Photo by Brian Kaiser.

Club Action

If you haven’t taken a moment to watch the world’s first preview of Planet Oasis (or whatever it’s come to be named by the time this prints), the future entertainment utopia promised adjacent the shiny, new Tanger Outlets in Delaware County, you owe it to yourself to click. It’s information overload. An ultra-bright Black Mirror-esque commercial of a fantasy that promises to have it all—indoor skydiving, multi-million dollar e-sports arena, motocross, laser tag … a saltwater lake. Should this happen, central Ohio would have to be the center of the universe.

Of course, we are not, but that doesn’t mean our region has a dearth of options for your discretionary entertainment budget.

The new Topgolf in Westerville promises a lot: high-tech, climate-controlled, driving range bays, chef-inspired menus, thousands of widescreens blasting original content shows and golf tutorials, live DJs and music from a rooftop patio.

In a sleek, modern, monolith that appears as if a spaceship landed right next to our new Ikea—it delivers.

Now with 41 locations, the primary reason for Topgolf’s success is the focus on its brand. Though it feels more casino than country club, with plenty of neon and cobalt, the action of driving golf balls into the night sky, and into a very real game of lights and targets, is something anyone, regardless of your time on a course, can find both cathartic and joyous.

“Half of our guests are non-golfers who have never swung a club,” says Topgolf communications director, Morgan Schaaf. “This is everyone’s game and we pride ourselves on being a place for everyone.”

Surrounded by couches and tables and energetic, sometimes singing and dancing, servers, the driving bays are the true draw of Topgolf. Should you bring in a party of six, there is a menagerie of golf-themed games that make sure to differentiate for all ages and skill levels. With a complete array of clubs—from the heaviest of drivers to the smallest of wedges—players have their choice of nine competitions, from their signature game, Topgolf, which uses microchip technology to track and score various points on the course according to which targets are hit, to something more traditional like TopScramble, in which teams form and take the highest individual score after each round. There are also games that reward for distance, TopDrive, which rewards the farthest shot, and TopChip, which rewards points for accuracy. There’s even Quick9, a game that gives each player three shots at each target, with the highest score the winner.

Much like bowling, or curling, pinball, and axe throwing, Topgolf is a specialized form of sport that takes a second to learn and a lifetime to master—so the replay value is inherent.

Though I don’t see myself frequenting the mothership more than a few times a year, it was easy to see the draw for golf enthusiasts. Unless the temperatures reach negative degrees (which we all know they will at some point), it could easily serve as a year-round training facility, opening at 9 a.m. for early birds and closing at midnight for a round with dinner and drinks. Safe to say the venue’s bread-and-butter will be corporate events, private parties, and night-long bay rentals.

Regardless, Topgolf’s facility is so massive, it should never be an issue to find a comfortable space to stretch out and practice your swing. That is until Planet Oasis is finally a reality.

For more information and reservation options visit topgolf.com/us/columbus.

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