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TopGolf growing the game, opening facility in OKC

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TopGolf plans to open its first location in Oklahoma City this spring. - PROVIDED
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  • TopGolf plans to open its first location in Oklahoma City this spring.

Adrienne Chance has heard almost daily from Oklahoma residents begging her company, TopGolf, to build a top-notch golf entertainment facility in Oklahoma City like the ones that operate in Dallas, Houston and other cities.

Those pleas have been heard.

TopGolf is building a new 65,000-square-foot flagship location near Quail Springs Mall in the southwest quadrant of N. Western Avenue and the John Kilpatrick Turnpike. Work began on the $15-$20 million facility, which will combine the fun of golf with the excitement of video games and the social aspect of a sports bar, a few weeks ago.

“We have never seen a market that was so excited about the concept,” said Chance, senior communications manager at TopGolf.

The new facility, expected to open this spring, will feature three levels with 102 hitting bays that can hold six players each. Players hit golf balls equipped with computer microchips that track each shot’s accuracy and distance while awarding points for hitting targets on the outfield. You can bring your own clubs, but clubs are provided in every bay.

An entertainment hub, TopGolf will also feature a full-service restaurant and three bars, indoor gaming areas with billiards and shuffleboard, a rooftop terrace with a fire pit and space for live music, HDTVs in every hitting bay that guests can operate using a smartphone app and 3,000 square feet of private event space.

“It’s a facility that can be enjoyed by all ages, all skill levels all year round,” Chance said. “Even if you don’t play golf, there are so many activities that you can participate in.”

Formed in 2000 by British twins Steve and Dave Jolliffe, the company began a robust expansion about three years ago after the brothers sold out to an ownership group that includes Dallas businessman Tom Dundon and California-based Callaway Golf Co.

The Oklahoma City project is funded through TopGolf ’s investors and EPR Properties, a $3.4 billion specialty real estate investment trust based in Kansas City, Missouri.

Oklahoma City’s facility will serve approximately 425,000 visitors in its first year of operation, estimates Randy Starr, TopGolf ’s chief development officer. Its 10-year total fiscal impact to the community (including sales tax, property tax, business tax, etc.) will exceed $31 million, and the company expects to hire approximately 400- 450 workers, creating 100 full-time positions.

TopGolf is building a new 65,000-square-foot flagship location near Quail Springs Mall. - PROVIDED
  • Provided
  • TopGolf is building a new 65,000-square-foot flagship location near Quail Springs Mall.

Growing the game

Nationally, golf is a game in decline. According to the National Golf Foundation, there were 25.3 million U.S. golfers ages six and older in 2012, down from a peak of 30 million in 2005. Across the country, more golf courses are closing than opening.

TopGolf has taken on the mantle of helping grow the game, Chance said. About 65 percent of TopGolf ’s guests are ages 18-34, millennials less likely to take up golf. The company uses a guerilla marketing strategy combining social media and local appearances before a location’s opening. The company is also rolling out a golf instruction program offering guests lessons for $20.

“We just kind of break the barriers that stop a lot of people from getting into traditional golf,” she said.

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