make your way through the entrance, the scale is even more impressive, with a soaring lobby giving way to a wall of windows, showcasing a second-story view of the golf range beyond.
A unique take on the traditional driving range, this sprawling entertainment complex in Tampa consists of three floors and 109 covered outdoor golf bays that accommodate up to six golfers each. But that’s not all!
Inside on the main floor is a huge bar and restaurant area; on the lower level is a lounge and game room with free pool and Xbox Kinect; and on the third floor is an outdoor bar and patio area.
Topgolf Tampa features 109 comfortable golf bays on three levels — Photo courtesy of Topgolf Tampa
The star of the show is the driving range. The top in Topgolf stands for "target oriented practice," so in place of the standard distance markers are a series of round targets in varying sizes that have radiating cut-outs to allow balls to drop in.
Each ball is microchipped, and as they fall into one of the targets, the golfer is assigned a score.
Sound a little high tech for a driving range? It is very high tech.
Each golf bay features a sophisticated computerized gaming system that logs in players using their membership cards and keeps score. There are several different games to choose from to accommodate players of different abilities, and the emphasis on accuracy is a bonus for those who are not long drivers.
The format offers several advantages over a visit to the golf course. First of all, there's no intimidation factor here, no dress code, no fancy shoes and no groups waiting behind. You're seated comfortably between swings, and servers come to you with food and drinks.
Skill level is no obstacle, either. In fact, most guests do not consider themselves golf players.
Clubs are provided for both adults and kids if you don’t have your own, and there are golf pros standing by to give quick 20-minute golf lessons using state-of-the-art video swing analysis.
The Topgolf menu features plenty of delicious and sharable items — Photo courtesy of Skye Rodgers
While you’re golfing, you can take advantage of the extensive menu that offers lots of options for sharing, including nachos, wings, flatbreads and sliders, just to name a few.
While not fine dining, the emphasis is on well-prepared, simple-to-execute dishes that make use of quality ingredients.
Perhaps the most innovative menu item is the delicious injectable donut holes. Freshly made and crispy, these gems are served with large injectors filled with chocolate, raspberry and Bavarian crème, so you can add just the right amount of filling yourself.
The beverage menu was not overlooked, and it features a good assortment of signature cocktails, wine and sangria, plus a rotating selection of craft beers.
Kids are welcome at the family-friendly Topgpolf, and the complex holds summer camps, too.
After dark, it becomes a little more adult-oriented, when the weekly bands and DJs crank up the tunes, and the range target lights start flashing, synched to the music.
Golf bays have an hourly rate that varies from $20 to $40, depending on the time and day. This price is very cost-effective when split among six, cheaper than most greens fees in the area and comparable to buying buckets of balls on a driving range.
Since opening in December, Topgolf has quickly become a popular attraction for locals and visitors alike. Reservations are only taken for large parties, and waits are common – especially on Friday and Saturday nights and on Sunday during the day.
Luckily, there's a lot to do while you wait!