So the main focus of this blog has been on gaming for people over the age of 50. I know you are probably already wondering about the title and saying to yourself that a golf range isn’t a video game; but I beg to differ. My wife took me to TopGolf in Auburn Hills for my most recent birthday (Sunday) and I was amazed to find the entire experience wasn’t much different than playing a video game.
Once we walked into the main lobby we noticed the concierge on the left and the check in desk on the right. Yes, just like a hotel…very cool. This reminded me of the check in process in some of the older Star Wars games like X-Wing. Just past the concierge there is a dining area. It wasn’t too large, but that is because they want people to go to their respective gaming areas to play. We only had their nachos but were thoroughly impressed with them. Like nothing we ever had before. We didn’t get anything else to eat but we had a few drinks and another appetizer that TopGolf paid for when we sat down before playing. Overall the little bit of dining experience we shared there was quite impressive. (No this isn’t a blog about food).
There are two main screens that the players interact with. One is a 40” television that is informational only whereas the other one, much smaller, requires input by the player before, or after, taking your turn. There is also a map of the environment and an infrared “button” that must be activated (see the picture below) in order to begin each level. There are also 7 different “joysticks” (golf clubs) to choose from to play the game. When playing each round of the game the “video game” technology automatically tracks and calculates the score.
When you are standing in the ready position you will cross your club over an “eye” located in the upper right hand corner of the console. This action will program and release a ball. Yes, I said “program”. The ball has an RF-ID microchip inside of it, which once programmed, knows who is taking a turn. (For a split view of the TopGolf golf ball see the video below). The field of play has 10 areas to hit your ball into for points. Each section knows where you hit your ball from and what the distance is once your ball falls through the specific area of the RF-ID reader at each scoring target.
There are several different types of games, but we chose the practice mode which left it “open” for us to just hit and score. They have a 20 ball “scramble” that you go head to head with the other players on that looked interesting too. Once your ball has registered the score it is immediately displayed on the interactive screen. This screen will also tell you exactly what target you hit the ball into and it will also tell you the exact position that it registered at within that target itself. The targets have RF readers (see the picture above). The primary screen will revert to a totals view when it’s at rest. The video game portion keeps track of total balls used as well as the scores for everyone. The secondary, 40″ television, screen shows who the current player is and what their last ball score was. This screen faces toward the sitting area so everyone can keep track.
The seating area is laid out incredibly well. There is a nice sectional couch and a little gathering table in the center of it all. Two convenient exits on each side of the couch for easy access to play. As I mentioned, my wife took me there as a surprise so she wasn’t able to bring my clubs without giving it away. Not a problem at all, as mentioned, this “game” comes with everything that you need to play. I am right handed so I don’t know, but I’m sure they probably have options for lefties too. They have some really great practice clubs. My favorite was the hybrid 3 wood. I was spiking them in the white without issue and racking up the points (after I got used to my stance and swing again – the video below shows my third “practice” swing.
We will definitely be going back. Oh yeah, before I forget to mention this…my wife hates golf…with a passion…and she is the one who suggested going back. She had a really good time too. I suggest going, to anyone of any age, but for us over 50’s this is a great place. Take friends, family, and anyone who wants to have a nice time, good food, good drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic), and a fantastic gaming experience.