New Scottsdale TopGolf a foretaste of venue coming to Gilbert - East Valley Tribune: Local Treasures

New Scottsdale TopGolf a foretaste of venue coming to Gilbert

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Posted: Monday, June 16, 2014 5:00 am

It's not your average driving range.

Cries of “fore!” will soon fill the air near Talking Stick Resort as a new golfing entertainment venue officially opened its doors on June 10.

TopGolf at Riverwalk in Scottsdale is not your average driving range. The three-story complex houses more than 100 golfing bays, a 215-yard outfield with five mutli-colored targets, free wi-fi, a rooftop terrace with light-up tables and live music, high-end food and beverages, and a top-of-line entertainment setup.

Another TopGolf facility is scheduled to open in Gilbert early next year. If Riverwalk’s version is anything to judge by, then Gilbert has a lot to look forward to.

“We’re introducing a lot of new players, especially juniors to the game of golf,” says TopGolf spokeswoman Susan Walmesley. “We have a lot of corporate events come here [because] this is a more fun way for people to interact.”

TopGolf offers a lot to differentiate itself from typical golf outings. Instead of simply going around with the same four people all day, open bays allow interaction between all players, and you can even wear flip-flops — or no shoes at all.

Nine different games appeal to both casual and professional golfers. The basic game uses multi-colored rings to score points, much as a player would in darts — the better the shot, the more points you get. Other games are centered around accuracy and skill, requiring golfers to shoot targets in specific quadrants.

“Each ball has a small microchip inside (that is) unique to a player’s ID card that is swiped before playing,” says TopGolf spokesman Jason Evans. “[The chip] allows for players to keep extremely accurate scoring, even if hundreds of golfers are playing at the same time.”

Players can also enjoy XBOX Kinect and Nintendo Wii gaming systems, pool and shuffleboard tables, and more than 200 HDTVs. TopGolf also hosts events, including golf tournaments and clinics, and nights with live music, local DJs and discounted drinks.

While some might expect greasy bowling alley-style hot dogs and nachos, TopGolf invested $5 million dollars in its kitchen alone.

“All our food is made 95 percent from scratch right in the kitchen, and the menu is changed twice a year,” says Mark Boyton, director of food and beverage.

The menu features items like a Mac Daddy Burger (a three-meat burger topped with green chile mac ‘n’ cheese and pepper Jack cheese), Mushi (Mexican-style sushi), fried chicken marinated in a pickle and jalapeño brine, and injectable donut holes complete with syringes for the table filled with chocolate, raspberry jam and Bavarian cream.

• Zachary, a senior at Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, is an intern for GetOut. Contact him at (480) 898-6514 or

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