Not Your Grandfather's Driving Range

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At TopGolf, you don't pay for balls or games—those are unlimited. You pay for time. It's $20 an hour before 6 p.m. on weekdays and before noon on weekends, $40 at other times. The most commonly played game is the company's signature, TopGolf. You get points for each shot that hits a target. The more distant the target and the closer your ball is to the center of the target, the more points you earn.

Others include a team-scramble format, a chipping competition, a drivers-only game, and one called TopPressure that subtracts points if you hit into the same section more than once. —LKD

Brymer is a rarer breed of TopGolf golfer, one who frequents TopGolf and actual golf courses on a weekly basis. But what's interesting is that he's happy, like every other platinum member I spoke to, that the two are separate. If he wants a larger group of friends and more of a party vibe, he's heading to TopGolf. For something a little more leisurely, he's off to the golf course.

"I mean, I love golf all the time," Brymer says. "But sometimes, I'm not always in the mood for the same thing."


When National Margarita Day rolls around, TopGolf is busy beyond belief. The more than two-hour wait that persisted on Friday has stretched to nearly four on Saturday, but people don't seem to mind. Oh, it's a four-hour wait today? I'll grab a few extra beers. Maybe find myself a date (a common theme among TopGolfers).

As the day turns to night and people keep flowing in, I faintly hear what sounds like Chopin's ominous "Funeral March" playing in the background. Intrigued by what seems so out of place in an otherwise joyous setting, I head toward the music. I pass Kelly Anne Johnson along the way. She's not working today but decided to spend her Saturday with friends here.

In Bay 326, I face the music. There's a mariachi band surrounding Glenda Garcia, a 27-year-old who's roaring with laughter as the band plays on. Draped on her shoulder I see it: a pink sash emblazoned with the word "Bachelorette." It's her party tonight.

"Oh, no!" she says, laughing and feigning despair that these are, indeed, her final moments of freedom. The table outside the bay is filled with empty margarita glasses from Glenda and her friends.

Well, if this is where it all ends, I guess it's the perfect place.

GROWTH COMPANY: Food and beverage sales, not games, account for most of TopGolf's revenue now. By 2017, it plans to have 50 U.S. locations, with yearly attendance of more than 18 million.

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