There's something exhilarating about hearing that "thwack" when you hit a golf ball in the sweet spot. But with today's busy-ness and tight budgets, finding the time or money to play a round is challenging. I personally hadn't hit one in over ten years until I visited Top Golf this week.
Located in the northwest suburb of Wood Dale, this is a driving range with a twist. Instead of just seeing how hard and far you can drive a ball you aim for targets. It combines elements of darts and bowling: the closer you get to the center of the target the more points you get, and if you hit the ball in a target you get more points if you hit the next one in. There are also different games to focus on the different challenges of golf. One has you aiming for the furthest target, but others require more precision. Your score is measured with computer chips in the balls, and before you tee each one up you run it through a scanner which signals the computer in your bay to pay attention.
It had been so long since I'd picked up a club all I cared about was whether or not I could even hit the ball. At first. And then, when I swung and the head of the club connected with the dimples and the ball soared onto the long expanse of green and landed in one of those targets and "4 points" popped up onto the screen, the competitive spirit awakened in me. My first game I only earned 40 points, but in the second I scored 92, and that's not including the five I missed for a ball I manually entered and no score at all for another one I forgot about.
Top Golf is more than just a place to hone your game and do a little dance when you kick your partner's butt. They have food and drinks which can be delivered to your bay during your game, and just opened this week is a rooftop terrace complete with a fire pit and tiki torches. They're celebrating the opening tonight with an acoustic concert by Mike & Joe. Pre-sale tickets are gone, but they'll have some on a first-come first-served basis for $5.
What else makes this such a fun destination? The bays are cooled with mist in the summer and heated in the winter. Yes, they're open year-round. They're also open late, until Midnight Monday through Thursday and 2am on Friday and Saturday, so instead of the normal bar routine you can mix it up with some friendly rivalry. At $5 a game you won't even break the bank.
I don't think it's going to be another ten years before I pick up a golf club. In fact, I don't think it's going to be another ten days, not with Top Golf around!
Disclosure: TLT was invited to Top Golf media preview day